You know, considering I lived the first five years of my life in a renovated chicken coop (it's a good little first home that is still being lived in), I guess I really shouldn't be surprised that I have come full circle back to my roots and now have a coop and chickens of my own. :)
It's been slow and taken what has felt like forever, but I guess in all it was only about two months ago that we first started building our chicken coop. As mentioned in the last post, for cost and environmental reasons, we opted to build the core of our coop from shipping pallets. It was a daunting task to begin with, since we were complete building novices, and the result isn't perfect, but we learned a lot and are happy with the functionality of our coop.
We started out with 9 cinder blocks for a foundation and to lift it up off the ground. The next layer was made of four pallets. The third layer--the floor--is made of two hardwood boards that I painted with linseed oil to add some natural protection and waterproofing.
Next, we started putting in the walls, also made of pallets...
The advice I received overwhelmingly from veteran chicken owners was to make the coop big enough to walk into (for ease of cleaning), and to make it larger than we currently need it. So that's how I drew up the plans. I also wanted to include storage space within the coop so that we would have a protected, convenient place to keep chicken feed, pine shavings, etc.
Finally, at long last, we got to the point we could put up the outside walls. I was originally hoping we could pry boards off some pallets to put in the spaces on others, as I'd seen others do on the previously mentioned building with pallets websites. But measurements didn't line up as well as I thought they would and we quickly realized that removing boards ruined the pallets for further use. Since time was also an issue, we had to bite the bullet and go buy more lumber.
Then my husband added the roof and cut the chicken door. Getting to that point was so exciting! (It felt like maybe we really would finish.)
Next, I installed the insulation inside, which fit easily in between the pallet slats. (We live in the coldest region of our state and we want our chickens to be as comfortable as possible outside in the winter.)
Once the insulation was in, we put up the inside walls. (Note: the boards for the inside walls are thinner and made of cheaper material than what we bought for the outside.)
My husband cut the vent hole and installed a vent that looks like the ones in our house (it was extra and we've never needed it, so we though, why not use it for the coop?). Now there is good air circulation, which is a key component of building a good chicken coop.
Our knowledgeable and experienced neighbor came over a couple Saturdays ago to help my husband roof the coop. We are indebted to him for sharing his power tools with us and giving of his time to help us with this project.
At last, the finished coop! There are a few things that still need to be tweaked, mostly inside, like putting foam insulation in a few cracks here and there, but it's functional and enclosed. Once the chicken run is finished, our chicks will have nothing to complain about. :) What an exciting evening that was when I could finally move the chicks out to their new home!
They are so much happier with all their new space, and so am I!