Chickens

Chicken Coop Build Update

This weekend was rough. The coop is almost to the point of being completely done, but it is not done. We had to stop in the middle of working on the run because hubby was injured. Now, it wasn’t anything too major, but it did require a trip to the emergency room for five stitches in his pinky finger. He was putting a T-post into place and instead of hitting the post, he hit his hand with the sledgehammer.

He is fine, he only needed the stitches. I will continue working on the run this week, but will not be doing any fence posts. The posts are all in place. Injuries do sometimes happen, we use safety gear, he was wearing gloves, but accidents happen and he will spend the next 7-10 days healing instead of working on my coop

We managed to get a lot of work done prior to his accident.

For the arches, we used the old PVC piping from our well. We recently had the PVC replaced with roll pipe to make pulling the pump up easier. The PVC is attached to the T-posts and to the white fence, to which we attached fencing that chickens cannot get through and predators cannot get inside.

The coop has been painted with an eggshell color and a metal roof has been added. The metal is only temporarily secured as you will see in the next picture because we are not sure how this roof will work as far as rain is concerned. We are hoping it rains this week like it is supposed to so, we can test the roof.  I know it looks completely flat feom the photos, but it actually has a slant. The front is higher than the back, but we arent certain it the difference in height is enough or if the angle needs to be increased. If it does not work as planned, we will raise the front of the roof by placing a 2×4 board under the plywood to raise it to a bit more of a slant. As you can see, there is a gap between the roof and the coop and this is securely blocked from predators with what I am calling rabbit fencing. It’s a roll of fencing that was found in the shed. We aren’t quite sure what it is, but I have a better view of this fencing over a window. The gap is there to provide ventilation for the coop without causing a draft during winter months.

This is the fencing I was referring to. This section is stapled onto the coop temporarily until I purchase larger washers. The ones I bought are too small and slip through the holes far too easily. We do have the plywood to close this window during winter months and there will be a section of roofing or the material used to cover the run, running between the coop and the shed next to the coop. It gets really hot during the summer months and air circulation is an absolute must. The section of roof or cover we use will keep the rain out, but allow for enough airflow to keep the coop from becoming an oven. I sat inside the coop for twenty minutes with the door closed to ensure this would provide enough airflow without being straight wind as the coop was being built. It was 94° outside during my test with wind gusts up to 35 mph. I was cool enough to be more comfortable inside than outside and while I felt a slight breeze, I didn’t feel the gusts of wind, which blew over a pallet leaning against the coop.

See that blue sledgehammer, that’s the culprit. That’s the very hammer hubby smashed his finger with. As you can see, the black cover is hanging on the other side of the white fence. We decided we needed more PVC arches. There was simply too much slack in the cover for our liking and the wind was blowing fairly hard at this point. Entirely too much sway was happening with the PVC arches for our liking so, more support was absolutely necessary. I had to apply a filter to this picture because it was really dark and hard to see. I brightened it up a bit so the details could be seen clearly.

As you can see, the cover is on the arches. It’s difficult to see, but there is fencing on the T-posts and on the white fencing. We used fencing that is coated in green plastic. It virtually disappears there is a space with no fencing right next to the coop. We are going to be installing a gate here. I am leaving the cover as it is in this picture because it provides protection from hawks. I will have to duck to enter the coop, but once inside I cannot reach the tops of the arches without using a ladder. Hubby can just barely reach them. The inside of the run is over 6 feet high. The cover provides an amazing amount of shade, while still allowing airflow. I am uncertain if I explained what we used as a cover in previous posts, but this cover is a dump truck cover. You see them stretched over loads with loose dirt, sand, or rocks. Hubby brings random things home from work for me and I love this about him. This cover was deemed useless because it had a few holes in it the size of a quarter and a foot long rip. I used lacing wire to stitch these up prior to our installation. I have no idea why such small holes and a small rip would render this cover useless, but I am very glad he rescued it before it was tossed in a dumpster. I have tried to reuse as many materials as possible. Some of the pallets that hubby refused to use on the building itself will be used for fencing between the shed and the coop and a greenhouse will eventually be built between the coop and the shed. Those pallets will form the frame of the greenhouse.

