Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Chicken Coop- The Finished Product

The chicken coop was our big thing to do this year.  Using recycled materials for the most part, we built a fairly decent, sturdy coop that has served us well so far this winter; only during a very bad cold snap in the beginning of December did we move the chickens back into the garage coop in order to keep a heater on so they could stay warm enough.  Other people told of of chicken losses during that cold spell; we did not want that.

Even then, keeping them warm was a serious challenge that one very very cold evening when the power went out for most of the night. Upstairs, the wood stove was kept running full blast, in the basement and garage a camping heater was lit, and when that was not enough, the camping cook stove was used on and off for heat! An exhausting night, but everything and everyone was kept warm, no chickens harmed, no pipes frozen, An overall win.

I know I have posted some of these pictures to the blog before, but we really need a start to finish retrospective. So here it is - the chicken coop. The coop itself was completely finished in late August, early September.

Preliminary layout of the floor, thinking it all out. The actual floor was totally different!

The foundation -built and level.  The blocks are cemented together, the boards cemented to the blocks.

Started, but the rain stopped us.

Finished floor!

One of the first things we did was paint the wall boards, This may seem backwards, but because the coop was put in the corner of an already existing fence enclosure, the boards would need to be put on the frame first before the wall was put in place.  I got two cans of paint from the "mistake" bin - this lovely purple, and a nice dark grey. Why pay $60 for paint when you can pay $14?

Painting assistants.

Since painting was happening, why not the door as well? Funny story about the door - I'd picked it up several years back from a house where I used to babysit the summer after my first year of college - this had been the front door of their house! Now, it was to be our coop door.

It rained while I was painting the door, causing the paint to peel off!  The finished door looks much nicer.

First wall frame!

Backing that frame.

First wall up - with the proud builder.

Checking the framing out for all the other walls - better to get it right the first time.

Second wall up, and it's getting dark! Tomorrow is a new day. You can already see the slope we put in place for snow and to accommodate the skylight.

Day two, wall three and the roof joists.

And now, the front wall and the skylight frame.  Rain was our nemesis; it kept us from this for days! And this was NOT the easiest wall to do.

But now, all four walls are up!

the skylight is so large, the actual roof space was rather small.


Roof tar papered, wooden frame tarred, ready to slide the skylight into place and screw it down.

Roof all tarred and sanded.

Now the rest of the work on this project fell to my husband, with a bit of help from daughter. I was working, and wen I came home, I was surprised with finished nesting boxes, roosts, poop board and chicken door hole.  Together, we got the doors up and ready.

Doors on!

And finally, after all our hard work, the girls get to move in and check out their fancy new digs.

First night in the new coop - yes, we did sneak out and wake them up by taking pictures!

Since then, they have figured out suitable arrangements for themselves - the younger set all sleep on the top roost unless its a warm night, then they spread out on the roosts.  Poppy, our poor omega chicken, sleeps in the middle left hand box, and all the older girls sleep on top on the nesting boxes, as pictured here.

Even the gates got up! Also thanks to my husband - another thing he did while I was at work.

We still want to do some work on the fence, and we want to use the remaining heavy floorboards to make a flat space under the gate and on both sides of it in order to make snow removal easier, but for the winter, this works well and keeps the chickens safe during the day when they are out and about.

We are very proud of it - we planned it and built it all by ourselves (with the wonderful help of scavenged supplies and a skylight from my dad. Thanks dad!)

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