Starting and Expanding My Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Naamahbengals, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. Naamahbengals

    Naamahbengals Chirping

    May 17, 2013
    And I wanted to show it off and see what more experienced chicken owners think! I first started owning chickens (a single one, actually) 3 years ago, then 5 more including a rooster - and on from there! I don't personally know anyone else who breeds poultry near me (just 'know of'), so everything I've done so far is strait from the internet. My first coop was that tiny one on the right side, just a night-coop (let her out during the day). Well, she walked over to a dog fence and got her head bitten off, silly hen, so I decided I couldn't have free-range chickens.

    I then built the larger green coop while raising up a handful of hatchery chicks. I designed it myself, and put in a tube to pour the feed in, and one on the other side for the water, as well as a latched full length door on the back to gather eggs. I thought it was best to put the nests up by the roosting area so the sitting hens would feel save, well, that was dumb... They lay and sit, sure, but the other chickens also poop in the boxes while they roost! And apparently I didn't attach the wire floor well; they kept breaking it by jumping down from the roost (didn't feel like using the ladder I made half the time), which meant it was a cycle of escapees and repair (patch wire, or lacing it back) and exasperation at the good part of the yard and porches covered in chicken poop. Eventually they were mostly just free-range (the offending dog had moved) and used the coop at night or for laying, though every couple of months I'd be fed up with the poop enough that I'd fix it again, which usually lasted about a week.

    During this time (the times I felt I had repaired it considerably, hah!) I purchased a couple adult hens, and months later my silkie hen and roo pair. They all gave me great eggs (tiny white, big tan, olive, mint green!), and I decided, one day, I should stop *thinking* about doing the crosses I wanted and actually do them. So I did a test hatch - first time incubation, hand flipping... horrible hatch rate, 8 in about 30, but I don't think my Silkie ever successfully covered my opringtons anyway - and besides that I was only after the silkie x ameraucana (EE, I found out later) chicks. I let them hatch and then raised them in a big 40gal aquarium tank with heat lights and mesh top. Seemed to work well, none died there, my first babies! Eventually they were too big for indoors but too small to jump into the flock (who pecked at them, and I worried) - so I used an old 10 x 10 dog kennel to raise them up for a few months. I let them out to mix with the free-ranging hens several times, but they'd always roost in the old dog crate in the kennel, so I let them stay separate.

    Well, in the span of a few months, coyotes picked off first my gray mutt hen, then my blr wya/amer hen... and, the last straw (which happened about a week ago)... my white Silkie roo wandered and got hit by a passing car. No more of this! So I dismantled the kennel and attached it to the coop, gave in and just boarded up the bottom sides of the coop (the floor mesh is hopeless, and the bantams like hanging out under the coop anyway), and topped the whole thing with tarps so no one could pull a Houdini. I scoured Craigslist for unwanted Silkie roosters for a week, and found someone selling an Ameraucana x Silkie cockerel (both parents pure, she said) (this is the mix I was going for anyway, I thought I might skip ahead a generation)... but when I got him home I found he had pale skin, not black, and I wanted a Silkie roo for the dark skin he'd give the chicks... so that was a bust, more on that in other posts! In the meantime, I had collected my hens eggs and am incubating them - crossing my fingers they were still fertile from my white silkie, but I admit I had let the eggs stack up for a couple weeks when he died because I'd been so busy, so no idea if any of them are even alive. Finally, the same day I finished the coop, I met a nice lady who sold me a pure silkie roo, hen, and two pullets for $40 (just a hobby breeder, so nice!). So finally, all of my hens and pullets and new roo are in my finished 'remodeled' coop, minus my cross cockerel and original white silkie hen, who live in the small coop (I'm still deciding about that boy, and in the meantime, I want to collect all that hens eggs for the incubator, just in case I can make another white silkie).

    Well, that was more than I had intended to type, lol! But here it is - an angled shot (to get it all in the frame), and a panorama shot from the front. I'll note that since then, I've put hay in the boxes up top, plus in the crates on the right (as I found a cracked silkie egg in the dog crate). Eventually the bottom boards will be painted and sealed like the rest of the green coop. I found that I save a ton more on feed when they have to stick their necks through the kennel to get it - they can't toss it about or poop on it, and same with the water! I am now making longer water and food troughs, to be completed within the next few days.



  2. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    Well it sounds like it has been quit a adventure for you! Your new improved coop and set up look great. I don't know if you have raccoons, skunk or opossum near by but, if your hens can reach their heads out of their pen - a predator could grab them.
  3. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Lovely looking coop though!

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