Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Is that coop built yet?

This is a question I'm hearing more frequently lately.

We made some progress on the chicken coop over the weekend. Jim has fully sided both the right and left walls. It's beautiful. I'm a little embarrassed at the way this thing has taken on the 'fanciest chicken coop ever' quality. I read frequently all the clever and imaginative ways people have found to gather, scrounge and recycle materials to make the perfect home for their girls. That's not this. Outside of the used windows I found, anyway. Oh well. It is our first major project here on our new farm and we are learning from it. My girls will be, ahem, very comfortable.

Jim is still going to put cedar trim around both the windows and will cut a 12"x 12" chicken door in the lower right-hand side of this wall:

Roxy, our pup, is always on hand to supervise.

There is still the small issue of this gate:
It needs to be moved. Or a new one needs to go in closer to the coop. See the coop way in the distance? Our house is over there, too. This means that to get to the coop currently, one either climbs through the electric fence (it's not turned on right now) or walks the length of the fence to this gate, goes through the gate, and walks all the way back to the coop. In the summer, this won't be a big deal, really, but in the winter, when it's dark and cold and I'm lugging water, it will become un-fun. Unfortunately, I may be making this walk or climbing through the fence wires for quite some time, as the quote I just received from a fencer priced us at almost $800 to rewire, reground and install a new gate. Who knew electric fencing could be so complicated. Not me, that's for sure.

This evening, Jim came home from work a bit early and got the tar paper up on the back wall and got a good start on the siding. Every day, we're getting a little bit done and before we know it...it'll be time to work on the run! :-)

The warmer weather we're having is helping a lot. Somehow, having your fingers and hands frozen after 10 minutes of being outside is not conducive to quick coop building, so let's hope the warmer days are here to stay.

It was so sunny and warm yesterday that the chicks got to go outside for the first time. My son and I loaded them all up in a big Rubbermaid container and off they went...for a field trip to the driveway - woo hoo - much better than the field trip to the kiddy pool in the family room!! I put up a small dog play yard to contain them and out they came. My niece, Julia, insisted on getting in the pen with them. She loves my chicks as much as I do:

Roxy, my pup, spent most of the time looking over Julia's shoulder. I think she would have gone into the pen, too, if she'd been invited:

Here's a bird's eye view of being outside, there's not much baby chick-ness left in THOSE faces, is there?:

10 comments:

  1. Your hen house and your young hens (they are really too big for me to call them chicks anymore)are beautiful! I could use your excellent house building talents around here. How many square feet is the hen house floor? Where is the cable TV going to fit? Of course, I am just kidding, although I have heard that chickens lay better if they have soothing music to listen to. Maybe a stereo system is a good idea...

    Seriously, it looks great. Thanks for the update. Also, thanks for your kind words of comfort on my recent blog posts. I left you a few comments there too.

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  2. I am so excited to find your blog... I saw your comment on NW Nature Nut and clicked over...you are just a bit farther along on the "farm" path than I. I hope to be there some day. I am thinking about chickens...figuring out if I can have them without giving up gardening space...Nice to meet another Portlander.

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  3. I have severe coop envy, its a beauty.

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  4. Hi jen...the coop will be 10'x8' ...that's a pretty good ratio of chicken to sq. footage, don't you think? According to what I've read, if each chicken had a generous 4 sq. ft to themselves, I could house up to 20 chickens in there! Although I couldn't imagine having an additional 8 babies at this point! Hmmm...instead of the stereo system, could I just sing to them every day? (Oh, my poor neighbors!!)

    Hi jean ann! I'm so glad you said 'hi'. I love meeting fellow farm girls in my area. Most of my new pals are scattered all across the country and far too far away to ever visit! :-) You should definitely have chickens - you won't regret it. I'm truly having the time of my life. I'll be sure to check out your blog today!

    Hi sugarcreekstuff, thanks...I'm really excited to get it finished. Hard to believe, but I think our biggest challenge is going to be building the FORT KNOX of chicken runs. Did I ever tell you that there's a lady over the hill from us who rehabilitates racoons and then releases them? Ugh.

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  5. Your coop is coming along great! The chicks have grown so fast...

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  6. Yea, I love chick field trips! Another chance to imprint that you are the lead hen and they should all run to you.
    Your chicken coop makes me smile. I have the Beverely Hillbilly style. It's a 6 x10 dog run that I've retrofitted with hardware cloth to keep the critters out and then fitted with a roof and walls. I never have figured out why they call it hardware "cloth"---its the hardest stuff to get through with snips, but it will make a Fort Knox out of anything. I have yet to lose one chicken at night to anything.
    Wish I could help you on a critter proof chicken run. Coons, skunks, and opossums are night animals, but what about weasels? Do y'all have those? We have very brave coyotes here that will come up during the day, but the dogs keep them away.

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  7. That's a great idea to put the chicks in the dog pen. I have one of those around here. My hubby keeps asking when the chicks go out:)
    The coop is very pretty. Whoever said chicken had to be barnyard animals? You will always enjoy owning your hens because you made such a lovely place for them....and you.

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  8. What a fun trip for the chicks! I love big rubbermaid containers. And the coop is beautiful.

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  9. The coop looks fantastic!! I'm behind on my posts!! I hope you resolve the gate dilemma with a low cost solution. Roxy looks lovely as usual!

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