See the ugly shed to the right of the coop in the photo just above this one? It's going to be our chicken coop/green house, but it needs a lot of work.
Not only is it ugly, but whatever the exterior is sheathed in, it's crumbling. And a big tree fell on the back side of the roof and sort of busted the rafters. And there's a big pile of crap inside. Some of it will get reused in the coop/greenhouse, and some will get donated to Habitat Restore, and there are piles and piles of metal I'm going to recycle or sell (hey, there's a bunch of copper in there!).
First things first, we stripped off the exterior. At which point I noticed some significant termite damage along the sill plate (that's the beam along the bottom of the framing that rests on the concrete foundation). I looked up directions on replacing this and it involved the rental of jacks and more arms than we have between us and would undoubtedly take the better part of a weekend, so I called my awesome contractor, Steve, and uh..he sent over one man and no jacks and was finished in about an hour and twenty minutes.
Look! That's the farm, right there behind our back fence! And yet we are 2 miles east of the capitol building and downtown Austin. Love it;)
Here are the "bones" of the coop. We framed out a space to hold a sturdy floor, up high to get good airflow in the summer and to allow for storage space underneath. The little shelf is for the nesting boxes to rest on. Everything is at a nice height, ergonomcially speaking, for gathering eggs and cleaning out the coop floor. I can roll a wheelbarrow right up to the bottom hatch and rake all the used bedding into it. Less mess! More time for play!
Speaking of nesting boxes, remember how dirty the other ones got? I looked into getting old fashioned metal ones and they were not cheap! Or available locally. So I decided to get some 5 gallon buckets and cut the bottoms off them. When they dirty, I can just host them down! Cutting the bottoms off with a hacksaw was easier said than done. I looked sort of tough though...
There's a hardware cloth covered top, that I suppose we could use for light storage - haybales and such...but mostly, I just want it to be well ventilated and not have to worry about making the entire shed predator proof, because that's probably impossible, especially given the greenhouse component. This little "box" will be completely enclosed in hardware cloth and those possums would have to be ninjas to get into my chickens at night!
I'm reusing the roosting bars from the old coop and secured them to the shelf under the nesting boxes with those little brackets you use to hold plumbing? I don't know what they're called. This size you actually get in the electrical department at the hardware store.
There will be three nesting boxes total, which should be plenty for 8 chickens, and I'll be back with another post soon detailing the finished coop!