Thursday, January 3, 2013

Life in the Chicken Coop

I realized last night that I'd never posted pictures of the coop. Now, as mentioned in November, we did this in an unusual way - we built a temporary coop in the garage, all of it out of salvage materials. Even the windows.

The building of it was not hard - my husband did most of the work.  Here's some progress pictures:

This is the start - inside is the girl's old cage; what you can't see is their nesting boxes on the back side of the cage.

There he is, hard at work putting on the back side of the roof.  This window came all the way with us from Iowa for some reason - now it serves to let extra light into the coop.

The back, upright side.  Soon to be added - a window, for what we call Chicken TV.

A different view of the window, and of dear husband hard at work.

Mostly finished coop getting a roof inspection from a future occupant.

A view of the rafters.

The girls first night in, checking out the water bowl.  Look at the happy full crops from foraging in the yard!


What you can't see is that the whole front wall - that is the wall facing the garage door - comes out to facilitate cleaning, egg gathering, feeding and general spying on the chickens.  Well, since these pictures, the girls have gotten bigger, and a modification was made.  Well, two.  We added a poop board to the top of the nesting boxes - one we can take in and out daily, because those rafters are a popular place to be.  We also installed a second rafter board that runs from the middle upright at a diagonal to the corner of the window, so that there was/is more rafter sitting room. People were fighting over window time!

The diagonal rafter - as you can see, it's popular.

Shhh - she knows feather are missing - someone was being a bully, and then came molting.  Don't make a fuss, she's rather self conscious about it.

To give a better idea of how much space this really takes up, I took some more pictures just today.

Standing right at the closed garage door - not much room, eh?

Taken from the door to the house.

This is why we call it Chicken TV - but truly, who is watching who?  Some days, they like to stand on the rafters and make a great deal of noise. When you come out to see what's what, they all stare at you in silence.  It makes me think they are watching us much more than we watch them.

Nice idea on husband's part - the window in not fixed in place, so if you have a chicken who is at the window and wants attention, you can just slide it to the left and open it.  It's also very handy for giving of treats and veggies without opening the main door.

Today the window is open a crack, because earlier they were lethargic from the cold. I put a space heater in the garage to warm it up a bit; it was enough that while the garage never did get warm, it wasn't arctic anymore, and the girls perked right up.  However, when I went to let them out and opened the main door, they refused to come down out of the rafters at first. But they went out for their daily scratch and peck while I cleaned the coop and added more bedding than usual.  They were happy to come back home.

In a few, I will check them, adjust the heater - wouldn't do for them to get as warm as in the house - and turn off their light for the night.

In spite of the cold, today's output - three eggs.

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