Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Coop!

The Garden Shed...
John and I had a weekend project.  Well, we had a few projects this week- now that he's on "vacation" (ie, he's a teacher, and has no classes for the summer, though he is teaching two courses online at the moment, with more scheduled later in the summer...) we've begone our "Summer project" list.  But our main project this week was the chicken run/coop.  The chickens have gotten big.  They are now 6 weeks old, and I desperately wanted them out of my basement.

Now, I went and got the chickens without having the coop ready.  I called it incentive.  It sort of worked- we now have the chickens outdoors, although the coop is not done.  We have this huge garden shed.  Now, I garden, but I don't have need for this huge garden shed.  My tools are all in the garage.  The stuff in there is all from the previous owner, and most of it is rusted and useless.  So my idea was to transform this shed to a coop.

Since it's mostly established, our first job was to create a run.  I found an easy plan on how to make a 4 x 8 x 2 run, and then changed it to a 8 x 8 x 4 run.  I wanted to give the girls a bit of room.  Now...John and I are not carpenters.  Far from it.  I don't think we've ever built anything like this before.  So we were both had a little trepidation, but it seemed easy enough.

We started off by going to Lowe's, and picked up 12 8 foot 2x4's.  Lowe's cuts wood, so we had them cut 2 of them in half.  We also bought a drill, some screws, a staple gun and some chicken wire/hexagonal fencing.  We pre-drilled everything, and then assembled our happy cube.  I added some supports for the top, and supports for the sides.  Again, we're not carpenters, so maybe it's not amazing to people who can build anything.  But I was pretty amazed by what we did.  It took about 4 hours.  After that, we began stapling the wire to the frame.  This was a lot more work than I thought it would be, mainly because we wanted it to be taut.  We decided towards the end of the project that we would need to do a door.  Right now, there's no door.

The coop isn't finished, only cleared out, with only some bits for ventilation.  Over the summer, we want to add a window or two, and a real door.  Right now, the door is simply something we cut out and attached to some hinges and a hook and eye.  I open it by pulling up a rope.  It's a little bit ghetto.  But it works.  We also need to add some roosts, and some nesting boxes.  I want to also buy a bigger feed bucket and waterer, both of which I want to hang from the ceiling. Before winter, we'll also insulate it it lightly, and a heated waterer to prevent freezing.

I'm pretty happy with my little coop.  It's not perfect, and parts are not pretty.  But it works, and it's a work in process, as John and I learn.  Hopefully our learning will not include a lesson on cleaning up torn up chickens...we really tried to think about possible predators, reinforcing in weak spots, and such.   But I think it'll do for now.
Happy Girls are happy!


  1. I can't believe how big they are already. Excellent job! I'm impressed.

  2. They grow so fast, it's pretty amazing. Thanks!