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.
The very first of many frame sections cut and ready to assemble. All necessary tools and supplies accounted for.
Once all four walls of the 8′ x 12′ coop were assembled individually, it was time to stain. A lot.
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.
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.
Next come the sloped roof rafters (for rain and snow runoff) and purlins.
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.
Finally time to attach the steel roof.
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.
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.
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.