This is the very end of the run. As you can see, there’s excess cover material. Hubby was placing the final T-post for the additional arch he was placing when he smashed his finger.

Part of the cover is attached to the final arch and I will finish attaching the cover to the arch this week. The only problem with this final arch being added is the space between the fencing and the cover on the end. We will either attach metal screen or cut fencing and attach it to both the arch and the fencing below. We have not decided yet. Neither of us wanted to cut the cover to be neatly fastened to the fencing because we did not want to destroy the cover, which may be moved and used on a larger coop for a larger run. It is, after all, a perfect rectangle complete with a reinforced border and metal grommets every 2 feet. No one in their right mind would cut that apart.

The coop still needs:

  • A gate installed
  • The window secured properly
  • The cover fastened
  • The gap at the end of the run closed and secured against predators
  • The space between the shed and coop fenced off and covered (We have another cover.)
  • Some color because eggshell is boring
  • Roosts and nesting boxes installed
  • Feeders and water sources installed
  • Dust bath
  • Possibly adjustments to the roof

It was a very productive weekend and aside from hubby needing stitches, it was a good weekend. I am so excited and looking very forward to having chickens living in their coop, which we have paid attention to every small detail to ensure it is as comfortable and as safe as possible. I am still looking for suggestions for chicken names, but I am also looking for suggestions for a paint scheme. As of right now, I am debating using fairy cottages as inspiration or even gnome homes. I have a wonderful memory of a television show called “David the Gnome” and that is what is running through my mind at the moment for inspiration. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Until next time….

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Emergency Preparedness on the Homestead, Homemaking on the Homestead

Emergency Preparedness on the Homestead Part 3

It’s 2:30 in the morning and insomnia is keeping me from sleeping, yet again, so, I am writing the third part of my Emergency Preparedness on the Homestead series. This post will focus on the Household Binder. I realize this may not seem like an emergency preparedness item, but it really is and I will explain how to create one as well as why it should be a part of your emergency preparedness plan. This will explain everything and you will know how to create your own by the time you reach the end of this post.

First, I am going to give you a list of supplies, some of which are necessary, while others just make the whole process more enjoyable. I will differentiate between necessary and optional with an asterisk next to the necessary items. Almost all of the necessary supplies can be found at Dollar Tree stores and are generally inexpensive no matter where you purchase them.

Supplies for your Household Binder

  • *One 3-ring binder (I used a 1 inch binder)
  • *Clear plastic page protectors (these are plastic sleeves for sheets of paper)
  • * Tabbed Dividers (you can go with the inexpensive paper ones or the more costly plastic ones. It doesn’t matter which ones you use.)
  • *Paper (either notebook paper or printer paper or both.)
  • * a pen or pencil
  • Dry erase markers
  • Colored pens
  • Pocket folders with 3-ring holes pre-punched
  • A 3-ring hole punch
  • Washi tape
  • Stickers
  • Highlighters
  • Printer
  • Printed pages (this will make more sense as I continue)
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils

Now that you know what supplies you need, we will get started on what a Household Binder is and what goes inside.

A Household Binder is an organizational tool for your home. It helps you to keep track of everyone’s schedule, favorite recipes, important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries, and so much more. I am sure you are still wondering how this related to emergency preparedness and I promise I will get to that, but first, I am going to give you a list of sections and pages for your Household Binder.

