Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chicken coop project, September 2013

We have recently purchased a chicken coop, which is "on order" and currently being built. One of our best friends, Jeff, is an incredibly handy guy with tools and meticulous to the nth degree.

Being a currently out of work engineer and looking full time for job, he volunteered to be our vendor for the coop and set off to learn everything he needed to know about backyard chicken keeping in order to bring himself fully up to speed as an expert chicken coop builder.

Once the chicken coop is completely finished it will be painted barn red to match our newly painted barn with a dark brown roof and white trim. Jeff will dis-assemble it at his location, then re-assemble at our location and we will install it to the prepared site which will be leveled, underlaid with predator mesh and outlined with secured railroad ties (we haven't worked out all of the precise details on this yet; Laura is still working on that.)

Hopefully we'll have the footings and predator mesh installed this week or this coming weekend in preparation.We have a spot in the yard for it quite near the horse barn and close to a set of three large evergreens. It's a high and dry spot.

We are planning to purchase 8-12 Dominique chickens (hens only!) which are a heritage breed. We haven 't decided whether to get started right away (this fall) with adult hens or wait until spring and get started with baby chicks. Laura likes the idea of raising the hens from chicks but of course everyone else in the family is just ready to start gathering eggs ... right now! Hens don't start laying until they are several months old. The other option is to purchase six hens now and then six chicks in the spring, which would probably be a good compromise.

not our chickens! this is a stock photo.

From Wikipedia: "The Dominique, also known as Dominicker or Pilgrim Fowl, is a breed of chicken (Gallus gallus) originating in the United States during the Colonial. It is considered America's oldest breed of chicken, probably descending from chickens brought to New England from southern England during colonial times. By the 19th century, they were widely popular and were raised in many parts of the country. Dominiques are a dual purpose breed, being valued for their meat as well as for their brown eggs. They weigh 6 to 8 pounds (2.7 to 3.6 kg) at maturity. In earlier times, their feathers were much sought after as stuffing for pillows and mattresses." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominique_%28chicken%29)

The finished chicken coop will resemble the coop pictured here, which is the coop as built by the plan designer. It is about 6'x6' in footprint for the coop only, has a 14'x6' enclosed, attached chicken run, is elevated and has six nest boxes with a perch in the front and a rear-access door from the outside (for collecting eggs.)

what the finished coop will look like, just add paint.

the finished coop per plan, showing the nest boxes.

Onto the progress photos! Naturally the coop started out as a big pile of lumber, which was delivered to our chicken coop factory. Here is the coop on Sept 3rd

chicken coop, Sept 3rd

Two weeks later the coop was partially assembled and taking a bit of shape. September 12th.

chicken coop, Sept 12th

chicken coop, Sept 12th

the chicken coop factory owner, Jeff

A few days later I got another update, showing the assembly thus far. September 15th.

chicken coop, Sept 15th

chicken coop, Sept 15th

More updates and the final reveal to come next month. Watch this space.

For more about us, come to udonet.com. Click on "Pets" to visit our family's small hobby farm.

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