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I’m building a chicken coop.

Granted, Joanna is less than thrilled with my latest project, but I have a feeling she’ll come around.  Her icy demeanor seems to be melting a little bit already, thanks to new neighbors that moved in down the lane.  You see, in a very short time, they’ve amassed a wonderful little mini farm complete with over a dozen chickens, several turkeys, and their very own miniature donkey named Ruth.

The boy loves to visit.  So do I.  So does Joanna.  How could she object to just a few of her own hens in comparison?

I’m sure we’ll have lots to share with you as we embark on our livestock adventure.  Especially since like most things we have no idea what we’re doing.  For now I thought I’d show you the coop build thus far.

Just don’t look too closely.  I know as much about carpentry as I do animal husbandry.  (read: zilch).

Here’s the result from one of our many lumber trips.  The foreman approves.

As you can see, that dude is a stickler for safety gear.

1Lumber

 

The very first of many frame sections cut and ready to assemble.  All necessary tools and supplies accounted for.

 

2AssemblyBegins

 

Once all four walls of the 8′ x 12′ coop were assembled individually, it was time to stain.  A lot.

 

3Staining

 

Eight cinder block footers were dug for protection from ground moisture and the walls were attached to each other.  It’s finally starting to look like something.

 

4Frame

 

I made sure to attach the frame to the buried cinder blocks, hoping it will help prevent a gust of wind from lifting the thing off the ground.  I don’t want my chicks pecking down a yellow brick road.

5Anchor

 

 Next come the sloped roof rafters (for rain and snow runoff) and purlins.

 

6Rafters

 

This thing is starting to take shape.  The upper 4’x8′ section on the right will be enclosed and that’s where they’ll roost, sleep, and (hopefully) lay.  The rest of the structure is enclosed with hardware mesh to protect them from predators.  They’ll have constant access to that mesh-protected 8’x12′ run area to do their chicken things.  For at least a few hours each day they’ll free range outside the coop and run and play in our fenced garden area, hopefully eating lots of weeds and ticks.

 

7Purlins

 

Finally time to attach the steel roof.

 

8UnderRoof

 

9Roof

 

Here’s that (freaking expensive) hardware mesh I mentioned.  It’s made of half inch welded wire openings so a tiny, hungry raccoon fist can’t fit through.  I dug a trench around the perimeter and buried the netting.  This will prevent any access from diggers, and also help to anchor the coop in a wind storm.

 

10Trench

 

And when I got tired of digging and hammering in heavy duty staples for the poultry netting, I decided to hang one plywood wall of the elevated, enclosed coop.

 

11Wall

 

That’s it for now.  Hopefully we can finish her up and have occupants in the next two weeks.

Stay tuned for the completion, the improvements I’ve totally over-engineered for rain water collection drinkers, automatic feeders, and my cost breakdown of how it will only take a mere 12.5 years of consuming our own backyard organic eggs priced at $3.50 per dozen for us to break even on this monstrosity.

Update: Here’s a tour of the finished coop!

Question of the Day: What’s the most creative way you can convince Joanna how lucky she is to be the wife of a Gentleman Farmer?  Such is her life.

 –Mike

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7 Comments

  1. You’ve done a great job on this! Maybe when we visit in the future we can purchase a couple of those $75 eggs. Joanna is one lucky lady to be married to such a talented carpenter and chicken rancher.

  2. Wow, you don’t mess around! Very cool. Organic free range eggs cost closer to $6 in these here parts I think, so looky looky, I just helped your ROI! I’m jealous that you’ll get to choose chicken names. I’d name one The Colonel for sure.
    Ann recently posted…Queen bee for a day – Cooking with royal jellyMy Profile

    • I’ve been bouncing chicken names off Joanna for awhile. Mostly to annoy her since all of my naming themes are grossly inappropriate and not to be shared on her family-friendly blog.

      Since the boy is a little too young to do it himself, I think we’re leaning towards naming them after each of his favorite book characters: Mutley, Tootsie, Moose, Knuffle, The Gruffalo, etc.

  3. As always, great work! Do you guys get many windstorms there? There is a bit of fun convenience to have backyard eggs!
    Aly recently posted…Chicken with Pasta, Roasted Peppers, and RicottaMy Profile

    • No, nothing serious or anything regularly. However the highest part of the sloped roof opens to the west, where we get our wind from. Just trying to cover our bases.

    • Ya know, the wind was crazy at our last house. Nobody used trash cans because they tended to blow away. Everybody just bagged it and set it out on trash day.

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