Monday, April 24, 2017

Our chicken coop

We decided to build our own chicken coop (or as Rett calls it the "chicken poop"), thinking it would save us money since we wanted such a big one. I'm not sure if it turned out to be less expensive after all the materials but it is definitely exactly how we wanted it!

The shape is called a "hoop house" that the chickens will stay in all the time. Sometimes chicken coops are just where the chickens live at night, but the predators are so determined in our area we didn't feel safe leaving them outside during the day without protection. The coop started out with three flimsy pvc pipe arches. I have to admit, it didn't make me very confident about how it would turn out.

It took Anthony weeks of working on it an hour here or an afternoon there, but it finally started to take shape.

The chicks were getting big fast, and they were definitely outgrowing the tub we had them in inside the house. We tried to take them outside when we could and let them explore and stretch their wings.

A friend of ours lives in a neighborhood that is building a lot of new houses and she texts us when there is good building materials in the dumpster :) We were able to get a lot of good plywood and cinder blocks for the coop. Anthony buried the cinder block all around the coop so animals can't tunnel under it to get in.

This is the trash pile after we filled the truck bed. You can't even tell we got anything!

Cinder blocks going in, door frame up, and back siding put on. We found some old siding leftover from our shed buried under some leaves, so we used it for the back side of the coop.

Front wire going on:

We really didn't want a repeat of what happened to our quail, so we decided to get a solar powered electric fence to put all the way around the coop. Once the new quail cage is finished, we can connect more wires to the existing electric fence and put it on there too. Anthony has been shocked by it a few times and says that it really stings! Rett likes to get spiderwebs with sticks all around the coop and within one week of it being up, touched the electric fence with his arm. He came running into the house crying saying that "the spider bite me!". I don't think he will do that again :)

The chicks survived their first night outside!

Anthony installed an automatic water dish that fills up as soon as it gets empty and made a big feeder out of a 5 gallon bucket and some pvc pipe. The next thing to do is build some nesting boxes and put some branches in there for them to roost on. They have been in it for a few weeks now, and they are loving it! Sometimes I leave the door open when I go in there and they don't even try to get to explore. Hopefully around August we will start collecting eggs from these ladies!

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