Thursday, March 20, 2008

The scoop on the coop

I've received a number of kind inquiries asking how my chicken coop is coming along.'s coming along!

Since I'm relying on the great talent, yet limited time, of my sweet and busy husband, we have only after work and on weekends to get this baby built. Since there are quite a few other things going on, in addition to evening appointments and weekend visitors, we aren't nearly as far along as we'd like to be.

That's ok, though. The girls are only two weeks old. And even though another chick learned how to fly out of the brooder and perch onto the side of the box today (one of my Barred Rock girls) while I was sitting with them, they can't go outside until they're fully feathered anyway - which won't be until they're five or six weeks old. Looks like my top priority is going to be securing screening to the top of the brooder box!

But back to the chicken coop. We're also stuck on the windows. I'd like to have two, one on the north side and one on the south, for good cross ventilation. However, we haven't been able to find any used 2'x2' or 2'x3' windows anywhere. This is a problem. We have tried Craigslist, Freecycle, phoning an old contractor, and asking at our local hardware store - all with no luck. In desperation, we've even looked at Home Depot and Lowe's. While they do have windows in this size, they're too fancy and they're white. I don't want white. I also don't really want new. I had been hoping to find a couple of windows that somebody else wasn't using anymore, but it's just not going to be that easy, apparently.

We do have the entire framing of the walls finished. Here are the two sides and the rear wall all laid out and ready to be attached to the floor:

This picture makes me seasick (don't worry, we didn't nail it this way):

Here I am doing what I do best during our joint construction projects... standing still and holding something - in this case the front wall:

Jim was so pleased when all the walls fit together so beautifully!

So that's where we are...still a long way to go, but off to a wonderful start!

Hopefully I'll be able to find some windows tomorrow. We are hoping to make great progress on the coop this weekend, but without the windows, we won't be able to get far.

Anybody have any plans on how to build a chicken run? :-)

If you get a chance, pop over to the delightful new blog, Sunny Side Up. My new blogging friend, Eve, has a funny post today about her pup, Daisy Lu, watching one of my chick movies!


  1. Damn, that is going to be one sweet coop!

    How to build a chicken run:

    Go to the hardware store and buy a crapload (technical measurement) of garden fencing and chicken wire, and some metal or wooden fence posts.

    Go home and throw the posts on the ground near where you want them to be.

    Get husband and sons to dig a big ol' trench around the perimeter of where the run will be, and get them to sink or pound in the fence posts.

    Put up the garden fence all around the perimeter, attaching it to the posts, and put up the chicken wire around the bottom of that, burying it in the trench.

    If you've got hawks or high flying chickens, put up some deer netting or something similar over the run.

    Put a couple of roosts in the yard so your chickies have something to do.

    Oh yeah, put a gate or a door in there someplace, so you can get into the run without climbing through the coop.


  2. It is going to be beautiful for the biddies:)
    I have to help hubby build his woodshed this weekend since I took over his pheasant coop gone woodshed for my hens. I will be doing a lot of standing and holding. I am practically an expert. You don't look so bad at it yourself.

  3. Meg's comment cracked me up (thank you Meg, I needed that tonight) and made me laugh out loud, but she's right. That's pretty much how it's done. My hen house is completely surrounded by wire fencing and chicken wire 6 feet high and covered on the top with chicken wire too. Keeps out the predators that way. Yes, there is a gate that allows me to enter and take care of them. The hens have lots of room inside the fenced in yard to run, fly, scratch, take dust baths etc. I even put a plastic chair in there for me to sit and just "be" with my girls. My friends think I am a little nuts, but I find watching and visiting with my chickens to be soothing.

    I didn't use actual windows in my hen house. I just cut ventilation holes in the plywood near the top of the walls and attached metal hinges to the plywood cut outs to close the "windows" (like shutters) at night in the winter. The window holes are covered with 1/4 inch grid metal hardware cloth on the inside of the house (stapled in place) to keep out predators and keep in the chickens. Not beautiful, but very functional for ventilation and light.

    Your hen house will be much nicer than mine!

