Our Coop Construction, 2007-Present

It’s time to get ready for those backyard chickens! I’ve encountered a few people who are thinking about building a chicken coop recently, so I thought I’d re-blog this post about our chicken coop construction process. It looks like I did the same thing last year as well. If you want more information on chicken keeping be sure to click on the Chickens category in the menu at the top of the page. Most of my posts about chickens can be found there! Michele

The Salem Garden

Good almost spring morning!

I seem to be encountering lots of people who are planning to build or buy a chicken coop these days so I thought I’d share an overview of ours as it was constructed.

We didn’t exactly plan the coop before our first batch of chicks arrived in 2007 so our pullets (young chickens) lived in our basement for several months during construction. I don’t recommend that at all. You will save yourself a huge amount of anxiety by building or buying a coop before your chicks arrive. We kind of go with the flow around here but those few months were quite difficult. Fortunately we were totally in love with our brand new chickens so we all got through it together.

Okay, here goes:
IMG_0440The garden, pre chicken, around 2006.

IMG_1507

The very beginning… The corner posts were placed into holes dug approximately two feet into the…

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Our Coop Construction, 2007-Present

Are you thinking about raising chickens? It’s that “brand new flock” time of year again!  I thought I’d share this post that I wrote last year about the building and design process of our coop just in case you’re doing some research. Please be sure to leave your questions in the comments section and use the search box at the bottom of the page to find more chicken raising related posts!   We’re happy to help as much as we can.      Michele

Good almost spring morning!

I seem to be encountering lots of people who are planning to build or buy a chicken coop these days so I thought I’d share an overview of ours as it was constructed.

We didn’t exactly plan the coop before our first batch of chicks arrived in 2007 so our pullets (young chickens) lived in our basement for several months during construction. I don’t recommend that at all. You will save yourself a huge amount of anxiety by building or buying a coop before your chicks arrive. We kind of go with the flow around here but those few months were quite difficult. Fortunately we were totally in love with our brand new chickens so we all got through it together.

Okay, here goes:
IMG_0440The garden, pre chicken, around 2006.

IMG_1507

The very beginning… The corner posts were placed into holes dug approximately two feet into the ground. Michael hit a lot of rock but says he put them in as far down as he could go. The floor is plywood, the main posts are 4×4, the floor and ceiling were constructed with 2×6 boards and the walls with 2x4s.

IMG_1510

The roof going on..IMG_1511

IMG_1510

The roof pitch echoes our house’s roofline. It doesn’t match but it coordinates nicely.

IMG_1616

The walls are plywood attached to the frame with roofing paper applied over it to seal. The windows were mostly salvaged with the exception of the front window that my son is standing in. I think that one came from a building supply warehouse nearby (on the clearance rack I’m sure).

IMG_1618

Looking at the front; long windows for lots of light, a nice wide front door for easy access and the little chicken door on the bottom right.

IMG_1619

Here’s the back side. That overhang provides handy shelter for things like garden tools and wheelbarrows.You just have to watch that you don’t hit your head on the corner.

IMG_1622My little girl (who turned nine last week!)… windows and doors in. No screening on the run yet but that was in process.

IMG_2537

Looking down at a habitable coop without siding. It took another year or two for siding to be added.

IMG_4828

But then it was, and primer was applied to preserve the clapboard.

IMG_0654

Painted and decorated, with flowers growing, of course.

IMG_7748

It is a pretty little coop!

DSC01461Far back view in winter. The girls get afternoon sun through that window which helps to keep them cozy in the colder months.

DSC03864

Here’s the front door and porch area. The porch is great because it gives the chickens a dry place to spend time and there’s space under it so they can hide if needed. It also saves us from having to step into mud pits…

DSC03863

… like this one. Unless your a blogger who wants to take a picture of the front door of the chicken coop during mud season.

But who do you know who would do that? 😉

I realize that this is kind of a quick overview of our process and there’s lots of details missing. I took these photos as we went along but never with the idea that they would someday be used on my blog. So, I apologize for the gaps but hope it gives you an idea of what our coop exterior looks like and what our construction journey entailed. I’m going to do an inside tour in the next week or so.  I think I’ll include the head chicken keeper’s direct input as I write it to insure accuracy and probably some entertainment.

