Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chicken Coop Progress, Week 11

what the coop looked like at the end of week 10

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent time on the treadmill once last week, did a hike, and ran a 5k. Best mileage week I've had in a long time. I also worked on the coop three days.

the chicks enjoying their new digs

I started out the week by changing the locks on the front of the brooder and attaching new locks to the lid. I ended up using the too small locks I'd originally purchased for the lid for the front, which saved me buying new locks and returning the too small ones.

the non-locking locks

lockable locks

all new locks in place

A friend said he'd install the roof panels for me, so I turned my attention to getting the run started. This proved to be a pain, which I knew it would be. We've done enough digging in our woods to know that it's never easy. And there's a lot of digging that has to be done. Four post holes plus the entire fence line so I can bury the fencing to deter predators. There's a fox den not far away and the neighbors saw a fox just the other morning, so we know there's predators in the area.

Working on the run is such a workout: roots, rocks, roots, clay, roots... I found the post hole digger to be more effective than the shovel for digging out the fence line. The problem is that it's tiring to use. I should have some great arm muscles when I'm done.

marking the fence lines

huge root in the way

I dug four post holes and cemented the posts in place. While those were drying I partially dismantled the brooder and moved it from the west wall to the south wall before putting it back together. It was a huge pain (in my thumb, since it got smashed in the process and I'm probably going to lose the nail again- I lost it after smashing my thumb while putting our bed together) to do, but I want to put the chicken door in the west wall, which I couldn't do with the brooder in the way. Geometry was definitely not my friend that day.

River helping

brooder in new position with tarp suspended over it for protection

I spent part of two days digging the fence line, but still have more to do. It's difficult going and the weather has made it even more difficult. Heat + high humidity = sweating through my clothes within half an hour of getting started. So gross. And physically draining.

posts braced in place, progress being made on fence line

River photobombing from the coop

Saturday our friend and his family came over and we worked on the roof. It took longer than we thought since we ended up putting roof drip flashing around all four roof edges, and I'd only planned on two edges. In the end, we (ok, he) put up the flashing and half the roofing. I stayed on the ground and worked on the fence line in between cutting wood and roof panels and handing them to him. Turns out our friend used to be a roofer and was glad of the opportunity to step away from his desk job and climb around on a roof, even if it was a small one.

half a roof :)

Since we took longer than anticipated, we'll be finishing the roof this coming Saturday. I didn't get the fencing done either, so the chicks are stuck in the brooder for another week, other than their field trips in the dog run (which is now too small for them).  So my goal for this week is to get the run ready to use and put the interior divider in the coop. I need to partition part of the coop for storage of miscellaneous chicken supplies and such and I want a second door between the chicks and the exterior door.

the chicks are in their awkward teenage stage

Because it's taken me so long to finish the coop the chicks are not having the experience I wanted them to have. I wanted them to be able to run around outside and scratch in the dirt and eat bugs, but they've only been able to do so on a limited basis. They're still happier than factory chickens though and our next batch will be able to fully enjoy the fruits of my labors. Everything will be in place and ready for use. It's definitely been a learning experience, especially since they've grown faster than I anticipated.

the end is in sight...

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