  4. Looks like you're of to a great start Danni! I wish I could be more helpful, but this is a project that I can only dream about at this point. My best friend however is a dairy farmer and has chickens and a coop, any tips I get from her along the way I can also pass on to you. I've always liked the idea of having Guinea Hens!!! I guess it's the rebel in me!! I wonder if you can eat their eggs?????
    Thanks for mentioning me yesterday! "On the way to Critter Farm" has become a part of my everyday!!! ;-)

  5. Dude! That is gonna be one nice chicken house! They are gonna love it in there. Do you guys have any salvage yards that you can look for windows at? Or a Habitat Homeworks store?

  6. chickens and dogs and videos - oh my! It is looking good so far! Do you have a habitat for humanity "re-store" in FG or Hillsboro? Just a thought on another place to look. Thanks for the update - it is going to be a fine chicken house indeed!

  7. Looks good!
    You might want to check around for a local salvage store. But I don't know.
    We didn't use real windows in our henhouse, because of expense, as well as the necessity to retrofit the windows with wire mesh afterwards, because chickens will destroy regular screening with time.

    I'm very happy with our window, though. It's basically a cut-out opening with wire mesh stapled on.

    And then for cold or wet weather we attached a piece of plexi-glass with 4-wood 'shims' to hold it over the opening, and we can completely remove the plexiglass if we want to.

    The hens still have lots of sunlight, but also have weather protection, too. And it cost us less than $5.00 to make.

  8. Oh husband laughed so loud when he read your comment. Great instructions! I love that you're putting them all (husband and sons) to work! As it should be! :-) What kind of door did you put in your run that was as solid and predator-proof as the rest of the run?

    Hi goatgirl - let's keep our fingers crossed for some dry (and warmer) weather this weekend for our building duties! It was SNOWING at our house this morning. Brrrrr!

    Hi farmer jen - Isn't Meg a crack-up? :-) I'm still stressing about the run though...I think we just need to get finished with the coop and then tackle the's like with each new thing that we've never done before, it seems harder until we actually do it. At least I hope that's the case. I'll ask you the same question I asked Meg, what kind of door did you put into your run that is as secure and predator-proof as the run itself?

    Hi Eve, I've been wondering why people raise guinea hens - I read somewhere that they're not very smart and I wasn't sure, either, whether their eggs are edible. Let me know what you find out! As well as any chicken tips from your friend!

    Hi frugal mom - yes, I managed to find both a Habitat for Humanity ReStore and a Rebuilding Center (for used materials) - thank you!

    Hi in-between - see above! :-) I managed to find two, used, matching windows at the Rebuilding Center today - yay!

    Hi twinville, you make it all sound so simple...I *always* make things more complicated than they need to be. Windows for security and light and ventilation...of course, your way makes much more sense! And is definitely cheaper, too!!! :-)

  9. Danni, I'm glad you guys found my instructions amusing :-P

    As for the door, we made a simple frame with some scrap wood, stapled chicken wire to it, and attached it to the side of the coop. To close it, since we have metal posts in the chickens' run, we just put a nail sticking out the side, and we latch it behind the pole. We left a couple extra inches of chicken wire hanging from the bottom, so it sweeps the ground and hopefully keeps animals from getting under. You could also sink some stones or bricks at the threshold to keep things from digging.

    You can see a pretty good picture of it here. The only thing that's not great about it is that we had to make the door short to fit in the space we had against the coop and the garden on the other side, so you've got to duck to get in. Not a big deal, and since you guys are building a people-sized coop you can add a people-sized door.

  10. Your coop is coming along great! I have no advice for you on a chicken run. From Meg though it sounds pretty easy!

  11. We have a little moveable coop, like said before, and in the summer, the run is moveable, too. Just a little chicken fench to pull around....
    Nice muck boots, btw. ;-) Very farmer-ish. Horseback riders wear muck boots...yes, I have muck boots, Brit, haha, you fit right in.

  12. and her Mom said,
    Great building so far. If you really get stuck on windows, let me know. I'm sure after all the windows we've been tearing out, we would have some that would be the right size.

  13. Looks like it's going to be pretty big. How many hens are you planning on having? What a beautiful view those chicks are going to have. Be mindful of the gossip in the hen house though!!


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