Wednesday, May 05, 2010

New Chicken Coop

The chickens I bought two months ago have gotten pretty big. Too big to keep in a bin in the house. They are still too small to put out with the big girls though so Sunday I finished building a new coop for them. I found a design on that was pretty easy to build. I scaled it down 25% to make the footprint 3'x3' and made several other modifications.

This smaller size made it impractical to have a ramp lead from the bottom level to the top so I put in a ladder instead. The birds can actually just jump from the ground up to the top level. It took a couple days for the birds to learn how to go up and down. I had to move one from the bottom back up to the top because it couldn't figure it out and it was starting to get dark.

I added a built in feed holder. It allows me to dump a bunch of feed in and forget about it for awhile. The lid is slanted so the birds don't sit up there and poop on it.

I had intended to add a pretty big run, but realized I didn't have enough chicken wire. Instead I built a small run that adds another 3'x3'. In total it is way bigger than the bin they were in. It will be easier to expand the run if I want. I just need more chicken wire. In the picture below you can see the older ladies coming over to check out the new birds for the first time.

At the back of the run I left a movable flap of chicken wire so I could get to the water bucket. It is held firm with two rocks.

In the larger coop I finally installed the waterer that is gravity fed from my rain barrels. The valve opens when the weight of the water in the dish is too light. With a 55 gallon barrel dedicated to this water source, I essentially don't have to worry about water for my chickens except for when the temperature is below freezing.

The new coop has another use. If I decide to get a rooster and raise chicks, I can use this additional coop to isolate a mother and her chicks. I imagine I'll have to make some improvements to it to make it cozier, but the hard work is done.