Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chicken Update & Coop Progress

I've been meaning to put up a chicken/chicken coop post for a while now, so here it is finally!  The chickens are doing great and are getting HUGE!  It seems like they double their size every week or so.  They're about a month old now, and we're ready for them to move into their's more like our noses are ready, lol!

Here is Henrietta, our one Ameraucana chicken.  She is super tame and mellow, and will let the kids hold her for hours.  I wish we could have bought one more of these, but they're tiny egg layers and we wanted better producers.  Her eggs will be a nice green color though, which I'm looking forward to!

Ron made a deluxe chicken condo box the other day.  He works in the materials department at the hospital so he always has access to tons of boxes.  He couldn't find a large enough box for them, so he connected two with a little door and they seem to love it.  We also throw compost into their box so they can eat worms and scritch and scratch around.  They love it!

Introducing the ladies:  Penelope, Snow Flake, Peepers, Ophelia, and Jacquelin.  (Henrietta not pictured.)

The coop and run are almost finished!  So far we've framed, roofed and walled the coop, made the ramp and ramp door, and done the run framing.  Ron is now putting the wire on the run and making the run door.  We still need to make and install the nesting box door, frame the coop in, shingle the roof, reinforce the bottom of the run, and paint the coop.  I didn't realize what a big job this coop would be!

Ron put up this fence border to keep out predators.  It's great protection, but the down side is that you can't see the chickens unless you're standing right by the coop.  We're going to put sticks and branches up in the run, so they will probably perch up there during the day some.  We're debating whether to move the coop out some, making the run bigger.  Also, the cute window is now obscured behind the run.  Ron created the run around the coop to conserve yard space, which totally makes sense.  Ron's functionality and my aesthetic are waging a little battle right now.  We're working on making a compromise that we'll both be happy with.  Since the coop is visible by one of the only windows looking out over the yard/garden I really want to be able to see those chickens clucking around during the day.  What to do?  Decisions, decisions!  Any ideas are welcome by the way. :)  I know some of you must be coop experts by now!


  1. Do make sure any sticks will keep the ladies well away from looong racoon arms -- they'll reach right thru chicken wire, grab chickens, and eat them thru the fence :(

  2. Carys - Thanks for the advice! The chickens will be locked up securely in the coop at night. Have you had raccoons try to get them during the day? We've never seen any during the day, but we do have lots of neighborhood cats, so that's a thought...

  3. I'd go with more run space, particularly if you ever want more than 5 hens, or don't intend on letting them have "free yard" time. Raccoons are not an issue during the day, and neither are the neighborhood cats. Cats know better than to bother chickens, or will quickly learn.

  4. Great looking coop and run. Tell the hubby, "well done". I would recommend moving the coop out for practical reasons. Chickens love having space to run around and scratch. The girls will be happier with a bigger run. My run is now twice the size I had originally made it, I just didn't realize how much space they'd need. BTW, we have an Ophelia, too. She's a white and black Ameraucana with a fancy hairdo.

  5. @Amy & Dawn - Thanks for the run advice! We have probably 5 ft by 12 feet of run space behind the coop, and more on the left side too, plus there is enough clearance for them under the coop for protection from rain and for more space. So, there is actually more room than the pic shows. The good thing is we can always move the coop out more if necessary if they seem crowded in there. How many feet are your runs, and how many chickens do you have? Thanks!

  6. Hi there!

    Congrats on the new additions. They do indeed grow so quickly that it's astounding.

    We've got 9 hens, which is 6 more than we'd intended to get. Heh, oops! If seeing the hens is an issue, why not line the run with either deer netting or hardware cloth? You'd only need it up about 3 feet and that would solve the sight issues.

    As for space, our hens have a coop that's 6x8' and a primary run that's about 6.5x15' They spent most of the winter in the backyard, utterly destroying it (sigh). Be forewarned that hens are prodigious diggers, poopers, and eaters. They'll love having extra space, so you may want to plan times when you can let them out, supervised if there's a veggie garden acessible.

    My girls "helped" me weed the front yard today. I took the dog out to keep an eye out for off-leash dogs and let the girls free-range out front. They loved it and enjoyed having a new area to destroy!

    Best wishes, jenn.

  7. Oh, your box and clamp lamp is exactly the set up we had in our laundry room for about 3 weeks when we got our 3 chicks 15 years ago.

  8. @Jenn - Thanks for the advice! I'll look into the possibility of the deer wire.