-our urban coop-
I have been wanting to blog our chicken coop forever now, but truth be told it took us much longer to complete than expected. Not that it was hard, but it was however expensive and was one of those projects that in spare moments we worked on….so it felt like it took forever!
We have wanted to have our own chickens for so long, and decided in the spring to get our own chicks. I chose different breeds according to the things I was looking for, for our family…and knew it would be fun to have a mixture of colors and personalities. Let’s just say having baby chicks for months in your garage is a full time job, it was close to newborns. Constantly cleaning, tending to and watching to make sure they were safe. I was the new momma hen. It was well worth it though, because now our hens act more like dogs than chickens! Each of our kids got to choose their chickens and help name them. We stuck with the theme of flowers since they were going to be like little flowers in our yard. A few are: Rosie, Poppy, Dandelion, Blossom, Violet, and Daffodil. The names the kids chose are even more entertaining….Fumaz, Sunny, Armadillo, and Red Rose.
I can honestly say, though, that it has been such a huge blessing for our family. Our kids have embraced our urban farm, and love tending to and caring for our chickens. Even though this is just a small slice of what it is to have a farm I am pretty confident that we would love the simplicity of caring for and having our own farm life….but there is still the city girl in me that is not quite sure I could shovel poop ALL the time. Having 13 chickens is wonderful, but it does not come without work, and lots of poop.
Now, onto our wonderful little coop. Well, it was supposed to be little, but turned into a monster. I was thinking 4-5 chickens, my husband was thinking 11-14 chickens. SO, the design grew to accommodate our ever increasing population. My husband, as some of you may know, is an amazing contractor. We make a wonderful team…I draw up ideas and plans and he magically creates and tweaks…and presto! We also built and designed our home that is very modern and we both love mid century designs, so we wanted something that would compliment our home and the style we love. We planted it right smack in our yard and knew that if we wanted to see it all the time we wanted it to be something great to look at. Well, that usually comes with a price.
So, to go over price a bit. My husband knows the ins and outs of things being a contractor, and also local business’s that he uses that will give us great deals on things. We got a slammin’ deal on wood. It was a scratch and dent pile, if you will, so that saved us SO much. The roofing was recycled. The paint was something someone brought back for some reason, and it just happened to be THE perfect color with a bit of black added…$20 for 5 gallons! We used the trim because it was different, and it was CHEAP! I had leftover handles from when we built our home. I wish we would have saved material long before we built, because I know we could have saved more. So if you are considering building a coop, start saving pieces now! It could save you a lot of money.
Now, I will let the pictures speak. (Well, sort of.) I am going to add info with the pictures of things we have learned along the way, in hopes that if you are planning you can then avoid some of the things we did. HA!
The foundation getting started, we had lots of helpers. We chose to have a raised coop, for two reasons….it provided extra space underneath for them to be that was shaded and much cooler, and second we are hoping to someday move it with us. Not even sure if that last one is even possible at this point, but we are darn well going to try! It was built in two sections to hopefully make that possible.
I also got this mis-matched paint, for the interior pieces. I decided to paint it all so that it would not only seal it, but so that it could then be hosed out each year with the major cleaning party.
All done and ready!
Do not let the plants fool you….those were brought in for picture purposes. These girls will eat EVERYTHING in sight, learned that one the hard way….my huge succulents, gone. BUT, I have found a few things they will not totally devour..mint, rosemary, basil, mostly the strong herbs….so now their coop is adorned with them in hopes for SOME greenery!
This is the egg door, you can see below with the door open and their little decoy eggs in the boxes. The first eggs they were ever so curious and did a bit of pecking, which can become a problem..they will come to like the taste of them, not good. So, by adding these eggs and removing fresh eggs right away, they realized there was nothing special about these, and so far problem averted.
You can also see here the rope we added for the access door, they put themselves to bed and we close it up behind them. They get locked down tight for the night.
This (left) is their perch roost area inside….they all sleep huddled together on them. And right is my awesome storage area my husband built into the end. It is A-MAZING. I am sort of a storage organizer lover, and this keeps it all safe and accessible. Feed, treats,dust, bedding etc.
We used some drift wood we found at the lake to add roosts outside for them, they love to perch during the day. And another shot of the storage area.
One thing I will add about the surrounding rock area….we did it for water drainage purposes. So instead of mud it would drain through and we would not be drudging through mud come winter. BUT, I will however say that chickens love to scratch and it is really entertaining to watch, but not when all the rocks are flying each and every day. So, just beware if you are adding things of this nature, chances are they will not stay in that particular location.
And we could not help but to have a fun “girls” shoot one eve. Irisa loves them, you can tell she is a natural.
AND the glorious, gorgeous eggs! It is so incredible to come home to these beauties each day, makes all the hard work so worth it!
If you have any questions, ask away!