After several years of putting it off for one excuse or another, we finally got some chickens. I have a friend who offered me her grown hens that are laying eggs now (definitely a no brainer) :) So we had to figure out arrangements for them fast since she needed her coop for her new chicks. Luckily, I have a handy Cameron who could build a coop for our new chickens. He made it over 2 days which was super fast and we were crazily getting everything ready for the hens. The original plan was to have a mobile coop so they could forage but after we finished, Cameron and I could barely lift it into place so it got a permanent spot behind our garden.
The plans for the A Frame coop were from ana-white.com but we modified it a bit. Cam used fence posts for the roof, hardward mesh (as recommended since we live in an area with lots of raccoons), and we put doors only on one side (hers had 4 doors on the top). We tried to use a bunch of scrap wood we had on hand to keep down the cost.
Here is a view of the inside. As you can see it's sitting on cinder blocks because of the slope. I had those totally covered up with dirt so the chickens wouldn't hurt themselves but after our recent 3 days of pouring rain it all washed out. I'll have to figure something out there. The floor is dirt which is nice because I just sweep their bedding from the nesting boxes on the ground. Theoretically it should all just compost down. And maybe I'll get to use some for fertilizer. The stick across is for roosting.
Here is their nesting area. Cam cut some old buckets we had to make a designated place for them to lay. We just barely got some peel and stick tiles to put on the floor to make for easier cleaning but haven't got them in there yet.
We lock each door with a carabiner clip. This also is suppose to help keep racoons out (I heard they can figure out lots of simple locks?!)
I still feel like I don't know as much as I should about the chickens (normally I would read every book from the library first) but diving right into it has been good for me. We have 4 chickens and have averaged about 2 eggs a day.
This weekend I convinced Cam to build a little mobile run for the hens. I wish I could let them free range but I know my neighbors wouldn't have it. We also have a neighbor behind us with a pit bull that runs loose occasionally. The mobile run hopefully will be a good alternative so they can eat some bugs and weeds at least. It still is going to get some wheels on one side so I can roll it around the yard but it's just about done.