Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chicken Coop Progress, Week 8 and Chicks!

what the coop looked like at the end of week 7

The first work day I purchased the rest of the plywood I needed since I'd miscalculated how much I needed. Then I got the rest of the big pieces hung. I cut out pieces for windows, but other than that it was pretty straightforward.

A miscalculation I made early on is continuing to cause problems and be a pain. The end (narrower) walls are 8' wide, but I should have made them a few inches less than 8' wide so the outside width was 8'. Since I didn't, my outside width is about 8'4" wide, which leaves a gap between my two 4' wide sheets of plywood, as you can see below. In hindsight (as I'm typing this), I should have kept the plywood pieces together and left the gap on one side, rather than in the middle, where it's a lot harder to match up siding with grooves. Lesson learned. And I should have been a bit more careful measuring the angles for the end gable pieces- I didn't get those quite right either.

The second hand door I bought for the coop didn't come with a knob. I planned on buying one eventually, but then I remembered that I had a knob I purchased years ago and never used.

I never used the knob because it came with just the two knobs and the center threaded rod for attaching them to each other. There weren't even the basic base plates that come with dummy knobs. This door didn't need the base plates though, so this knob was perfect.

It was super simple to install and adds a little bling to the door. Because every chicken coop needs a little bling. Oh, and it's much easier to open and close the door with the knobs in place :)

I filled in the missing bits of plywood and called it good for the week.


As I mentioned last week, I finally ordered our chicks. They were hatched Monday and we picked them up at the post office Wednesday morning. I ordered 30, in the hopes that not too many would die and we would have at least 25 to put in the freezer come harvest day. That would give us one chicken every other week for a year (our current consumption rate) or one chicken every week for half a year. Since I'd like to do another batch of chicks this fall, that would allow us to eat one chicken a week for a full year (our preferred consumption rate).

cute little fuzzball just home from the post office

 I thought this bin would make a great brooder until I put 30 chicks in it and realized it was too small for that many chicks.

So I divided the group between these bins, which are working out a lot better. Though the sides aren't as tall and I'm worried about the chicks hopping/flying out as they get bigger. I'll probably have to make a screen top to cover the bins to keep the chicks in. We're still using the heat lamp, but I unplugged it for the pictures because heat lamps wreak havoc with picture quality.

The feeders and waterers are sitting on a 2x4 framework covered with plastic mesh. This helps keep the feeders and waterers cleaner (fewer shavings tracked/kicked in) and also keeps the bedding cleaner and drier.

We lost three chicks the first two days, but none since then, and are hopeful that we can keep these alive and healthy.

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