Leave me questions! Michael and I will be happy to answer them!

Happy Coop Building!

Michele

Poop-poop-e-doop

That’s what Michael always said when we were dealing with a really poopy diaper back in the diaper days and it’s my first thought when I step into the chicken coop in the morning.

I love to talk about all of the lovely reasons to raise chickens… the eggs, the colors, the educational benefits, the pest control, the fluffy beautiful fun. There is another side to this business though and to be fair and transparent the time has come for me to hit that too.

There is a LOT of poop.

DSC03868Here we go… this is from one night in the coop and it’s just one side of the room. This is a lot of poop to clean up.

DSC03873

We use this handy dandy scraper. It’s located in a tricky spot, over to the right where I can’t quite reach without leaning into the perch but I manage when I have to. Truth be told, Michael does most of the scraping. I fill in when he’s not able to which was the case yesterday morning because he wasn’t feeling well. So, I finally got these chicken poop photos I’ve been meaning to take.

I’m a pretty spoiled chicken mama and Michael is a very dedicated chicken dad so it all works out.

DSC03877This is what one morning’s poop removal looks like.

We scrape it up every day first thing. I know that not everyone does it this way, you can wait and add hay on top then clean it out less often but we’re kind of daily chicken coop cleaners. About once every four to six weeks we (I use the word “we” very loosely here) do a more thorough cleaning and remove the old hay and put fresh down.

The daily poop goes out to the compost piles down in the woods to break down. We add it to the garden as compost after a year or so.

It’s one of the best composts ever!

Guess I’m right back to the good reasons to keep chickens!

poop-poop-e-doop!

Have a great day!

Michele

Our Coop Construction, 2007-Present

Good almost spring morning!

I seem to be encountering lots of people who are planning to build or buy a chicken coop these days so I thought I’d share an overview of ours as it was constructed.

We didn’t exactly plan the coop before our first batch of chicks arrived in 2007 so our pullets (young chickens) lived in our basement for several months during construction. I don’t recommend that at all. You will save yourself a huge amount of anxiety by building or buying a coop before your chicks arrive. We kind of go with the flow around here but those few months were quite difficult. Fortunately we were totally in love with our brand new chickens so we all got through it together.

Okay, here goes:
IMG_0440The garden, pre chicken, around 2006.

IMG_1507

The very beginning… The corner posts were placed into holes dug approximately two feet into the ground. Michael hit a lot of rock but says he put them in as far down as he could go. The floor is plywood, the main posts are 4×4, the floor and ceiling were constructed with 2×6 boards and the walls with 2x4s.

IMG_1510

The roof going on..IMG_1511

IMG_1510

The roof pitch echoes our house’s roofline. It doesn’t match but it coordinates nicely.

IMG_1616

The walls are plywood attached to the frame with roofing paper applied over it to seal. The windows were mostly salvaged with the exception of the front window that my son is standing in. I think that one came from a building supply warehouse nearby (on the clearance rack I’m sure).

IMG_1618

Looking at the front; long windows for lots of light, a nice wide front door for easy access and the little chicken door on the bottom right.

IMG_1619

Here’s the back side. That overhang provides handy shelter for things like garden tools and wheelbarrows.You just have to watch that you don’t hit your head on the corner.

IMG_1622My little girl (who turned nine last week!)… windows and doors in. No screening on the run yet but that was in process.

IMG_2537

Looking down at a habitable coop without siding. It took another year or two for siding to be added.

IMG_4828

But then it was, and primer was applied to preserve the clapboard.

IMG_0654

Painted and decorated, with flowers growing, of course.

IMG_7748

It is a pretty little coop!

DSC01461Far back view in winter. The girls get afternoon sun through that window which helps to keep them cozy in the colder months.

DSC03864

Here’s the front door and porch area. The porch is great because it gives the chickens a dry place to spend time and there’s space under it so they can hide if needed. It also saves us from having to step into mud pits…

DSC03863

… like this one. Unless your a blogger who wants to take a picture of the front door of the chicken coop during mud season.

