Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hen Coop Progress!

I was going to wait until it was all finished, but then the photos started piling, and I became impatient. So, here is the progress thus far on the chicken coop.

It all began with a really ugly shed/pit thing....
After analyzing our yard, it became clear that the best spot for the hen house was where the ugly pit/shed thing was. Oh, all those concrete block chunks, rotting wood, and THREE compost piles to be moved...Gross, smelly, unpredictable, and, oh, gross. But, this was the best location that could make the coop 1) abide by city rules regarding spacing away from neighbors and property lines, 2) give the girls sun and shade but yet not take up prime real estate in the garden, and 3) be close enough (yet far enough away) to the house to run an extension cord out to the girls if the cold weather ever made that necessary.

The shed area, post-demolition.
Ahh, the shed and one compost pile GONE. Note, there are still TWO on the right-hand side to be removed. WHY someone would build a compost pile and then build another one and another one is BEYOND ME. And yes, that's just the beginning of the big ol' pile of junk on the left-hand side there. That hasn't been dealt with yet, and I'm not looking forward to it. Lots of old nasty nails and rotty boards and all...

Area measured and flattened, it was time for the pillars/foundation.
Since we either have to sell this or take this with us when we move, a concrete foundation was not possible. Plus, I didn't want to mess with concrete, and I wanted to give the girls a raised house so it would stay dryer in the wintertime. So, I used these concrete foundation blocks. They worked REALLY well and they are butt-heavy, so I suspect no moving around.

After the four initial beams were all level and squared off, more went on!
I am using 2x3s instead of 2x4s because for some reason, this week saw a jump in lumber prices. I really didn't need 2x4s (it's a chicken coop, not a human dwelling), and the 2x3s were actually a LOT easier to work with.

Once all the beams were on, then the floor went on.
This posed a problem because most sheeting is 4'x8'... the hen house is 5x5'. Crud! So I bought 2 4'x8' sheets and had them cut to each produce a 2.5'x5' portion. So, the floor only has one seam. I can live with that. I am using the rest of the leftover sheeting (I bought another sheet just for good measure) for siding.

With the floor on, it was time to put in the linoleum squares.
Yes, you read that right. Flooring in a hen house. Color me looney, but it's actually part of a thought-out plan: EASE OF CLEANING. You can't train chickens where to relieve themselves. They may have favorite spots, but they WILL "go" in their coop. I wanted some material that would make poop removal easier and would not be as porous as wood. We have a FABULOUS recycling place here, and from them, for less than $10, I got linoleum squares. They worked like a dream. I only used about half the box, meaning I'll have leftovers for any shelves and whatnot that I construct IN the house. Really though, in the future, I would have gladly paid $10 to not have to scrub scrub scrub chicken poo. THIS IS WORTH IT. And, clean chickens= happy chicken and healthy chickens.

One wall up!
Ok, confession. That leaning board right there helping keep the wall up? I've ALWAYS wanted to do that. Ha! Note that the wall is cut out to a certain extend to support a window in that wall. The next wall is already leaning.

Four walls up!
I sort of cheated on the fourth wall because I did not want a baseboard beam running across the front door. I wanted to be able to sweep out the coop if I needed to, and I didn't need a board in the way on the floor. SO, the fourth wall went in last, and it was sort of just screwed in, rather than pre-constructed and then lifted into place.The top horizontal beam is also lower, that way there is ample room for a cute vent that will go in the apex of the roof.

Sheeting going on...
The sheeting has actually been my least favorite part of the process. SO annoying to have to cut and make pieces that will work. Plus, I'm really not wanting to buy more lumber, so I'm having to get creative. Note that the screen is in for the window on the side. Those two white things are the two doors. I got both for a total of $2 at the recycling place. Gotta love it.

Yesterday, it rained, so when I got home I dragged in, dried, and then painted the roof vent and the shutters. Here's the vent. Yes, it's not a perfect paint job. But, it's the first layer. I'll do touch ups.

And the shutters... these too need another layer. And the shutters are upside-down in this photo...

The half-finished roof....
I did not want to buy more sheeting, and I needed something long enough to make eves. So, I ended up using the super cheap cedar fencing. I didn't use cedar on any other part of the coop because cedar is bad for chickens, but really, it is cedar SHAVINGS that are bad, so I could have constructed the whole thing. But, I didn't want to take any chances, so, I limited myself to the roof, and the roof already has plastic sheeting underneath, so there's a pretty good chicken/cedar barrier. On top of this cedar planking, I'm going to put cedar shingles. I'm going to cut up a number of planks into various pieces in order to make the shingles (since they are butt expensive in the store). I'll put them on in a way to make sure that the roof is pretty darn watertight. But again, it's a hen house, so I'm being less careful here than I would on a human house. It will still end up being pretty darn weather-tight though.

The coop as it stands right now:
It rained yesterday, and the coop stayed relatively dry. The roof worked, but the sides aren't all the way built, so that causes issues on dryness! I am pretty darn happy with how it worked out. Yes, I'm using furring strips on the front of the coop... it will look like horizontal siding, and it will be cute. I had some extra strips, so I went with it. The doors will go in front, and then the vent above the doors. I have strops that I'm going to attach to the corners/edges for a finished look, but that's a ways off too.

Oh, and then, once the coop is built, then I get to build the pen for them. I really can't wait till this is all done and I can go back to gardening. It's a really fun project, but between work and the rain, it's not getting done nearly as fast as I want.

1 comment:

  1. I'm tapping my head with my index finger. I never thought of the flooring in a chicken coop. Good idea.

    Oh, and send me some fresh eggs, will you?