August 7, 2017

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Chickens -- Building the Coop and Run


I have been wanting chickens since I was a little girl. I always dreamed of farm fresh eggs and just the general joy that chickens bring to your life. Well, we had an opportunity come up where our direct neighbor was selling chickens, and giving away roosters. I needed a coop, and fast. We had been "discussing" a coop and plans for almost 4 years. One day, I just said enough planning and went out and built a coop and run.

We had a plastic storage building when we had the angora bunnies. It was then turned into a storage shed of junk. It is a 7x7 Rubbermaid building we bought at a hardware store (hint it's colors are exactly the same as a big box store). We bought everything else from a local hardware store. It was costly and yes you can do it for a lot cheaper. I am of the mindset of doing it once, making minor adjustments and not needing to reinvest too much into the structure.


So, 7x7 building. We raised it off the ground with a two level high cinder block pattern that allowed for structure but the chickens could get in and have different "rooms" they could occupy. We put ply board underneath it, in hindsight we needed 3/4in thick but I can always take the building off the supports and replace this with thicker ply board. We then used repurposed wood and chicken wire for the sides of the area under the coop to make it critter proof and chicken escape proof. My chickens go under this area ALL the time so it was well worth the extra effort.


We modified the building by cutting two windows and a door. I put chicken wire in the windows and made up a contraption for the door with a cutting board and some grooved boards. I attached a rope to it and put it through the side of the coop where i used two deck screws for the secure spot of the rope outside.


We had a changing table left over from the bunnies which fit the cat litter pails perfectly (or purrfectly?), 3 across and 3 tiers high so 9 in total if we wanted to have that many. Mine love these nesting boxes with just some pine shavings and a dummy egg inside.

 

The bunny cages used to sit on a pic pipe stand I made when I was first expecting Penelope (like 4 days before I found out I was expecting her). They are excellent roosts. I put a tarp hung with curtain rod hangers along the back like a hammock, yeah... a poop hammock. I added water and food and the inside was done. Who knew chickens were so finicky?

  

Now for the run, that was done in stages and since we added 4 flighty hens after our first purchase we added bird netting to the top. We used green t-posts to make the secure points for the chicken wire. How did we attach them? Zip-ties, four to each post. Then we (I mean my brother) drove them and the wooden posts in the ground. This allowed for the weird shape we had to go in to allow access to another building. Then we put chicken wire around the run and stapled it to the building. I put landscape timbers around the bottom in sections since they were again a wonky shape. I toenailed the separate sections together and stapled it to the wire. This was mostly because the chickens habit of burrowing next to the wire. Then I added a plastic to the top and bird netting. We added a door that was the bottom of a crate my mom's washer came in and so I stapled chicken wire to it and added handles, hinges, and locks.


Painted the exposed areas with Rustoleum and then added gutters for rain collection via a downspout and rain chain.


I stapled a lot of things and I even gain callouses where I used the staple gun so many times. It was completed in 3 days or about 12 hours of work with 3 people. My chickens seem to love it and it is easy to clean and maintain.