Friday, April 25, 2014

Chicken Update - (Almost) Complete Coop

            Hey folks! I had originally thought about doing a "how to" on how we (again, by "we" I mean my husband ;)  ) built our chicken coop out of mostly scraps, but I'll spare you. It would be better for my husband to write it or help me with the post, but he's been working overtime so I'm not going to bother him! Plus, you can get plenty of ideas just from the pictures I'm going to share. :)
            We had planned on getting our chickens outdoors anyways when we got back from our trip to Oklahoma since we knew my in-laws were going to be staying with us the next week. Something tells me they probably wouldn't want to shower with a bunch of chickens running around flipping out. ha ha
            However, even though my in-laws decided to rent a cabin on the lake instead while they visit, the chickens still HAD to go outside asap when we got home from our trip. Why the urgency, you may ask? At least one of them had escaped while we were gone and, while my brother in-law did clean it up some, the bathroom was still an awful mess.
            So, John got on top of finishing the coop right away. Well, mostly. There are still a few minor things that need to be done to it, but I assure you they are perfectly fine in there and seem to be happy so far!

Here are a few different angles of the outside. We still plan on putting shingles of sorts on the outside to keep rain from coming in...although it has already rained several times in the few days they've been in there and they didn't seem to mind or have gotten wet.
The roof  and inside. I can't remember what the tape is called, but he used some sort of reflective tape on the roof. There is also a shower curtain underneath the tape for extra waterproofing. The inside is covered with hardware cloth.
 I threw this one in to show where the nesting boxes will be. Since the chickens won't start laying until roughly August/September, there's no need to have nesting boxes yet, so hubby just boarded that space over for now.
John did put bracing on the legs, in case there are any chicken aficianados out there thinking the coop looks unstable. (I promise it's not. I'll get to that in a minute.)
Here's a random assortment of pictures. We still need to put the little bars on their "plank", as I like to call it, so they can walk in and out of the coop easily instead of sliding down. (Although let's all admit: That is a funny mental image of a chicken sliding.)
The bottom left shows the lock that opens the whole front side of the coop. The right picture shows the latch for the small door on the front to allow the chickens to go in and out during the day. Their door is actually an old cabinet door that my husband replaced with glass for a co-worker.
Last, but not least, the ladies of the hour! ;) Again, while they may still only be several weeks old (I'm writing this on April 10), I think it's safe to say they are no longer chicks. 
You might be able to see it in the background, but we went old school with their roosting bar and used a branch from the yard. They're all scrambling to their freshly refilled waterer in the right picture because it was completely empty when I checked it this morning!
P.s. Look how big their feet are! They're like little raptors! lol

            There you have it. I wish I had the exact figures for you on how much we actually spent and how much we got for free to build this coop, but I don't. I do know that it was a lot more than we expected, despite most of the wood being free. We still had to buy the latches/locks, feeders, waterers, heat lamp (when they were indoors), feed, etc. I'm hoping once we are able to let them out of the coop in a week or two they will be able to get most of their food from foraging so we can cut back on feed cost.
            As of today (4/10), my husband tells me we should leave them in there for a week or so before letting them out so that they will "know where home is". While I feel bad making them stay in there, the purpose of this is so that they will (hopefully) go in here on their own accord in the evening, when we will lock them in for the night to keep predators from getting them. Our backyard is fenced, but we have some curious cats (including our own) who would have no problem climbing the fence...not to mention the possums and raccoons. Yuck. And we live in town! John keeps trying to reassure me that the cats are more likely to get messed up than the other way around. lol I don't want the cats to get messed up either, though. :/
            One last thing: I really do promise that our chicken coop is sturdier than it looks! Trust me: I realize that it's just about the ugliest looking chicken coop ever. However, as far as durability goes it's a lot better than you would think. My husband has built lots of wooden furniture in the past (coffee tables, large storage cabinets, end tables, etc.) and I assure you he knows what he's doing. Just throwing that out there in case anyone is worried about the safety and well-being of the chickens. :)

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