Adventures with Chickens, S1 E5 “Coop: Now with More Roof!”

Greetings.

I confess that I have  been lax in my updating of this blog. I plead heat exhaustion: It’s all I can do to move from the couch to the refrigerator and back in +100 degree heat. Imagine how the chickens must feel.

Two weeks ago, our roofing finally came in, and Tony proceeded to swear colorfully when he realized that he didn’t order enough pieces. In his defense, he’d assumed that the order would come sandwiched between two “throw-away” pieces (like most orders did when he worked for The-Company-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named). So he installed what we did have, and scavenged for a piece to fit over the end of the run until the new order comes in some time in early August.

Almost done!

We also want to give a shout-out to BackYard Chickens, and to the original designer of the Wichita Cabin coop from which we adapted our design. Great resources!!

SHINY!

Yes, that is foil-backed Johns-Mannville foam-core insulation. We have a tiny Habitat ReStore in town, and they sold us 2 sheets for $4. Score!

Happy at Home

We stopped weighing the chickens a couple of weeks ago–they wouldn’t stay on the scale, and insisted on flying around the living room, to the delight of our three cats. They’re still travel-sized (my guess is that they’re weighing in at about a pound a piece, since their weight gain was a steady half ounce daily for the first month we kept track).

Here they are today, at 8 weeks:

The Ladies at home. Note the wallow: Paver sand is great for dust baths!

One addition Tony made: a water catchment system. The gutter is piped into a blue 5-liter rennet jug (free from Gibbsville Cheese), run through a home-made sand filter (the tall PVC pipe), and piped into the run. We’ll dismantle it when it gets cold, but for now, it’s working great.

Metal roof, with the gutter (with guard) running into the rennet jug.

Tony has promised to do a post on the making of the system. If enough people are interested, I’ll dragoon him into doing it sooner rather than later. Let us know in the comments.

Filter (pea gravel, pool sand, and activated charcoal, about $8) and PVC (FleetFarm for about $8) with poultry nipples ($2 on eBay).

I’m really proud of how much salvage went into the making of this coop. The framing 2x4s we had to get from Menard’s, but every other piece of wood on this coop came from an older salvaged building.The windows are poured glass–seriously. Tony found crates of it in the attic of his workshop. If we’d been able to salvage enough of the metal roofing, we would have, but the buildings on the property are still very much using it, and I don’t think our landlady would have liked to come in and find her shed dismantled and remade into a chicken coop. I think she’ll like the eggs, though.

So yes, the adventure continues…it’s just a lot more sedate. They’re still chicks yet (though every once in a while I get a hen-sized cackle out of one of them, usually when they’re startled). They still peep charmingly as the wander around the yard under our watchful eyes. I’m glad we got them.

And FYI, the thermometer on the back of the house reads 106.2 at 3:15 pm.

UGH.

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