Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chicken Coop Tour

 I've had a couple people ask me about our chicken coop so, today I thought I'd give you all a little tour. Big Mama says "Welcome!"

Our coop was actually a gift from my sweet friend Emily. After about a year of talking my husband into letting me get chickens, he finally got on board, but as we looked into coop designs, we realized that this could be expensive. There are so many super cute chicken coops out there, but most of the new ones run anywhere from $350-$700. They're fantastic, but it's a bit spendy upfront.

So, I decided to throw it out there to the Facebook world that I was looking to buy a used coop, hoping that someone had one they'd like to sell me. Moments later, Emily popped up with one that we could have. Wow, what a fun blessing!

After we got the coop, the kids were super excited to get to work on it and as you can see from Paisley's face below, she was really wanting her chickens NOW.
The first things we did (we as in my wonderful husband, let's just get that straight), were add nesting boxes and linoleum for the floor. The nesting boxes were built from scrap wood and then we painted them---we, as in husband.... credit goes where credit is due. He's worked his tail off for me. Love you, hun.
 The next thing we did is paint the outside. This time the "we" is my Mom and I. We had the best time painting this coop together.
 The trim was painted white and then after that, we painted the rest of it a really nice barn red color. I've always had a BIG thing for barns and until we live in the country someday with a real barn, this satisfies that barn loving spot in my heart.

The next thing we added is a little door and a ramp to let the chickens out into their run. Judah tested it out for his chicks.
Of course, the coop needed a couple roosts so, two of those went in as well. You'll notice in the picture below that the nesting boxes are boarded up. This is so the chicks wouldn't get in the habit of sleeping in them, and pooping in them. For the first couple months, we kept them closed up and just recently we opened them. Soon they'll start to lay and they're really good about perching on the roosts every night so, I'm not worried about them sleeping in the nesting boxes now.
For the run, we'd considered building our own, but after a bit or research, we decided on a chain link dog run. This one is 10 feet long. We covered the top of it with chicken wire to keep out animals or an escaping chicken. Below, Eliza was testing out the run for us. Don't worry, the chickens hadn't been in there yet. 
One thing about the chain link run that I didn't anticipate is that the chicks could stick there heads through the holes, to eat the grass on the outside. The first time we left them in there, I left the house for just a few hours and while I was gone, something came into our yard (an Eagle, I suspect) and partially pulled one through the chain link and killed it. It was awful.
After that, we immediately wrapped the first couple feet up from the ground with 1/4 inch wire. We actually dug this wire into the ground a few inches, to have it extra secure and since then, we haven't had a problem. The chain link works great, but I'd highly recommend adding this smaller wire around the base as well. 
Right now, we use wood shavings inside the coop for bedding and whenever I clean it out, I add a bunch of fresh lavender, rosemary and mint to the new bedding.
 These herbs are super easy to grow and they're great in the coop. They have really helped it not stink and they seem to be repelling flies and bugs as well.
 The next thing I need to do is get a few fake eggs from the Country Store to put in the nesting boxes. Apparently that'll help show them where they're supposed to lay. Right now, they're about 15 weeks old so, in the next month or two, we should start getting eggs! Yahoo!
So here is our little coop. Hope you enjoyed the tour!
In case you're thinking about getting chickens, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite backyard chicken websites. My friend Barb shared these with me and I swear you could learn pretty much anything you need to know from them.

The Chicken Chick- She's my favorite.
Backyard Chickens- Another great source of information.

Angela

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