Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chicken Coop Progress, Week 9

the coop looked like this at the end of week 8

Last week I did the finish work on the coop. That meant I added the rest of the screws to secure the plywood to the studs, finished attaching the rafter ties to the rafters, swept out the coop, and got everything in order so I could finally start painting.

I painted the interior white to make cleaning the coop a little easier and to make it a little brighter and more cheerful. No dark, dingy chicken coops for us! I used our paint sprayer, but wasn't consistent about checking how thinned out the paint needed to be, so the first coat of paint went on thin and drippy. 

I only wanted to do two coats of paint, so I was much more careful when I was painting the second coat, and it went on much smoother and with better coverage.

I also didn't want to spend time taping off windows, doors, and rafters, so I used a roller on the outside. The paint sprayer is quicker, but there's a lot of overspray and I didn't want red paint inside the coop.

(I forgot to take a picture before I started putting the trim up)

I used the sprayer to spray a couple coats on the trim boards (cheap 1x4s), which was much quicker than rolling them would have been. 

After the trim boards and walls were dry, I started adding the white trim to the coop. I started near the roof line so I can add the roof as soon as I get the materials. I figured it would be easier to put up that trim before the roofing went on. I can put the lower trim up regardless of whether the roof is on.

River decided to "help" me in a moment when I wasn't paying attention.


The chicks are growing fast. At just two weeks old I'm already trying to figure out how to give them more space in their brooders. Possibly dividing them into a third bin? If I can get the roof and windows on the coop I can put one large brooder in there. Dealing with large numbers of chicks (we're still holding strong at 27) adds a degree of difficulty to the normal logistics of caring for them. It's definitely giving me things to think about for our next chicks- I'm still debating a second batch this year and I'm already thinking about next year's chicks, which we'll do in one large batch.

I bought a portable dog run so the chicks could start spending time outside every day. They weren't sure what to do at first, but then they realized how fun it is to be on grass and they had a blast. The bars of the run are far enough apart for the chicks to squeeze through, so we put chicken wire around the run. The first time we put them out I didn't have the chicken wire attached to the run, so we just propped it up as close to the pen as possible. Not pretty, but it worked.

The next day I cut the chicken wire down and attached it to the run with zip ties. It's so much easier to move the run and it's more secure. There are stakes to secure the pen to the ground and it stays in place quite well. We put a fitted sheet on top to give shade and hopefully keep aerial predators out. I'm not sure how much protection it would actually be, but it's better than nothing. I'm still deciding about building a wood framed screen to put on top for more security. 

I was doing dishes today and heard the chicks cheeping louder than usual, so I went outside to see what was going on. A hawk was sitting on the grass next to the pen, eyeballing the chicks. The chicks were huddled up next to one wall, cheeping frantically. When I went outside, the hawk flew off, but it took awhile for the chicks to calm down. The one who was closest to the hawk just sat there for a while, trying to recover. So Sunshine's out on the porch, keeping an eye on them. 

It's quite funny to watch the chicks- they love the space and several of them have taken running jumps while flapping their wings, like they're trying to take flight. One of them really wanted to make a dust bath in the grass, but couldn't quite figure out how. The first time we put them in, several chicks were fighting over a dead leaf one found on the ground.

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