Monday 1 August 2016

There are chickens in the hen house! Part 2

  So! Today I only got five eggs. Hmm! What's up with that! Fresh water, lots of food, they get to run around all day, only coming home when they want to or if they see me  out side, then it's a chicken stampede cause they think I have a tasty morsel for them. Usually I do, and this behavior works in my favour when I want them in the pen earlier than usual, which is dusk. 
Checking out my house!
 Now , I will never ever profess to being handy with tools, but apparently over the years I have learned something. My first thoughts were to have someone build me a coop. I scoured through books from the library, checked out Pinterest and Google for the ideal hen house plans. Then I decided I would buy one and spent oodles of time on Kijiji and Facebook yard sale sites. Even when I was driving I kept an eye out for suitable chicken accommodations for sale. With all this searching I kept coming back to some plans  found in the  books I had checked out from the library.
  I knew I wanted a raised coop with the run extending under the house so the hens could have some shelter from the elements and still stay outside. The run had to covered and the wire buried a foot to keep predators out. There was lots of evidence of attempted break ins the first few weeks of residence. After spending the Winter and early Spring searching, I decided to build one myself.
  I started with the plans I really liked, from the book and proceeded to make significant design changes. OK, yes, a buddy did help framing up the house, and my brother did help with the run, but closing in the coop and run and building the doors, window and gangplank was all me!!  Hardware cloth (it is sturdier than chicken wire) was my choice for the run. The cloth covers the top of the run to prevent aerial attacks and is buried about a foot to deter subterranean excursions. The floor is plywood. The walls and roof are OSB, because, after all it is a chicken coop, with asphalt shingles on the roof and wooden shakes to go on the walls and a couple of vents for air flow. The coop needs to be airy for the Summer and draft free for Winter habitation. Inside are two roosts and three nest boxes. The actual house measures 8 by 6 feet. Plenty of room for seven hens at 4 to 5 square feet per lady.
 All said and done it cost me about three hundred buck, buck, bacaaaahs!!! (in chicken lingo), for the materials. Labour was free. Thanks guys!  A lot less than buying one or paying a real carpenter (no slight intended guys!). I think it 's pretty nifty and should serve the girls and their successors well for years to come.
  And all from looking at a book on raising chickens from the library!!
Tim Jackson
Community Engagement Assistant:
Annapolis Valley Regional Library,
Small Scale Chicken Farmer
and Rough Carpenter (Retired)

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