Friday, June 10, 2011

Homestead Experiment #18-Our Super Duper Coop is Finished!!

The nesting box where we hope to soon find eggy treasures!

Hallelujah! The coop has been built and painted, and our marriage survived the process!  In all seriousness, while we did have some, um, shall we say 'discussions' about the architecture of our coop, it was actually a pretty gratifying experience.  While there were times that it seemed like the never-ending project, we did finally experience the euphoria of a job thoroughly done. Hooray!
The access door for the Girls to enter their cozy coop
 In hindsight, we have learned many things from this experiment.  For one, working with hollow-core closet doors adds extra challenges to a project. It would have been fine had we not needed to cut them at all, but since we needed to cut two of them into triangles for the ends, as well as cut holes for the door and nesting box, every cut had to be wrapped around with rubber sheeting to seal the ends.
Nice black rubber adorns the doorway cuts.

Also, because we decided to add more height to the original A-frame design in order to fit more hens (most A-frame plans only house 2-4 birds whereas we have 6), we ended up with a long seam running across the middle of each side.  This would not be that big of a hurdle if we did not live in a rainforest. However since we do live in a very soggy region, we had to find a way to seal those cracks.  On the side that acts as a stationary wall, it was easy to run a board on top of the crack, down the length of the wall, and fill the seam with latex caulk. Yet, on the other side, the crack is where we fastened hinges for the bottom half of the wall to be our access point into the coop.  We had to find a way to inexpensively roof the coop with something to seal over the crack and yet be flexible enough to bend when the door needed to be opened.  What to do? What to do?

Thankfully my husband appears to have a Masters' Degree in Redneck Ingenuity. His solution was to buy a heavy duty tarp to wrap from on side of the coop over the top and down the other side. Just above the hinge, we inserted another layer for a shingled effect. Then we cut a square of the black rubber sheeting and stapled it over each individual hinge.  To keep the tarp securely on the wall, we used bolts and fender washers. I went back and painted the washers flat black and the rubber squares white to blend in with my big X.
A cheap, flexible and heavy duty roof: shingled tarp!
It's not the pretty little roof I envisioned, but since we were limited by our use of the hollow core doors, I had to adapt. Sigh.  Overall, I am really pleased with how it all turned out.  Especially the inside:
We added painted plywood scraps over the planked pallet for easier cleaning.
While shopping for guinea pig supplies at the pet store, I saw this rodent ladder, and realized it would be a perfect way for our hens to access the roost!  I added a few stairs out of scrap 2x4's to make it reach. Isn't just cute? I spent a whopping $6 on it, but I couldn't resist!

How much did we spend? Well, we spent $6 on the ladder, $8 on the tarp, $12 on the roost and hardware, and about $150 on bolts, screws, nails, latches, and other miscellaneous hardware.  This was much more than I wanted to spend, but considering another local chicken-keeper spent $400 in plywood to erect a plain, drafty shanty for his birds, we still got off pretty cheap. Do I expect this coop to last 20 years? No-but we're only going to be here 4 anyway!  Besides, to quote a much overused commercial, the education we received in designing, drawing, and constructing a structure was priceless, or at least $200 well spent! Now to get the chicks out of my house and into the coop!

The finished hen palace!

Blessings to you and your homestead,
Hillary At Home

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely coop! This brings back memories of our chicken coop project last spring. The good, the bad, and the ugly! Enjoy your new pets!