Tuesday, December 23, 2008

23. Coop in the Snow!

Well, no doubt about it now... Winter is here!
The snow beat the roof -at least it does insulate! So much for a finished coop in three months, but the chickens are happy and snug inside.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

22. Refashioning the Inside.

This past Sunday we set to work on the inside of the coop -putting in insulation and plywood, and a much needed new roost. Since it gets dark so early now, the chickens came looking for bed at 4:30pm, which didn't give us time to finish it all... So, back to cooping-it next weekend too!

It went from this:
To this:
Nice and toasty!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

21. Final Stretch for Real!

With temps getting down to 25° this week and winter around the corner, the insulation has taken preference over the roof (which is real close to getting shingles!).

Yesterday was rainy, rainy, rainy and no major work was done on the coop. Today will be a race against time to get the supplies out from the garage (finally!) and onto the interior walls.
We intend on repositioning the nesting boxes and make one long roost across the back of the coop. The hens have been sizing up each other all week and the hierarchy of the pecking order would be easier to settle if there was just one length to sit on rather than the two of different heights that we have now. (That is one of the Black Stars in the box below).
Also, since we now have 17 birds rather than the ten we built the roosts for, they need some more space!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

20. What's New?

It has been super busy getting everyone ready for school, into school, home from school, getting homework completed, meals bought, prepared, cooked and cleaned up afterwards, house and dogs sustained, etc. etc. etc. We have slacked off a bit due to the major coop components being mostly finished... But here is an update! (finally!)

The exterior walls have been sided (aside from three on the back due to no more supplies!!), insulation has been put in the ceiling and most of the top vents, heavy gauge plastic sheeting hangs over the windows (except for the one over a sitting platform, they like to look out!) and a double layer of shavings covers the floor. Yup! It is time for winter!
While we still need to cut the excess roof off the sides and shingle it, there is most certainly a coop on our property! And, best of all, it holds laying chickens!!!!!
The blue/greens on top are from the Araucana chicks (also known as easter eggers), the bottom are from the white Cochins, Jersey Giants and possibly one of the Black Stars... Haven't caught them laying for sure just yet!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

19. Siding...Going...Up...

S..l..o..w..l..y the siding is going up. Time, energy and efforts are waning, but when we step back and see how far we have come, it is amazing, isn't it??

While Dad/Builder struggles with the table saw and the ship lap siding in the under-deck makeshift work space, I have been thinking about the fenced in run attached to the coop. I strung up yarn to tree branches and dug a few holes, but so far the flock is still completely free ranging. I romanticize the winter routine of slogging through the snow in big man muck boots and a work hat while bringing the birds their feed and water, but I doubt it will remain very much fun after the first week!

On a side note, the neighbors who we jointly ordered our chicks with had a surprise gift from one of their hens -an egg!! Wow!
At 15 weeks old I think that is very early, but I quickly put in a nesting area just in case any of the girls get in the mood... We shall see!

There is a golf ball in the nest used as a prop to give the girls the right idea. Who knows? It has worked for some people... We will certainly post any new egg info as soon as we can!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

18. Summer slump.

Builder/Teacher/Dad skipped out for the month of June and went to Alaska, but the work for school that he does over the summer did not go away. So the past week he has been busy with non-coop related projects.

In the meantime, I put together a little window sill ledge and a corner roost. While the roost has its faults (the corner idea was not so great and it is best for happy bird co-habitation to have them all on one post rather than two), what I slapped together does give them a temporary place to sit at night.

Here is the ledge:

And the roost:

Eventually the coop will have an inner-vestibule area, but this step is a loooooong way off. First comes the rest of the siding, cutting the excess roof and end boards, and building the long planned enclosed run.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

17. Side One: Just About Done!

The most complicated side of the coop is pretty close to finished! The bottom siding boards will need to be cut off, but we'll do that when all the sides are done...

Is sure is hard to get anything done with inquisitive birds around...
"Whatcha got there? Whatcha doin?"

Dotte (Garnet) isn't moving anytime soon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

16. Siding-it!

We made it this far, can't turn back now...
The siding is going up thanks to meticulous measuring from the Alaskan Adventurer (aka Dad). As usual, while he works Lily the pug stands guard.

OK, maybe sleeps guard is more like it.
Either way, she is there... one of the gals.

And speaking of gals, we are fairly certain we heard a rooster crowing at 6am these past two days... Fess up, Ladies.
Which one of you hens is the Roo??
Click below to listen to his baby-crowing, caught on a sneaking coop video!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

15. It's All in the Details!

We were very busy the week before last that I never had a minute to post. We were intending to leave for a week's vacation in California, but the coop was not yet finished!

After a 13 hour race to the very last second, we got the chickens inside at dusk. The final hardware cloth attachments to the ground corners was done with a headlamp and fierce determination.

Though the coop still needs siding, roof ends trimmed and backfill to cover up the hardware cloth on the ground, the girls were safe and sound within their castle for six days and nights!
Whoooo hoooo!
Above is the chicken hatch.
We were fearful of raccoons outsmarting us, so not only did we attach a dead bolt, we put a D ring on the end for extra security.

This is the super dutch-door! Again, D clipped at the handle latch.

And, finally, the sweep-hatch.
This is dead bolted as well, though because of the flashing it is quite stiff to open and we opted not to hunt around the house for another D clip. We will most likely add one if it loosens up after regular use.

