Tale of Two Coops

Chicken Coop Evolution

Here is the tale of the evolution of our chicken coop with snippets from my adventures in learning about chickens.  Our property started with a small run-down chicken coop and eventually turned into the Coop Mahal.  A free chicken coop was a great way to start out and find out if I really wanted chickens.  Once I discovered I loved these comical dinosaurs, it was time to make my life easier with the coop of my dreams ( uh, not free).

Humble Beginnings

broken down chicken coopOur homestead came with an average chicken coop that was inSilver laced Wyandotte pullet disrepair.  The roof was a mess, the nesting boxes were falling off, the run was full of weeds and the windows were broken. At least it was equipped with a nice 2-foot barrier of hardware cloth that was buried around the entire perimeter. With a little elbow grease, scrap materials and TLC, I turned it into a  functional chicken coop and run where we raised our first pullets.

That first year, we opted for 8-week old pullets.  Pullets are more expensive than chicks, but the benefit is that they are fully feathered and can go straight outside into a coop with a protected run. We also opted for an 8-week old puppy so they could grow up together.

Raising Chicks

baby chickscoop with some TLCThe second year we decided to raise chicks – who can resist those adorable little chicks?  Day one we had a small problem.  Since I was at work, my daughter picked up the chicks I ordered from the feed store when they arrived.  All three were supposed to be silver-laced Wyandottes, but alas one was brown.  The brown one, I soon discovered was the only one my daughter had named… Beth.  Beth, an unknown breed, remains a part of our flock.

The chicks required a lot of attention and generated more poop that you can even imagine.  Poop in their food; poop in their water; poop all over them. Since we do not have a barn, they were living in a brooder in our basement.  Even their cuteness could not compare with the stench.  I am glad we tried our hand at raising chicks, but I will stick with pullets in the future.

Movin’ on Up

Coop MahalNext it was time to build what is not referred to as our Coop Mahal.  I thought of every single thing I would want in a chicken coop and my husband made it a reality.  I wanted to be able to walk into not just the main run area, but also the interior coop.  The clean out door needed to be exactly the height of my wheel barrel for easy clean out.  I wanted a door that would automatically open and close so that I might be able to sleep in just one morning.  The sleeping in part has not been a reality! And just in case I ever fell out of love with my chicken, I wanted it built to be easily converted into a shed.  Look for a full blog on building this dream chicken coop in the near future.

Tale of Two Coops

Just a coopYesterday, I dismantled the small, original chicken coop from its run.  I also stripped off the exterior laying boxes and boarded that up.  I will eventually relocate what is now simply a free standing coop big enough for about 6-10 chickens to roost in at night.  This will become the home for new pullets as I add them each year so they can develop to full size in an area away from the existing flock.  I found that while the pullets were physically separate from the flock, it seemed to cause a lot of stress for all birds involved to be able to see each other while they matured.

The next batch, I will simply sneak into the coop in the night once they are fully grown which seems to be about 4-5 months. Chickens are very easy to move when they sleep – nearly paralyzed – and when they wake up they seem fairly accepting of each other.  This is not the case if you introduce in the daytime, but more on that another day.

And yes, dog and chickens get along great!dog and chickens

As always, I love to hear about your adventures in homesteading too…leave me a comment.

Posted by Still Sacred

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