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Kids and Cousin

Kids and Cousin

Monday, May 24, 2010

How to build a chicken coop.

Wednesday afternoon, Mom came home to spend a few days. The idea was for the two of us to celebrate my birthday by going out to lunch, to have some help with the kids while Dad and I finished the coop, and to celebrate Aeden's third birthday before she returned home on Saturday. Ah, the best of intentions.
What really happened...
Thursday morning, we got up early, and I took the Blake and Noah to school. I got back to the house and we had coffee in the apartment. Eventually we all got moving around 9 and started banging away on the coop to get as much progress made as possible before Dad and Jason went to their man-party, "we are going to shoot things, and eat meat, and grunt" (at least that's how I picture it).

Dad and I had decided that the best place to put the chickens was under the overhang that Dad had added to the barn to house the old Ford that we have been relocating form house to house for way to long now. There was enough extra roof to cover the nest boxes for the chickens, and the posts provided a great framework to start with. We began by laying fence posts on the ground to make a base. Dad had gotten the posts really cheap because they had been in the lumber yard too long in the heat and rain and warped a little. $ saver #1. We started as close to the truck tires as we could get in order to get the most space. After that we tacked chicken wire to the support posts that were already part of the carport. We put a 1" by 4" across the posts to support the boxes. To that, we added old cedar shelves. Mom and Dad had taken a closet out of the room that is now Blake's and we have a ton of cedar leftover. $ saver #2. Each board was just over 2 feet long and about 15 inches deep. They already had shelf brackets, so we just screwed them in. $ saver #3. We used wall pieces that were already tongue and groove cut, stacked 3 high, to make the back and screwed them into the existing posts as well. After adding the bottoms and back of the boxes we cut some of the wall pieces into 15 inch pieces and stacked them 3 high. We used small (half inch by 2 inch) pieces to brace the slats and make the sides of the boxes. We laid the same wall slats across the top and weighted them with cinder block to keep them in place, but we didn't want to fasten them in the event that we have to do a major cleaning/restructuring/ or anything else. Dad built a handy little door, (see pictures) out of whatever wood we had lying around from other projects. (I think he did have to use one 2 x 4 that he had bought for another project.) We leveled the door at the end of the coop. Finally we covered anything left open with chicken wire, Do it Best Imp/Fence 764000 Poultry Netting  rolls of it. 4 rolls altogether I think. We tacked it in with fasteners I must admit I don't know the name of. They look like big giant staples and you bang 'em in with a hammer. That chicken wire is the strangest stuff to work with. It looks straight on the roll but as soon as you open it, it starts to look like they serve vodka all day long at the chicken wire factory. You have to brace it and stretch it because it is hard to pull, and amazingly frail all at the same time. We used two more wall panels and added some more of that half inch by 2 inch with a nail gun for them to use as steps up to the nest boxes. I didn't think they would be able to get up there, but they can. We did a double check and triple check until we were convinced there was nowhere the ladies could escape (we were WRONG), and called it a day. Okay, we called it three days.

We had already started some of it last week, we took until 2:00 on Thursday, and worked on it all day Friday. No birthday lunch. (Mom and I ended up taking the kids and getting a BBQ dinner on Thursday because we were too tired to cook.) We did manage to squeeze in cooking cake and dinner for Aeden on Friday, but barely.

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