The Hen House from Conception to Birth

I knew we would need another Chicken Coop that would enable the chickens to have lots more room in the coop and still give them full run of their best part of the garden to grub about in safely when we are not in. It would also make sure that some of the grass would be protected from chicken poo. I have the discussion with hubby Duane about a new coop, he agrees, as he loves an excuse to get out the power tools and be creative. We both disregarded ready made ones as they looked OK on display however did not seem to offer to much for the chickens.
I had spent hours looking at various designs, researching the pitfalls of different designs and what features benefited the chickens. needless to say I bombarded Duane with these and had numerous discussions about the pros and cons of them. all. I wanted to convert the green house, Duane did not think this would work as the structure was to weak. I agreed and may use it as brooder/halfway house or hospital at some stage. I then wanted an Ark, very easy to build and can be moved around the garden. I knew this would be an easy build for me. Duane wanted a chicken coop on stilts. So we agreed that a chicken coop would be the immediate priority and I would design and build my Ark at my leisure.
As I was on leave from work it gave me the opportunity to visit the buildings merchants DIY stores and e-bay for for Meta posts tanalised wood etc and do my price comparisons. It never ceases to amaze me the manner in which stores, store wood. As is often the case we have to sort through the wood to find some that is not warped. I know it doesn’t matter how much wood we buy, Duane will return for some more.
We have long ago come to the conclusion that this is the way our minds see and manage things, I see the completed project and will buy and build accordingly, which usually presents to an outsider as absolute chaos and many things going on at once. Duane works and manages in steps. It works well as we have a system to incorporate both of our styles. Although there is the occasional blips. Such as with the height of the nesting boxes in the coop. Soon resolved by Duane doing a dropped rear door so that me and the grandchildren to be able to access the eggs.
Same with the ramp for the chickens to get into he coop. In my mind I knew the ramp would need to have an angle that that the chickens could manage with ease. Again soon sorted, Duane made a two part ramp which Ken done a test drive on and appeared satisfied. Henrietta ,when testing the initial ramp, reminded me of when I had to try and ski down whistler mountain and lacked the ability to do so efficiently. I think the ramp may be called Henrietta’s slide.
The build has gone very well. Day one, was when Duane knocked in the 3ft deep Meta post and put the 3″ by 3 uprights in. With our heavy soil and the depth of the posts mean these are not going to move. Next was the framework, all done without from Duane’s design. This was soon followed by the internal walls and then the installation and outer walls. Much of the work was undertaken by Duane in the rain. We had an interesting discussion about the roofing, felt and bitumen was the easy application, however this has a tendency to allow red mite to hide, so we agreed on Onduline corrugated roofing. Next was the nesting boxes and dividers, the drop down feature is excellent.
David worked for his dinner when he came over, he loves our chickens and was able to entice them all to eat corn from his hand. The power tools were also a pull for him. He had a glint in his eye when he had the Paslode nail gun in his hand, I left them both to it and carried on doing the finishing touches to the dinner. Both he and Duane manged to secure the roof safely with the help of some decent red wine.
The final touches to the build of coop are taken place today. This will be temporary pop door (Duane is going to fit an automatic one, when he makes the circuit board etc.) He also intends to put in a wireless web cam eventually. He is making off the roosting bars in different sizes and shapes to accommodate most discerning hen. I am hopeful that the coop will be spray painted tonight so that the chickens can take up residence on Wednesday. This is when I intend to pick up a a POL Gold Lace Orpington and a white Silkie or Sultan. If they all go into the coop together, the pecking order will likely change to Bruno’s advantage (hopefully). The next bit is to name the coop in n’ Tuckeys memory. He is buried near the the coop, I may make the hen house plaque. It is a good build, well done Duane xx. I love my chickens (and Duane :o)

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