As you know, we have about 40 chicks half of which are 9 weeks old and fully feathered. As you might have guessed, it’s is getting a wee bit crowded in the 5×5 brooder.
We were planning to move and reuse one of the existing sheds as the chicken coop.
It is a spacious 8x10x7. A real step up from my last coop of 4x4x4. I learned my lesson, the coop must be accessible without hunching over. No matter what you think, at some point you will have to get into the coop and working while hunched over is no fun.
We had thought we might drag the shed to a new location near the barn, but when Mr. Awesome stripped the siding off to make it lighter, he found the framing to be mostly rotted. The roof is in decent shape though. So, we decided to build a new frame with the intention of somehow using the existing roof.
Mr. Awesome spent all day Friday, siting the chicken coop directly across from the barn and leveling the spot. Most (including us) would call our property mostly flat (as in flat relative to all the hill/mountains in the area), but in reality, it is not at all flat, which is pretty, but apparently a pain to build on. The location of the coop is very near to the old, I thought unproductive, orchard. Which would be good for shade and protection from hawks, but I learned this weekend, courtesy of a wickedly windy storm, we have at least one very productive pear tree, and several less productive apple trees. Which makes the future coop’s location even better. Guess who will be canning pears this year?
The new 8×10 foundation is made with pressure treated 2×8, set on salvaged concrete block. We didn’t pour footers because someday, we hope to drag the structure onto a trailer and tow it around the property. We are likely dreaming and the reality will be more like we’ll jack the coop up after it sinks 5 inches and put in proper footers. I’m not pessimistic, I know our tendencies.
Building the foundation took far too long in the heat. Mostly because we didn’t get started until late in the day thanks to watching the Tour deFrance. (First day in the Pyrenees, it’s starting to get interesting!) The foundation looks sturdy though, if things don’t go according to plan, maybe we can live in the chicken coop? We could be the first to audition for Extreme Tiny House. Zack Giffin, are you listening?
Right, so we went out with friends after building the foundation, and while talking to said friends about how we planned to use the roof from the shed on the new building, I realized just how half-baked that idea was. These super-supportive friends were all on-board to help, never said it was a crazy idea, but that didn’t make it any less absurd. Of course, I said nothing about my realization, no need to disrupt the merriment with such a trivial issue. Luckily, I still remembered my epiphany in the morning and managed to sell the idea of a completely new simple metal roof to Mr. Awesome. I thought for sure he would balk at the suggestion given the way he hates how I change the plans all the time (probably part of the reason I didn’t mention it earlier). I suggested that the wood planking on the roof of the shed was just too nice for the chicken coop, that it needed to be used to make some type for our house and that I really wanted a metal roof so that I could catch the rain water for the chickens….. and he agreed. Wahoo!
So after we decided that we’re building a new roof, we got busy. We attached the tongue and groove plywood floor and painted it with water-proofing. We applied 3 coats of Bher Weatherproofing Wood Finish to seal the wood because we had some on hand. Then Mr. Awesome began framing the walls and I spent the rest of the day pulling nails from the old shed siding and pressure washing the windows salvaged from the back porch. Again, in the heat. How am I going to be a farmer if I can’t take the heat?
The bottom two courses of siding were rotten when they were removed. Hopefully there’s enough left to cover the new coop after we do all the window and door cut-outs. Oh yes, 3 windows, a people door, a poop tray, and egg doors. This is turning into a fancy coop. Maybe I need a chandelier too? I’m pretty sure the one in the photo below is from Pottery Barn. I found it on ThisOldHouse in 10 ways to build a better chicken coop.
In Part 2 of the chicken coop saga, Mr. Awesome raises the walls and maybe the roof (I can not predict the future). However, I am assured that the chickens will be moving house before the week’s end. Sadly, the only pottery my chickens will be seeing is the eventual stew pot.