Monday, May 30, 2016

All Cooped Up At Last!

With the nice man bringing internet here to the house after 2mo. without it, I will finally be able to post about our coop building!

Now that we are living essentially rurally, we decided to have chickens, ostensibly to help cut our food bill.  However, that plan did not take into account the expense of building a coop.  If you haven't priced lumber lately, rest assured, it has gotten expensive.  However, now that the coop construction is (mostly) done, the only expenses should be feed, and chickens.

As we had gotten chicks at the Atwoods store in town, they had been living in the shop, in cardboard boxes.  We did begin construction of the coop almost immediately, but it was slow going.

 Corner posts were set, and then the floor joists were set, and plwood flooring put down.  We swt the coop above ground, to give the birds a place of permanent shade, underneath.   We put in a load of pea gravel for under the coop to keep things from getting muddy in the rains.

 Walls were framed in, more than once...but eventually they were good enough.  Plywood walls were mounted, and it slowly began to look like a coop!  The kids did help quite a lot, in the construction.

Half walled in, you can see the sally-port for the chickens.

DH on the ladder

DH and Monkeyboy setting rafters.
Putting on the roof took some time.  Time spent deciding what we could use for a roof, and how to fix it to the roof.  Ultimately we went with a foam polymer, corrugated, like on an old quonset hut.  It's a pleasant darker green color.  We had some old white paint, so the kids have painted most of the rest of the coop white...except for the parts they can't reach.  Hmm, gonna have to figure out how to get one of them up on the cage to paint the high spots!

There's still a door, and trim to build, attach, and paint, and some more predator proofing to do assuming it ever stops raining!  There's already 3/4" this morning. It's hard to get dirt hauled in, when everything is muddy.

Compared to their size when we bought them, the chicks are huge now!  The guineas are in adult plumage and their faces are beginning to turn white.  Our Boss Chicken, Russet is huge, sporting a nice comb and wattles already--she's not quite full size, but not far from it either.  They are funny things, the chickens.  They have distinct personalities, some shy(Salt), some bold(the guineas), some bossy (Russet),  Others are just docile, and friendly, like the Buff Orpingtons.  I love those!  They are the caramel colored birds above.

They should start laying in October, at 6mo age.  That gives us some time to sort out building nesting boxes, and getting them mounted on the side of the coop for easy access to fresh eggs.  It'll be next spring before we know for certain, if we have guinea hens, or a rooster in there.  Apparently it is very hard to sex guineas. So if Samantha is a roo, she'll become Sam, or if Deanna is the roo, then she'll be known as Dean (my kids love Supernatural!)  My hope is they are both hens, but we suspect Samantha is really a Sam...If we see little keets running around next spring, we will know!  At least our chickens all seem to be hens.

We will allow the guineas to free range, and keep our fingers crossed that they are wily enough to avoid the dogs (Indy is just dyin' for chicken dinners!), and the neighbor's cats, plus the Mississippi Kites, coons, and other beasties that love chicken for dinner.  Once the chickens are full grown, we may allow them some free range time, provided one of the kids is around to watch them.  Chickens are just not as survival oriented as the guineas.

1 comment:

  1. Your coop looks awesome! Guineas are pretty fierce, but they might need more than a flock of two to be fearsome. I know they tend to roost in the trees at night as we know of several farms that have them around to eat the ticks.


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