New Coop!

11/29/10

I’ve been thinking about a new coop for at least a year.  I finally completed it about a week ago.  The attached run is still in the works though.

A good portion of the coop is made from reused or repurposed materials.  There was a large quantity of wooden boards on the property when I bought it, which has been helpful for any number of projects over the years.

I bought some treated lumber to sit the coop on and for uprights (I could have used untreated lumber for this, but originally I was thinking of putting them in the ground like fence posts and I just didn’t want to hassle with returning them to the store) as well as some poultry wire.  I also bought some galvanized metal roofing and roofing screws.  Otherwise the coop and run are entirely from repurposed materials.  The main part of the coop is made from 5 wooden pallets.  The gaps in the pallets were then covered with lathe from last year’s bathroom remodel and various other pieces of wood that had at one time been raised beds, shelves or perches.  The corners of the pallets have 6ft tall 2x4s for the roof to attach to.  Next I began to install windows on every side of the coop on top of the pallets.  A screen door, that had once been attached to the house before I upgraded to a storm door, went in place of the sixth pallet.  Then the gaps between the windows and doors were covered with more repurposed wood and lathe boards from the house.  Another door was found, in a pile I had never touched in the shed, for the run.  This was installed and some of the original framing from the old 2ft high run was used to form the base of the new run.  The chicken’s tractor was also repurposed into the new run.  5 or 6 more pallets were added to the back of the coop where the 2ft high framing ended to add more space and stability to the new run.  I added some roughly 3 ft high boards to the 2ft high framing for the poultry netting to drape over and give me room to walk into the run.

What I have left to do is install the chicken wire in a type of arch over the entire run to make it predator proof.  And then move the hens in!!  I’ll take pictures soon.

12/5/10 Update!

With the help of a friend I finished installing the fencing for the run and completed some last minute adjustments to the coop’s interior layout.

This is the east facing side.

Those buckets are repurposed from holding cat litter into holding chicken feed.  I have a neighbor who generously lets me remove them from the trash pile, then I wash the litter residue out and let thoroughly dry before using them for feed.  The hens roosting bar is directly in front of the window that is painted white.  This maximizes the amount of daylight they will receive.  In the spring I’ll deal with the paint on the doors and windows.  For now it is too cold for me to do anything but the most necessary outdoor chores.

The north-west faces

Here you can see how I attached the chicken tractor to the run to increase the floor space the hens have available to them.  Also that bale of straw is blocking winds from the north or west from blowing into the pop door that the hens use to enter the coop and it will give the hens something to entertain themselves with when there is no grass or bugs this winter.  You can also see that I used zip ties to tie a good portion of the poultry wire together.  This isn’t because I think it was better, but more for expedient purposes.  All the poultry wire came wrapped in wire that I was intending to use to sew the pieces of netting together.  However, the weather was not going to warm up enough for me to do that before I go on vacation for two weeks.  Cutting and pulling wire without gloves in thirty degree temperatures just isn’t within my tolerance level.

The south face

In the picture of the south face you can see an area on the back of the coop (west face) that I want to also be part of the run.  Due to the weather (again) I opted to not take the time to enclose this area until spring.  Because I’m not all that cold tolerant and because I’m often not at home for multiple weeks during the cold months I’ve opted to run an extension cord to the coop that runs a bird bath heater for the hens water bowl.  The heater only turns on when the temperature is below 33 degrees F, so it doesn’t use too much electricity.  You can see the shadows some trees make on the coop.  In the summer these trees will have leaves and shade the coop during the late afternoon.  I plan on repurposing a piece of gutter for this side of the coop so that as much water as I can will be kept away from the bottom of the coop.  I’ll run it to a rain barrel, but most of the water will head out to the street through a French drain.  Hopefully I’ll get another rain garden installed for the coop roof, but I wouldn’t count on it happening for a few years.  Unless it becomes obvious it is necessary right away.

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