But who do you know who would do that? 😉

I realize that this is kind of a quick overview of our process and there’s lots of details missing. I took these photos as we went along but never with the idea that they would someday be used on my blog. So, I apologize for the gaps but hope it gives you an idea of what our coop exterior looks like and what our construction journey entailed. I’m going to do an inside tour in the next week or so.  I think I’ll include the head chicken keeper’s direct input as I write it to insure accuracy and probably some entertainment.

Leave me questions! Michael and I will be happy to answer them!

Happy Coop Building!

Michele

What’s Happening In the Garden- August 7

Let’s see, where to start…After lots of rain early on the weather has been beautiful for the past couple of days. We’ve had a few perfect garden days. I love, love, love those days!

IMG_2528Here’s one of our very recent freecycle finds! I’m pretty excited about this. We’re hoping to collect rain from the roof of the chicken coop to water with. That should save some time and money!

IMG_2533The tomatoes are coming along slowly. I’m hearing a lot about “lots of foliage but no tomatoes” from friends and family. I think the heavy rain we had early in the summer is to blame. In spite of my efforts I have a good amount of blight out there and I think it’s largely caused by the rain bouncing the fungus right up on to the plants from the ground. Does that make sense? 

IMG_2537Tomatillos… they are just so darned cute! Now I have figure out how to eat them. 

IMG_2540Cosmos above the Brussel sprouts…a nice pop of color but their out of control!

IMG_2541 A few peppers… we’ll see. Their kind of a late August crop.

IMG_2542The cabbage is coming along too. It’s slightly shaded by the cosmos so I keep moving them (the cosmos) to other areas. This cabbage has been munched on a little bit. I probably need to put some slug traps out there.

IMG_2544I planted a little bit of swiss chard over the weekend. It’s so pretty! I hope it settles in and takes off.

IMG_2546Here we have asian cucumber, with chard to the right,  a sad little zucchini plant tucked in and cauliflower right behind it.I haven’t had luck with zucchini here or at work this year. The squash borers were hard at work everywhere.

IMG_2551 Dill in the foreground (the dill volunteers all over the yard) with relocated cosmos and some romano beans coming up in front of the fence. The beets in the bacdground may become beets after all. I wasn’t sure a few weeks ago but their looking okay.

IMG_2555Shallots are curing… I need to store them in a cool dry  place. Their a bit smaller than I expected but after researching it I think that may just be the variety.

IMG_2530Eggplant… well… I don’t know… I think it needed more sun. To be honest we don’t really like it so it’s not a huge loss. I think the garden knoll is enjoying it though.

IMG_2556I’ve been pretty distracted this summer so I feel some loss about the garden. Part of the problem is my tendency to sit on this deck and enjoy the view 😉

I’m okay with that.

Enjoy everything!

Michele

 

The Great Chicken Integration!

So, last night at 10:00 just as I was about to take my shower and get my jammies on Michael said “come on outside, it’s time to move the chickens”…  of course my immediate response was ” really? seriously? you want to do that now? do we have to? how about tomorrow night?” Please!!

He said, “nope, no way, their getting too big for the tractor, let’s go!”

(meanie!)

So off we went, with a flashlight, in the dark, to the far corner of my back yard.. One by one we dug them out of their little house in the chicken tractor and gingerly placed them, two together, in the nesting boxes in the coop with with big girls.. trying hard not to step on poop or anything else that might be out there.

Doing this meant that I slept lightly, worried about what today would bring. We’ve moved babies up quite a few times and there’s still that mother part of me that worries about what’s going to happen to them out there. I raced out at 6am with my little guy  to check. It’s his job to feed them in the morning and I was concerned that he might encounter an unpleasant situation. Well, they were all in a tizzy but everyone was alive and well. The big girls were outside squawking because their territory had been invaded and they wanted to be fed their treats (have I mentioned that their a bit spoiled). The babies were hopping around the inside of the coop,  kind of upset and disoriented but busy exploring their new home. I went out to check again a few minutes ago and they were all outside in the run together.. at opposite ends but definitely sharing the space.

Before we know it we’ll have a really healthy and beautiful flock of egg layers out there!

Mission accomplished!! Whew!