Chickens

Chicken Coop Updates

I didn’t take any photos because it started raining and we had to clean up quickly before we got soaked.

I will try to get some photos tomorrow if it doesn’t rain again. Today, after my appointment, which involved two cortisone injections in my lower back, Hubby decided we were going to work on the coop. Okay, I’m game. Let me tell you, I don’t regret getting it to the point we reached but, I do regret not icing my back while working on it. Ouch.

First, we secured the cover with more hose clamps, we still need a few more, but both sides are secure. Then, we buried a bit more heavy duty fencing around the perimeter of the run. That was fun. We also replaced the zip strips that were temporarily holding fencing in place with pieces of plastic coated metal (sort of like heavy duty twist ties.) Fencing is beyond secure. Then, we laid subflooring inside the coop. (I will explain this in a moment) finally we figured out how to close off the end of the coop securely without any gaps or any way for any possible predator to gain entrance. (Fencing overlapping bottom fencing and folded over the PVC arch, but under the cover and held in place with hose clamps and those super heavy duty twist ties at the bottom.

Okay, I’m going to explain the subflooring for those who haven’t been following along. (I am also going to add a few older pictures of the coop just for visual reference. I will get new ones as soon as I can.)

This is the coop prior to today’s additions.

(You will see the white fence I refer to very well in this picture and the coop itself up close.)

Notice how much shade the cover for the run provides. (The cover is a dump truck cover. Hubby rescued two destined for the garbage for me from work. He brings me home the neatest things. The PVC was inside of our well, but we replaced that with flex pipe last year. I of course kept all of the old PVC because I had a plan.)

The coop and run are at the very back of the back yard. Not the back of the property. We have a white metal pipe and cable fence that goes around what would be a normal sized back yard. We didn’t install this fence, it was here when we bought the house. I’m sure it cost a fortune, but it is rather strange how they did it because it is in small sections. It’s just weird. So, backyard slopes downward because of what happens when it rains.

In Oklahoma, we have clay and sandy soil. It turns rock hard in the summer months if it isn’t kept damp (I keep the garden areas damp through daily watering.) It will actually form cracks when it gets really hot and dry. So, because of the location of my coop, we could not just install a floor flat to the ground or there would be some serious issues with water after the rain. Instead, we waited for a really good rainfall to decide how to deal with the flooring. The path of rainwater goes right through the coop. We decided to raise the floor so, rainwater can go under the coop without causing any flooding inside the coop. It goes through the end of the run as well, but I have an idea for that as well so, I’m not worried about having any water-logging issues in the run.

The sub-floor is raised up to the height of a regular red brick on its side. (Yes, I am putting a ramp in for the chickens because I don’t need them getting a broken leg from jumping even though I know a chicken can “fly” enough to jump a fence or get into a tree. So, there are bricks and pallets in the coop waiting for the flooring. The flooring is one of my very random ideas, but hubby agreed that it was a fabulous idea and it will be completely waterproof so, I can rinse out the coop with a garden hose if it gets really gross. We had a rectangular above ground pool in the spot where the chicken coop is currently sitting so, it is somewhat level in some areas still from that pool. (It was one of the easy up type pools with metal braces holding up just the liner part. Not expensive and doesn’t last more than a few years.) I am cutting the pool (thick plastic almost as thick as wood paneling.) And lining the floor and about a foot up the wall of the coop. I will be able to clean the coop easily and we are going to try the deep litter method first so the plywood under the plastic will not rot from moisture in the bedding we use for the coop. If I don’t like the deep litter method, we will switch to sand, which can be scooped and then deep litter for winter because it gets cold here.

