If it wasn’t apparent in my last post, I was seriously chomping at the bit to build my chicken coop. Anticipating a break in the wintery weather over the weekend, I scooped up the materials last week and spent the last few days building the coop of my dreams. Hopefully the chickens will enjoy it as much as my children have so far.
Here’s the finished product.
This thing weighs a ton but I have nightmares about a gust of wind tossing it onto the sidewalk below. Once I get some protective screen attached I’ll nudge it into its final position closer to the wall and secure it with some stakes.
I based this design on a free set of plans by Purina Mills, which are easy to find online, tweaking the size and shape a bit to fit my situation. There a few things I like about this design. First is the external nesting box that will make it easy to gather eggs and also doesn’t eat up the limited floor space of the coop itself. I also like the fact that it’s on legs, giving the chickens a shaded area to hang out in the summer sun and hopefully making it harder for mice and other critters to get into the coop.
Open nesting box.
The front of the coop as two doors that open outwards to allow for easy cleaning and feeding. I need to work on my hinge-hanging technique…the doors don’t close as flush as I like, but they’ll work.
I’m happy that was able to resurrect the Acacia tree that fell down a few weeks back and use the trunk to make a roost inside the coop.
On the other side, where I’ll build a small run, there’s an access door. I had a spare pulley, so I hooked that up as a way to open the door without having to get actually get into the run.
But my shoddy hinge hanging struck again, and this door also doesn’t close as snug as I’d like. This won’t be a problem when it’s warm, but I wanted a way to secure it during exceptionally cold or stormy weather. I used some of my ubiquitous scrap wood to make some simple stoppers that do the trick.
For ventilation, the top couple of centimeters of each wall are left open. The roof overhangs enough to keep the weather out (hopefully). The original plans called for gaps on the front and back, but given the coops south-facing location and lack of shade, I thought more ventilation couldn’t hurt.
I’d also like to make a removable screen that would allow me to leave the front doors open during the summer days to help air out the coop, but I’ll work that out later.
The other exciting news is that I ordered the chickens. I changed my mind at the last minute and ditched the idea of getting Silkies for the time being. In the end, I went with 2 Okazaki Ouhans (hybrid meat/egg layers) and 2 Boris Browns, which are mega layers. I was worried about a drastic falloff in egg production from the Boris Browns after the first year or two, but after a reassuring comment from Jo (thanks Jo!) and talking with the person in charge of chicken sales at the home center, I decided to give them a try. I’ll take delivery of the chicks some time in April and have tasked my boys with naming them.
Back soon with a ‘Chicken Coop Run’ post I hope.