Sections

  • Finances
  • Calendar and Important Dates
  • Pantry
  • Housework
  • School/Work
  • To Do
  • Babysitter
  • Pets
  • Medical
  • Shopping
  • Holidays
  • Emergency Preparedness

Pages

  • Babysitter checklist/Letter
  • Seasonal Task List
  • Holiday Gift List
  • Holiday Budget
  • Household Budget
  • Monthly Bills (due dates, amounts, and who to pay)
  • Monthly Calendar
  • Weekly Calendar
  • Yearly Calendar
  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Internet Account Passwords (for paying bills, children’s online gradebooks, etc.)
  • Master Grocery List
  • Master Pantry List
  • Master Freezer Inventory
  • Master Fridge Inventory
  • Master Pantry Inventory
  • Household Member Clothing Sizes
  • Emergency Kit Inventory Checklist
  • 72-Hour Kit Inventory Checklist
  • First Aid Inventory Checklist
  • Housework Schedule
  • Laundry Schedule
  • Spring Cleaning Schedule
  • Holiday Menu
  • Birthday and Anniversary Budget
  • Address Book
  • Phone Book
  • Pet Medication Dose Tracker
  • Map of Child’s School (in a sleeve)
  • Child’s Class Schedule (in a sleeve)
  • Emergency Escape Routes
  • Household Fire Drill Schedule
  • Household maintenance Records and Schedule
  • Copy of immunization Record and Immunization Schedule for Children
  • Pediatric Over the Counter Medication Dosage Charts (for Babysitter or Parent who doesn’t normally do this)
  • How to for Spouse or Significant other for running things while you are away.
  • Current Shopping list (workable)
  • Current To-do list (workable)
  • Bills to pay (in a sleeve)
  • Daily Schedule (workable)
  • Weekly Schedule (workable)
  • Weekly Menu
  • Monthly Menu
  • Daily Menu

Now, you have a pretty good idea of what a Household Binder is and what it includes. If you noticed, there are pages for sitters and pages for your spouse or significant other, which will give them the information they need to do things they don’t normally do. For example, if you are at work, in a meeting and unable to answer your phone, the dosing chart for fever reducer is in the household binder. So, if your little one suddenly starts running a fever, the person caring for him or her can now accurately dose your child. Say you are unexpectedly hospitalized and unable to pay your bills, your spouse or anyone you trust can open that binder and successfully pay your bills for you while you are unable. If you have to suddenly leave town, your most used recipes are in this binder as well as a daily schedule, a weekly schedule, and if necessary, a monthly and yearly calendar and Schedule can be included as well.

If you have started building a stockpile because you became obsessed with couponing, you can keep a running list of what is in your pantry, when those items expire, and you can even chart put where everything is located in your pantry. A master pantry list allows you to go through the pantry and ensure you have your most used pantry items stocked up in the pantry, but it will also tell you what is missing when you can’t figure it out by looking in the pantry.

A maintenance schedule reminds you to change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, have the chimney cleaned, air filters changed on schedule and the central heat and air units serviced, which keeps your family safe and helps save money on electric or gas bills.

Those optional supplies like dry erase markers allow you to write on the plastic sleeves and then just wipe them off when you are finished. Washi tape and stickers are simply for decoration. Colored markers, pens, pencils, and highlighters allow you to designate a specific color for each member of your household, making appointments much easier to distinguish with a simple glance. (You can color code your entire house to make life even easier. One color per person and that color is applied to drinking cups, tooth brushes, bed linens, underwear if you have multiple boys or girls, etc. Just let each one pick their favorite color and color code everything possible.)

I do hope this post was helpful to you. A Household Binder really is a wonderful tool and it falls right in line with being prepared. I strongly recommend including the emergency kit checklists. Check your kits twice a year. The best way to remember this is to schedule those checks on the dates for Daylight Savings. This doesn’t work if you live somewhere that does not participate in daylight savings such as Arizona. If you live somewhere that does not participate in daylight savings, check your kits on your birthday and your significant other’s birthday, or on your children’s birthdays. If you are single, use your birthday and Valentine’s Day. This way, if anyone asks what you are doing (and you don’t actually have plans) you can easily say, “I have a date, it has been planned for a year.” You will be telling the nosy person asking the truth and if they ask with who, just say, “someone important, but I am not at liberty to say” again you will be telling the truth because this date is with your emergency preparations and the important person is yourself. Keep the nosey buggers guessing. 😂

Until next time…