I am not currently running any electric to the coop. I have sat inside of it in both summer and winter, there is no need for it in either. In the summer, the run is cooler than standing outside of the run because the cover provides amazing shade while still allowing airflow. I was comfortable inside the run when it was 112° F (44° C). I was in the shade with the breeze blowing and the coop has good airflow as well, which will change during winter, but not be completely sealed because chickens need fresh air. The plastic will also provide a seal against any drafts coming from under the coop. It’s really thick so even if a snake tried to get in, it would not get through the plastic. I am not worried about other predators because we buried more fencing and it’s NOT chicken wire, which was what we had buried flat. We doubled up by adding what was labeled goat fencing over top of the chicken wire that was buried. (There are hog panels and goat fencing behind the chicken wire all around the coop. I know that animals can get through chicken wire. It is there for extra protection. The cover is in place for multiple reasons, the first being hawks. The second reason is owls, then, for shade, and cats because cats can climb. (We have either a large bobcat or a mountain lion crossing the back of the property.) They aren’t getting into this coop or the run. I have been EXTREMELY anal about the security of the coop because we have four packs of coyotes around us, one pack in each direction and they are getting brave. I watched the neighbors dog chase one down the street in broad daylight. This coyote was in her backyard where her small children play.

The last thing I want is to get chicks, raise them until feathered out inside, then, lose them to a coyote or another predator as soon as they start living in the coop. I waited an entire year to make sure the coop itself could withstand Oklahoma wind. (We had a nasty storm with 70-80 mph gusts and it didn’t cause any damage to the coop. It destroyed the run. This is why I canceled my order of chicks last year and waited until this year. I get chicks next month so, forgive me if I take a zillion pictures. I have been waiting forever for chickens.

I’m sure I sound super overprotective and probably a little like a hoarder because I kept things like PVC from the well, an entire pool, and hubby brings me home things like plastic barrels and dump truck covers and dump truck liners. I also have a massive stack of wooden pallets, which he was also amazing enough to bring home for me. He has learned over the years that I have a use for every weird thing he brings me. It will become something amazing even if it doesn’t seem like it when he brings it home.

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot the best part. He gave me an electrical saw I am allowed to use without him hovering over me. He got me a sawzall!!! (I think I spelled that right.) He also got me a package of blades so I can cut apart my pallets build my projects. I am allowed to use a nail gun unsupervised and I have my own drill so, I have always been able to use that. I have to wear safety glasses (I have a purple pair and a pink pair.) and these weird gloves that are supposed to keep me from accidentally cutting myself when changing the blades. I am apparently terrifying when I use a saw. 😂 I doubt I will ever do any actual cutting by myself, but I am not terrifying according to both him and our youngest with the sawzall. To be honest, electric saws terrify me so, I usually let him or one of the kiddos cut things. (all of our kiddos are adults.) He also got me a giant box of wood screws and a big box of nails. (I think they are roofing nails, but they serve their purpose. I call them multipurpose nails 😂) I was always complaining that I could not find a nail or a wood screw when I was putting in hiding spots in the rafters of the dairy building for the barn kitties so now, I have more than enough of both. I think I have rambled enough for one post. (I have one more to write, but it has nothing to do with the chicken coop.)

Until next time….

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Adventures, Chickens

Chicken Coop Round 2

Last year, we set up the coop and the run and right after I placed an order for chicks, we had a nasty storm that wiped out my run. I am EXTREMELY grateful that the company I ordered chicks from was kind enough to allow me to cancel my order since the chicks hadn’t hatched yet. We decided to watch what the weather did and how it affected the coop and run over the year and update designs and ensure that the chicks would be completely safe once they were calling the coop and run home.

This photo is OLD!!! This was taken of the coop and run when we built them last spring. The storm did a number on the run, the cover was ripped halfway off and almost got taken away by the wind, three of the PVC arches were ripped off of the fence posts, and 2 fence posts were ripped out of the ground completely. We fixed the fence post issue with concrete during the Fall. it isn’t a ton of concrete, so we will be able to remove the posts, if we decide to widen the run or move it completely.

This weekend, we put the cover back on the run. For those of you who haven’t be here since the beginning, the cover for the run is a dump truck cover, normally used to keep loads of sand, soil, and gravel from blowing out of the truck. Hubby brought me home two that were destined for the dump because they had EXTREMELY minor damage such as small holes or a rip or two that could easily be repaired. (I did patch all of the holes and rips and it took exactly 15 min.)

