Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My chicken coop

The Coop
Last Spring my husband built me a chicken coop for my laying hens...The construction for laying hens..is somewhat important because they have to live in it all winter..and they also need to be kept safe from predators such as raccoons, skunks and coyotes.  This coop is NOT insulated..but that will change before this coming winter...here is a step by step pictorial of how it was built..and other than the 2x4s.. and chicken wire..this coop was biult entirely out of recycled materials!! So although it is going under the "chicken raising Ideas" label..it could also go under waste not want not!!

My husband first dug 4 post holes and planted the yard posts 2 feet deep..then built the floor joists.

Then he laid the first layer of floor boards..we debated as to whether or not we should put a layer of TIN roofing under the floor board to discourage things like rats and squirrels and weasels..but we just laid two layers instead.

Then the plywood layer went down...

The front and back walls went up..the front wall has a nice big window facing east to get the morning sun!

The door..

The Inside..The 2x3s on the left were meant to hold the nesting boxes...but ended up being roosts..we used old milk crates for nesting boxes..which you will see if you look at the pictures of the building of the heat lamp in this section of the blog.

Done!  As you can see there are two little sliding doors on the front near the door..this is to allow the chickens into their yard during the day...as the sun sets..they will naturally go inside to "roost" and then you can close those doors to keep them safe inside.  By the big door you can see a window..this is something we had on hand..rather than screen..we tacked chicken wire up on the inside..this way in hot weather we can leave the window open for extra ventilation.

My husband is putting up the chicken wire..there is a locking door into their yard in case I need to get in there..and I often use it to toss them vegatable kitchen scraps..If you look carefully at the bottom of the fence you will see tin..this tin is cut in 18 inch high strips and is BURIED 12 inches UNDER the ground along with the chicken wire!! This is very important...CHickens bathe by coating themselves in dirt then shaking it off..its called "dusting" and they can dig a hole right under the fence..not to mention burrowing predators like weasels...your laying hens are an investment..they need to be protected.

A Final layer of chicken wire is run accross the top of the yard and nailed in place..this discourages raccoons..although the chickens are safe inside at night..should the raccoons get into that yard...it would not be difficult for them to get inside one of those push up doors after that..so we make it as difficult as possible..so they will look elswhere for a meal.

These are my Barred Plymouth Rocks..they are a good dual purpose bird..on the floor is a shredded news print..only because its summer..in the winter I use STRAW...NOT HAY.

Hope you found this informative.
CHEERS!!

10 comments:

Mattemma said...

Love the coop.I will try to build one for my chickens this summer.

oncountrytime said...

Hello! I just found your blog when i did a Google search for half acre homesteads, and find it very interesting and informative. I am wanting to get our little homestead growing this year with some chickens and fruit trees. We have had a garden for several years, but it's time to step it up. I am looking into chickens right now, and the one thing no one seems to talk about that I feel like is the one thing I need to know about is cleaning. Do you have to clean out the chicken coops often to keep them from smelling, or do the chickens always just use the yard? And how do you go about cleaning them? With only living on half an acre, and having a small family, I don't think we will need a lot of chickens, but they will still be in a small space close to the house, and from being around chicken farms, I know chickens are smelly animals, so I am trying to find cheap, clean ways to care for chickens.

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