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Chicken Coop #1: Gathering tools and supplies

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Blog entry by fiddlebanshee posted 1521 days ago 1127 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Chicken Coop series Part 2: reciprocating saw fatigue »

The 7×8 lean-to shed is going to be delivered tonight. This is a simple but sturdy Amish built shed with a roof that is about 6’ at one side and 5’ at the other. We plan on having between 10 and 15 chickens to free range and rid our yard of ticks, since my husband has been afflicted with lyme disease. The structure does not have any windows or ventilation, nor any “chicken-furniture”, so I’ll have to modify it. This is my first big remodeling/woodworking project and I’m exited to start with it, finally.

These are the steps, I’ve already done, waiting for the arrival of the actual shed.
1. make some windows. First I made some out of pine, with 11×14 inch plexiglass. I hadn’t noticed that my SCMS was just a tad out of vertical (it cut at about half a degree bevel angle) so the first batch of windows were a bit out of whack.
pine window

On this picture you can see how much these windows are out of whack:
not plum

After asking the question here on LJ it was pointed out to me that there might have been a bevel cut involved and I found indeed that I had knocked the SCMS out of the vertical and it had half a degree of bevel. I made a second batch of 4 windows out of poplar that were much, much better. I also improved my use of the kreg pocket screw jigset, and added some glue to the joints, and now they are square, plum and rock solid. I still need to prime and paint them.
poplar window

Finally plum!:
finally plum!

2. the pine windows that are less than perfect I will use at the ventilation openings, they would be open for much of the year anyway and if I need to close them when it gets really cold, I can probably rig something up to make them close tight.

Next steps:
1. cut the holes in the siding (plywood and T1-11) with a recip saw (never used one, so this is going to be an adventure). This is for 12 ventilation holes (11×14 to fit in between the studs), and 4 windows. As well as a popdoor where the chickens can get out into the run.

2. install the shutters and windows. For the ventilation holes where I have no windows, I’ll just put a frame around the siding I cut out and attach that with hinges. They will be open for most of the year. The other eight will have the windows I made.

3. then I need to install a roosting area, with a poop board and nest boxes underneath. The nest boxes are going to be recycled above fridge kitchen cabinets with the doors removed. The poopboard is an old countertop that I got free from Craigslist with 3 old washingmachine pans on top for easy clean-out that I got for 6 bucks at restore. I have some old plywood that I will make into a ladder for the chickens to get up to the roosting area.

4. finally I’ll have to make some sort of a secure run that they can be in when we are not at home. But I’ll wrap my head around that one when I have the coop up and running.

5. since the roof of the shed has no overhang, I may have to construct some overhang, at the openings to avoid leakage. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. One thing at a time :)

I’ll keep posting progress here, for my own documentation and for whomever may be interested.

-- As if I needed another hobby!



6 comments so far

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 1566 days


#1 posted 1521 days ago

That was about the size of my coop when I had chickens. One of the things I did was to extend the roost to a about a foot of the floor and used strap hinges to pivot up to clean out from underneath the roost. I found that my chickens didn’t like going under the roost to the nest boxes so I hung them on the wall next to the roost this worked fine for me. You’ll enjoy the chickens in the yard and they will follow you around the yard like a mother hen. Your so right about them keeping down the ticks and bugs. Oh by the way, don’t keep anything on the floor mice can get under to nest. I had this problem when I first started and found them when I was cleaning out the coop. Can’t wait to see your new coop. Keep up the good work.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1389 posts in 2047 days


#2 posted 1521 days ago

how do you guys let your chickens free range without being petrified of predators? something once got in to my chicken tractor during the day and ran off with one and injured the other, and more recently there’s a hungry looking hawk snooping about.

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1389 posts in 2047 days


#3 posted 1521 days ago

oh yeah, good idea on the chickens :-) I think more people should have em. they’re totally fun :-)

View fiddlebanshee's profile

fiddlebanshee

129 posts in 1528 days


#4 posted 1521 days ago

We’ll see how bad the predator issue is. The lot is very wooded so I think hawks would have a hard time seeing the chickens from the air, and there is a lot of undergrowth for them to hide in. So I’m basically keeping my fingers crossed, lol. Most predators (other than hawks) prowl about at nightfall and during the night, at which time they’ll be securely locked up in their coop. I will make sure nothing gets in there. One thing that I learned at backyardchickens.com is to use hardware cloth and not chickenwire, as chickenwire can be easily ripped apart by raccoons and other critters.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1389 posts in 2047 days


#5 posted 1521 days ago

that was my first mistake… i reinforced it with wire fencing (much heavier gauge stuff) on top of a wooden lattice. yeah, chicken wire is only for keeping chickens inside.

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 1566 days


#6 posted 1521 days ago

I used tin around the bottom of my pen. I buried about 12” underground and about 30” above ground.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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