Friday, July 8, 2011

The Chicken Coop - DONE!!

I thought perhaps the title of this post should have been ~
"When Animals Live in Better Places Than Humans"
We have worked day and weeks and hours, in drastic heat...in a stuffy garage, in the sun...in the midst of both of us working in some phase of 'wheat harvest'..
in the meantime my chicks have literally grown before our eyes...stuffed in the biggest dog crate we have, in the cool temps of the studio (and let me tell you I will be burning candles and incense for awhile to dechickenize the air in there.)
Each day was more critical than the next...get them into their new run and house..little did we know what a huge transition this would be for them.
We finally finished it - for the most part - still some minor fine tuning to do.
We started with a photo of another person's chicken house and run and made it our own from there.  As explained before, it's mostly made from recycled wood from an old garage we tore down.  Hubster is a primo engineer/designer when it comes to building things - what a creative thinker he is.  We see 'eye to eye' on these types of projects and I have always said we should build our own house...we could make a cool one..but there are so many other things to do in life - and sticking around to build a house and giving up all the other things we like to do is just not gonna happen ~
at least at this writing.  So..now presenting - THE NEW CHICKEN COOP!!
(Drum roll please..)
Inside of the house minus the pine shavings on the floor - and the laying boxes - we haven't built those yet, but will in the next few days - they need a place to practice being 'layers' - at least two of them do, I think. You can't see them, but there are 2 x 4 roosts higher off the floor.

The side of the house, with vents for fresh airing, and a door on each side for humans to clean house and gather eggs and tend to chickens if need be.







There is heavy-gauge galvanized screen/wire stapled and nailed all around the run sides and top and around the back and sides of the chicken house...so they can have some shade, which no doubt they will.  There is electricity for a cold weather light bulb...chickens need 12 hours of light per day to lay eggs...
so the light will help with that need, as well.
The house door slides up and down...held with a hasp and a chain hooked on a screw.  A window with more embedded wire and a plexiglass slider is at the top for more air and ventilation, but also for keeping out rain and cold..the entire house is insulated walls, floor and ceiling and is so tight - no night-time marauders can invade - they may dig under the run,  but our 3 chickens will be safeguarded in the secure house if that happens.
And yes, this artist has had a paintbrush in her hand and loved every minute of it!  Every surface you see, has a coat of primer and the house an additional 'color' coat.


 This is a 'chicken eye' view of the RUN.
Which brings me to the last part of my story...hubster and I grabbed some cold ones, pulled up a few chairs and sat and watched our chickens for a couple of hours, as they transitioned from the dog crate to the yard.  Mind you, these chickens ONLY saw the outdoors - at least Harlough did - when hatched.  They have never been outside, never  heard other birds or seen them flying overhead.

We made our wager that Harlough would be the first out...for the most part, she was the bravest and we were right.  We allowed them to take their time...finally when they all seemed at comfort to venture to the middle of the yard...we had to actually extricate them from crate to yard...as they would dash back into their 'safe spot'.  It was late afternoon, wish we could have started this earlier in the day.  Eventually we had to crawl into the yard and physically put each chicken into the house and close the door for bedtime.  All went well from there though...they had their waterer and food inside...as well as their familiar little 'roost' that was in their dog crate.




Life is good for our chickens.  They will get used to their new 'safe spot' in the next few days.  They thoroughly enjoy eating grass and bugs.  They duck and run when other birds fly overhead...it must be sensory overload.  They will eventually be allowed 'free range' once we are sure they know where their safe spot is. 

This house is moveable.  It is extremely heavy, but we work smart and use other items to help get the job done.  I think hubster has figured out how to hook it onto the tractor bucket to move it the next time.  The run is detachable. 
We paid dearly in man hours, brainstorming, and sweat - but this project outcome - PRICELESS!! 

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