So, the cover is back on, this time we used hose clamps instead of lacing wire. We ran out of hose clamps halfway through so, I am waiting for my order of hose clamps to be delivered by UPS before I can finish securing the cover. We had some nasty wind so, I know it is secure this time and definitely not going anywhere this time.

It looks really nasty out, but it was 68° F (20°C) and perfect weather for what we were doing. Hubby and I also decided to take an old screen door from the dairy building (I have a bunch of windows and doors in there from the house being updated) and it is now the door to the run. We mounted it on the back side of the coop because it seemed like the best place for it. I didn’t take pictures of the door yet because that section of fencing isn’t completely finished yet. I will continue to take pictures as we complete tasks.

After the cover was secured, we started on fencing. When the companies that sell fencing seal up these rolls of fencing, they wrap them in lacing wire and then in plastic. The problem with this is that the lacing wire blends in with the fencing and is very difficult to see. It took longer to open the rolls of fencing than it did to secure them to the posts.

Again, I am waiting for hose clamps, which will also be used to secure the fencing to the posts properly. For the moment, zip strips and lacing wire is holding the fencing in place. This is not just a single layer of chicken wire. There are hog panels behind the chicken wire on the inside of the coop. It is coated with green plastic so, it just blends and looks pretty much invisible both in pictures and from the back porch.

It really did look like it was going to storm. We didn’t get any rain, just a bunch of brutal wind. If you look closely at the photo above, you will see weird rectangles in the grass. Those are hog panels. I told you, they blend. 😁 Hubby also wants two strands of electric fencing set at 1 ft and 3 ft as a perimeter around the coop. Our friends have lost every chicken every time they start laying eggs. I keep reminding him that they don’t secure the coop entrance and the door from the coop to the run is just a doorway and not secure at all, but he wants electrical fencing. I figure it will come in handy when we eventually get calves (this is going to be a while because neither of us know anything about cattle and we are doing research and talking to people who raise huge herds.) Also, he’s male and from my experience, every guy enjoys cool things like electrical fencing, tractors, and 4 wheelers. So, I am looking at electrical fencing as his part in the whole aspect of having chickens.😂😂 If it keeps them safe great, even if it is a bit ridiculous in my mind. The shutoff switch will be on the front of the coop and the fence will be about 2-3 feet away from the fencing on all sides, so don’t panic, the chickens won’t get zapped. (That was my concern too when he said he wanted it.)

Currently we still need to secure everything once the hose clamps arrive. (I ordered a pack of 100) Then, we have to finish enclosing the run. The end of the run is still open above the fencing so, that needs fencing, the area where we put the screen door needs fencing and the door itself needs fencing because it currently has plastic screen installed. We need to add a few screws to the roof where wind has peeled up the roofing a bit and then silicone to seal where screws are added. Then, cinderblocks around the run at the bottom of the fencing (it is buried, but cinderblocks add more protection). I still need to install roosting areas and nesting boxes. Then, a raised floor because water flows right through the coop when it rains so we will let the water continue its natural course and raise the floor by adding a floor of pavers with plywood above them. This will keep predators from going under the coop to try to get in while supporting the raised floor. I will also secure fencing around the base of the coop, buried of course. Finally, I need to order chicks again.

Once chicks are feathered out and living in their new home, I will get to work on the shed next to the coop. It will become a second coop and it will be sharing a run with the other coop. We will move the door, add another dumptruck cover from the end of the run, over the coop, and attached to the shed roof. We have already fenced in the back side of the area between the two buildings because we used the white metal fence to support the new fencing. It just seemed logical to go ahead and fence it while we were installing the fencing. I may add another building on the end of the run for ducks, but I haven’t decided yet. I definitely want ducks, but they obviously need a water source and I don’t know if I want to sink a kiddie pool that close to the house. I may put them on the back side of the chicken coop and run. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Until next time…