Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the coop ~ new stairs and the chicken run

This picture is the back side of the coop, already finished, except for the windows, notice it's 2 story, the chickens go through the bottom door when we let them out to pasture.  The picture of the stairs below is the front of the coop still unfinished. 
We are still working on our chicken coop, it has been a work in progress, to see the process go here.  Back in February over several nice weekends J built the simple rectangular forms and poured the concrete stairs.  We let them cure for a couple weeks then assembled each stair with drilled rocks in between (just for looks) we also put special smaller rocks embedded into the ends of each stair.  If you wondering why we do so much concrete, ie decks, fence posts, stairs, etc,  it's because we live in the rainy NW and wood rots quickly here.  This way the stairs won't get slippery and will last for years with no maintenance,  concrete is an easy medium to work with, and lasts for a lifetime.   He also found a rooster mold at Goodwill and cast that into one of the posts for fun.

The chicken run is the safe zone for the chickens, this is their yard that we built to give them some freedom, but still keep them safe.  We dug down almost a foot to lay the wire and prevent dig ins, and then filled in with gravel.  All the posts are metal t-posts, and the corners are several posts forming strong corners.  We put wood around the top to staple the top chicken wire onto.  The top is fenced with chicken wire that I sewed together 4 long pieces of the wire and is held in place with several long cables pulled tight and metal posts pushing the middle up (kind of like a circus tent).  It's rugged and doesn't look the prettiest, but it works.  Someday I envision climbing roses and plantings around it to add some beauty.  For now I'm just happy that no racoons can climb in to get them, and no owls or hawks can make air raids.  One thing if I had to do the chicken run over would be not putting gravel on the inside around the base, only big rocks they can't move with their scratching.  I have been raking small rocks and gravel that they spread everywhere with their scratching, looking for bugs.  I am slowly gathering big rocks from around the property and putting them around the inside and outside of the base of the chicken coop.  We also made sure to situate the run to have morning sun, and to be able to drain off excess water, it is on a slight hill, with all the rain we've had so far this spring, we could have ended up with giant mud puddles.  They're all running along beside me in this picture asking to come out and play, so they can run around.


Glenda said...

Do you chickens every leave that enclosure?
Wouldn't grass have more bugs?
Below the pic of your coop you said "when we let them go out to pasture", does that mean they can get out to the grass occasionally?
Great coop.


Jewel said...

Yes, we let them out all the time to eat grass, this is just their home and yard to keep them safe from predators at night and when we can't keep a good close eye on them. We have 2 dogs that we put out on chicken duty to keep close watch of them. One get's tied close to the coop, and the other one a little further out gets
put on a zip line. For good eggs, chickens needs pasture to forage and free range.
Thanks for the comments Glenda, nice to have you visit us.