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Friday, May 24, 2013

Building the Cluckmahal

Seems like I'm always building something on the "farm" here.  After we picked up the new chickens, I realized that the coop we had was fine for 3 girls, but a little too small for 5.  So I decided to build a new coop. There are tons of coop designs and plans online, but I decided to do my own to fit my needs.  And the one need was something that one or two people could easily move around the yard.  Right now the coop we are using weighs over 200 pounds and I would guess that it's actually closer to 300 pounds.

So for mobility I decided to put the coop on wheels and I ordered two large casters off of Amazon.com.  Next my dilemma was how to mount the 10" casters to the coop.  In the end I just put a 2x10 on the bottom of the base so I would have a sturdy platform for the wheels.

Here they are all bolted on with the front legs attached as well.
Here it is sitting in the yard with the girls and curly checking it out.
I also decided to build the coop like a was building a small house so I have the decking on the base and the first wall up.  This wall was going to have the handle to wheel the coop around the yard.  The 2x4 is where the railing brackets will go.

Here we have the second wall with the chicken door.  I like putting those angle pieces on the walls especially since I decided to make the walls out of 2x2's.  They add a lot of structure stability to the frame.

Here's the third wall. This wall will have the nesting boxes attached to it.  Something the old coop lacked.

And here's the front door.  2 1/2 feet wide to access the coop for cleaning and what not.

Starting to add the sheathing.
Starting to put the outside sheathing on.

Adding some insulation, and yes I hand cut each piece to fit.
Adding the interior walls.
Roof ridge pole.
Added the lifting handle to the back.
Here we have the roof coming together.
The roof over hangs by about 6 inches on the ends.
You can see we got a little late snow during the build.
Starting to work on the nesting box.
Nesting box attached.
The nesting box is insulated as well.
Here we have the front door and one of the girls checking out the new digs
Took me a few tries to get the nesting box roof just right and hinged.
Nice latch on the door.
And here we have the nesting box lid raised to show how to get all those delicious eggs out and the insulation too.
Added the nesting box dividers.
I decided on metal roofing. I really don't know why, but shingles would have cost me just as much.
And the finished product. I still need to paint and winterize, but I think it's ready to be used.  Now I just need to get rid of the old coop, finish insulating my houses foundation, and move the coop to it's new location.  I don't think I made this coop any lighter, but she's 100% more movable.  I can lift and wheel the house all by myself, although it's hard to see where I'm going, so two people moving the coop probably would be best.

All in all she probably cost me about $150 to build.  Almost all that cost is in the wheels and roof. I did have to buy some screws and a few 2x4s.  My neighbor gave me a table saw so I was able to rip my own 2x2's which was really nice.  But most of the building materials were recycled.

I'll post some photos of her all painted up and being used a little later this summer.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Life on the farm - It's kinda layed back

A few more photos of the new additions. I call them 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Sure was nice to get home from work and find this in the coop.

I put the eggs in the pile, but none were broken which is a big plus.  I'm sure the girls will love having more space and nesting boxes in the new coop.

And Christa went out last night to put up the chickens and found our old timer like this...
I have no idea how she found her way up there.  She's at least blind in one eye and perpetually confused.  We decided to put her in the coop last night and she did fine.  All the new girls left her alone and ended up sleeping outside in the run on the roost.  We'll see how they are doing when I get home tonight.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New additions

Well it finally is starting to feel like Spring in Alaska. Even though last Saturday I woke up to this.

But  most of the snow is gone in my yard and I'm finally starting to see green grass start to poke out.

We ended  up picking up 5 new chickens a few days ago.  More than I really wanted, but the lady was giving them away so we took them all.  I'll have some happy friends once out stockpile of fresh eggs is replenished and I start giving them away.

All five girls are Plymouth Rock Barred Hens, about a year old, and established layers.  As a matter of fact yesterday was their second day on the farm and we got 3 eggs.  We are slowly trying to integrate our last remaining legacy chicken, Nascar to the bunch.  And speaking of her, she started laying again as well once the weather finally warmed up.  I have her in the greenhouse quarantined from the other girls for now, but I've been letting them all roam the yard together and so far so good. All the new girls were excited about the treat block and fresh ground to scratch.  They are all nice sized birds and in a few years will make nice stew chickens.  We haven't named them and I don't know if we are going too.  It's not as hard to tell them apart as you think, but to be honest I'd never be able to keep 5 names straight with these girls.

 I also realized that the coop is now too small for 5 chickens let alone 6 if and when I can get Nascar in the new flock, so I'm working on a new coop.

I ordered some very large caster tires to help make the coop a little more portable and easier to move around the yard.  I'll post on that progress once I get it a little more done.  I finished the base frame last night and my wheels shipped from Amazon so maybe by this weekend I'll be able to really start building.

 The one main addition I want is to add nesting boxes and I've increased the overall inside dimensions of the coop by over a foot in each direction.  My goal is to build a coop one person can move and my hope is the nesting boxes prevent egg breakage.

That's all from the farm for now.