Thursday, October 11, 2012

Handmade 52: Item #9 Chicken Coop!

It is DONE!!!
Phew! It took me over 3 months and far more cash than planned to build this coop. Oops.

Coop shown with flaps open.
The brown you see inside near the center is a tall cardboard box I used to section off some of the coop, so that the little chicks would be in a smaller area inside the coop to start with. This came in handy when Buttercup needed to be separated from the rest during the "Broken Beak" episode. o_O
More on that and her recovery soon.

Note to self : Use a plan (bought or free) that comes with a cut list and step by step instructions, and remember that you don't have the spare time to make elaborate things during nap times - less is more!

Chicken Coop and Run

  • Our coop is taller than my husband! 
  • It consists of a 6ft x 3ft coop on top, and a 6ft x 4ft run below. 
  • There is a 2 section ladder for them to go up to the coop and down to the run. They enter / exit the coop via a pop-door in the floor. 
  • I used hardware cloth over the windows and run sides. We do NOT want to take the risk of anything hurting or taking off with our little ladies, so I tried to make the coop and run as secure as possible. But I also made as many doors and windows as possible. It gets VERY hot here in Texas, and the last thing I wanted was for our chickens to overheat and die....and then I'd have to tell the kids what happened. Nope, not our kind of fun. So lots of windows to open for airflow, while still keeping them secure, and lots of doors so that I can easily clean it out, reach food and water, catch chicks that need medical attention, allow the kids to feed treats without them escaping, and so on.
  • Thankfully I thought ahead and put together the whole thing with good quality screws, because the only way I see us being able to move it / sell it off if we in pieces or at least in sections. It is huge, heavy, and strong enough to hold an adult or several kids in the top section without it even moving. I'm pretty proud of it's strength and security features! ;)
(I'll do a separate post with more photos of the building process, inside details etc.)

Our girls are:
Buttercup (Blue Splash Marans - standard size chicken)
Izzy (Black Australorp - standard size chicken)
- named after Isabella on the TV show Phineas and Ferb
Millie (Welsummer - bantam chicken)
Meep (Black Frizzle Cochin - bantam chicken)
- named after the cute alien character in Phineas and Ferb.

I'll do a separate post showing off our beauties!
Okay, okay, one sneak peek:
They're MUCH bigger these days!

Where did we get our chickens?
After much deliberation, lots of emails back and forth between myself and several people, I made the executive decision to order our girls from My Pet Chicken.

For so many reasons. The main ones being:
  1. We had to be sure we received girls. Our landlord sweetly said yes to our out-of-the-blue request for chickens in this suburban neighbourhood, but we promised them no roosters would ever call our coop home. Unlike most places, MPC sexes their bantams. Yes, there is always a small chance they will get it wrong, but the chances are far lower than ordering through the feed store, or on Craigslist, and simply taking our chances with what sexes we receive for our bantams.
  2. We could get a variety of breeds without having to reach a minimum of 15+ chickens. We are allowed no more than 4 and to be honest, that's plenty for us. For our zipcode, the minimum order is 5 when you order bantams and standards in one order. Thankfully I know a sweet lady nearby that would add to her flock so that we would meet the minimum. Yay!

This is by far the biggest handmade item that I will tackle this year (thankfully). And while it's certainly not perfect, especially up close, it is fully functional and I'll admit I'm pretty impressed that I did the majority of it without help! Though the help I did receive from my husband was invaluable. I could never have finished certain areas like the roof, without his strength, height, and all-round awesomeness. Thanks Handsome! ;)

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