Maybe we are just neurotic about raccoons, but after perusing the web for predator proof latches, I read enough stories to warrant the concern.
A blurry peek inside the coop!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

14. Windows Are In!!

The Grizzly Man survived his Alaskan trek and came back with renewed energy to tackle the coop!

Yesterday we put in the windows and today was a full day of measuring, cutting and priming the trim. If all goes well tomorrow, the doors and coop hatches will both be done!

The ladies are still in their summer residence, awaiting the coop grand opening, but we have let them out a little bit to peruse the grounds - they are awesome!

Friday, June 27, 2008

13. The Great Outdoors.

The summer coop needed to move a little farther farther from the house in order to provide the girls with fresh grass and lessen the wear and tear on the earth. Every few days I move the cumbersome contraption.

The Sisters and Sparrow are very difficult to tell apart now that they have their first full set of feathers in.

Which of them is below? (Me thinks Sister 1)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

12. Summer Residence

While Dad is away...

I had to take measures into my own hands since the builder is trekking in Alaska and the chicks -now more like chickens- are quickly outgrowing their kiddie pool indoor home.

I started with an old baby crib.

But the chicks squeezed out through the slats, so I attached the Macaw's seldom used outdoor cage turned on its side, creating a daytime pen.

I fixed 1/2" hardware cloth around the crib for protection.

So far the girls enjoy the sun, wind, grass, dirt and bugs very much!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

11. It's all in the details...

It is now June, if you can believe that... Our coop is AWESOME! But...not totally finished. The Dad is almost on his way to a month-long Alaskan backpacking excursion so there will be a hiatus in coop progress until July.

Below, he is working on the frame for the door and two hatches.

Aside from a small set back due to a Vizsla paw going through the glass pane of one of the coop windows (doggie is ok, but very in trouble), we are pretty much on track!

Most recently, the door has been tediously put together. Dad/designer/builder decided to make it a Dutch door, very cool!

My job, aside from coop/bird documenter and tool-getter/supply-hauler is now hinge-finder.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

10. The Home Stretch!

Amazing that the coop is more than an idea!
We started the weekend removing the rain covers and laying the roof planking.
Memorial weekend arrived with unbeatable weather which allowed for good cooping time. Even with all the work to do, we did manage to get together with friends and family, which was great, and they lent a hand with hammering and staple gunning!

Thank you very much!

Now, tar paper covers the roof and weather proof wrap covers the walls - we are close to completing the basic structure!

When my sister saw the coop, she didn't realize how close it was to the house, so I added a picture of them together.

While we intend to enclose a run for them connected to the coop itself, when we are outside we will let them out so they would have freedom to run the property (assuming our furry animal killing mutt has learned proper farm-dog behavior).

In the not so distant future, we could have lunch on the patio while the chickens are clucking, pecking and scratching about looking for grubs in the lawn - cool!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

9. Finishing the walls.

Finally, the rain has stopped.
The blueboard is almost all on, soon we will be ready to begin the roof!

Below is the back wall.
The long opening is the sweep hatch, which will get a fitted door, after the roof , after the shingles, after the hardware cloth, after the windows get put in, after the floorboards, etc....

Monday, May 19, 2008

8. Hellllloooooo Chickies!

I got the call at 9am this morning that the chicks had arrived!

I raced over to the local feed store to pick up chick starter and grit (I thought they were more likely to make it here tomorrow so I was not completely ready) and then stopped by the friends who put in the order for us.

After a little time spent figuring out which of the 50 or so fluffy baby creatures were the six Araucana and four Black Star chicks we ordered, chirping shoe box in hand and smiling, I made my way home.

Check out the two-day old Chicks!
(They are under a red heat lamp to keep them warm.)

Click here to find out more about the chicks!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

7. Cooping-it in the rain.

Rain. Rain, and more rain.
So, we tarped what we could and try to keep on target.

The coop is getting its walls up and now the dream seems closer to actually happening!

We have lots more work to do, but the stack of wood in the garage is receding nicely (might actually get the Jeep back in there soon!) and the project has not started world war three
... yet...
so all is good!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

6. Standing Tall!

Mother's Day consisted of an entire day out hammering, measuring and cutting wood (after a fantastic breakfast out on the deck). We have the walls all up, the door and windows framed, and both the chicken hatch and sweep hatch marked out. The chicks arrive next Tuesday!!!

While we still have lots more to work on, the structure standing tall is a remarkable thing. This past week there was much rain which hampered our progress.

The chicks will live inside for the first month or so and I am behind in getting their indoor space ready. Time to crank it up!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

5. Starting the walls.

Slowly the walls are being put together.
The frame on the ground is the back wall with a cutout hatch for easier coop clean up, and the front one is on top of the foundation with cutouts of our huge found windows and the chicken hatch.

It is less than a month before the chicks arrive!
Since they will have to live inside until they get fully feathered, we hopefully will have the coop and a fully enclosed run for them ready to go by the end of spring.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

4. The next step.

We found some fantastic green windows that we talked down to $15 (plus a dozen eggs when they eventually arrive).

The frames for them have been worked on all week and are almost done!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

3. The foundation is done!

After an ENTIRE day of leveling the cement blocks on our uneven ground, we have something to show!

Very long process that culminated in what you see here...

The foundation.
Ahhhh. bliss....

Sort of.
Tons more work to do,
but a start is a start.