Today we have a little Monday afternoon tour of the chicken coop... enjoy your visit!
Sometime in April a friend gifted us a small flock of baby chicks. They spent some time indoors, then were moved to the garage. Eventually they were big enough and the temperatures warmed up outside, so we moved them to their permanent home outdoors.
The coop itself was a hand me down from our neighbor. It is so well built but did have a few things that benefited from an upgrade. When we first took ownership of this coop, the only way to access the inside (aside from a small door for the ladies to go in and out and small side doors for egg collecting) was by removing the entire roof. This would make cleaning the coop a two person job (for me anyway) and we wanted easier access in case of illness or emergency too.
I should say that I'm not really in the know when it comes to builder's speak, so please pardon my attempt at explaining the coop and pen details.
Basically, the framework for the roof was in great shape, but the asphalt shingles were in need of replacing. Adam pulled those off, including the plywood under the shingles. We were left with the roof frame, in excellent well-built condition. He added new plywood, metal roofing, and capped it off at the top seam so no water could enter. The roof was secured to the coop, we had other plans for creating an access point for cleaning and such.
While he had the roof off he decided a new floor couldn't hurt, so that was replaced too.
A large section of the wall on the side of the coop was cut out, and Adam used that wall to construct a door. I love this door! It is nice and wide and because he has the entire coop raised on stumps (they are partially buried in the ground for incredible stability), we can push the wheelbarrow right up to the coop, open the door, and shovel the bedding right into it. Easy as can be.
The daily access door for the chickens was rebuilt too. We still have to further secure the egg collection doors (that is why they are currently boarded up), but if you notice the simple wooden latches on those, that is what was on the main door too. I know of some crafty critters around here that could open that pretty easily with the swipe of a paw.
So, when the chicken entrance was rebuilt, a heavy sliding latch was added. We also secure it with a carabiner for added protection... and because every project needs at least one carabiner. When they are closed up for the night, things are pretty tight and secure so they can rest easy.
The pen is spacious and was designed based on some ideas I collected (like this one).
We positioned the coop off to one side of the pen so a rain water collection system can be added down the road. A pitched metal roof is perfect for that and we do not have easy access to water in the back field for the garden so this would be helpful.
Adam built a ladder of sorts for roosting, using very thick branches. They love it! (A tip for building one of these - pre drill the holes before screwing it together. This prevents the wood from splitting.) We also added a few heavy stumps which they enjoy sitting on as they watch the world go by.
A chicken tractor will be built next (after those secure latches are added to the egg collection doors) so the girls can roam around unsupervised. For now though, we are outside so much during the day that they follow us around eating all the grass and bugs they desire.
Scout is learning to herd them back into the coop/pen at night too. Hysterical and so awesome. He's a good boy.
I'm sorry this is kind of a lame description of everything. I didn't build any of it so I'm not really qualified to explain things. But I did take plenty of pictures so hopefully those are worth a thousand words for those of us that are into this sort of thing.
Now that the girls have such happy and cozy digs, they can feel free to leave a few eggs for us anytime now... soon. Oh! Also, pretty much this whole thing was designed around my fixation on accessing the pen through a screen door. That's not so crazy, right?