Tag Archives: chooks

COOP Saga…It’s Finished!

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Long time – no type!

I apologize for my sporadic updating. Things have been very busy with the onset of spring. One day it was snowing and 30 degrees, the next 70. A few more fluctuations and it looks like Spring is here to stay! I have to admit, after the crazy polar vortex winter we had, I am glad for the gorgeous weather.

So let me tell you about our coop saga….

We finished the roof and had everything ready to go when a freak rain storm came through, dumping 5 inches of water in a day. We thought that would be a good test of the roofing system we had in place for the coop. You can say that it was a good test…a full collapse occurred! All our hard work and about $200 of roofing materials torn. We had originally bought corrugated tin roofing but took that back and got corrugated asphalt roofing. Logic told us it would be easier to install. Having the coop integrated into our deck, although a great idea has proved troublesome with the roofing. We had installed spacers, 1″ and 2″ to provide a slope to push what water would filter through the deck boards onto the roof. Well…we didn’t take into account that the asphalt roofing would bow and buckle. *SIGH*

So what did we do? We ghetto-rigged it. It’s a semi-permanent solution. We had ran out of other options, so when my husband mentioned just adding a heavy duty tarp to the top of the deck and then laying down outdoor carpet, I had wrinkled my nose. Snobby I guess, but I didn’t like the idea. But we were out of money and couldn’t afford another $200 roofing system to go on top. So off to Harbor Freight for a $20 tarp (with 20% off coupon) and $0.21/sqft outdoor carpet we found on clearance at Lowes (total $40), we tried it. And a few days later the weather cooperated with another 2″ downpour. It worked! The coop was dry.

Which was a great thing since, for as much as I love my chickens, having them in the house was old. Very very old. The chicken dust has been horrible. I HATE IT. Wipe down everything (including walls), see new film of chicken skin dander 10 minutes later. YUCK.

Since only half f the roof collapsed, we left the other side. We can pull it down pretty easily if necessary. See the tarp folded down on the deck? It’s covered on the top by the outdoor carpet but visible from the sides a bit. I am trying not to notice. >.<   Nor the ridiculous amount of cash we paid out.

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And did you all notice the floppy asphalt roofing that is hanging unevenly? We’re considering ways to fix that too. It was surprisingly fragile considering it was roofing. Granted, we suspended it from the decking joists instead of screwing it into a solid surface. Perhaps it would have done better otherwise?

And inside the coop, we took branches that had fallen off of a tree, destined for the fire pit and screwed them into garden timber supports. The chickens love those, and when they get all nasty, we will just replace the branches with new ones for them to explore.

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Want to know how quickly chickens grow? Remember those cute little fuzzy butts I had taken pictures of previously? Well, here’s a picture of them checking out their new digs.

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My “Sweetie” chicken with a “How YOU doin’?” expression as she eyed the camera for treats.

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More to come. More quickly. Promise!

 

Coop Plans

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Today is my first day of unemployment land! All of the area schools are closed again due to that Polar Vortex we keep experiencing, so it will not be representative of my normal week days. Right now my son (10yr old) makes a mess faster than I can keep it clean. My goals are to get and keep the house clean and organized!

One of the things that I have to plan quickly is the chicken coop!  I have 20 baby chicks in my kitchen. Some are still at the fuzzy ball cute stage, and others are starting to look a lot like pullets with real chicken feathers, at 2 weeks old. This means I have 3-4 weeks to build a coop!  Scary that I have that little time, so the plan design is very simple. I’ll make it look cute once it’s up and functional.

Below is the initial plan. According to the 4sqft per chicken, it looks like I might have to make the coop itself a bit larger. This is going to be a huge building!! A lot more cost than I had originally estimated. (Imagine that!) Good thing my loving hubby seems to be pretty flexible about this.

We found a killer bargain at the local Lowes on chicken wire. 50 foot rolls, 48″ tall for $6 each. So we bought 2 – 50′ rolls, and 2 24″x50′ rolls. And 1 roll of hardware cloth for less than $40! I am kicking myself that we didn’t buy more of them though. They had other kinds that I could should have bought.

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When posting the coop idea on a Chicken Facebook page, one of the ladies had an open air coop design like this. Her entire back yard was privacy fenced in though. I would love such an open air plan but I believe that my chickens would get eaten by a raccoon if I did so. I would also worry about the crazy Indiana weather!

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What are your coop designs like? Any feedback on my coop for functionality that I should change while I still can?

The Chicks!

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It’s about time that I posted again. Since I put my notice in at work, things have been hectic. That and there have been two new baby boys in my immediate family and a round of stomach flu in about everyone! So needless to say, blogging has not been in the forefront of my mind.

I gave a 30 day notice in to work. It’s bittersweet. I am thrilled to not have to work anymore but I will miss everyone and my job. For all the stresses it created – and sometimes I came home with little more worth than a lump of blubbering mess due to the stress – I loved my job. It’s just time for me to move on to different things. And what I am about to do is vastly different than before. I was a technogeek at a local college. And pretty darn good at my job. However, as of Friday, I am turning a complete 180 degrees. I am going to be a full-time house mom, mini-farmer, and creator of organic crafts! Oh, and work about 10-15 hrs a week for my brother to help finance my new endeavors.

As part of this, we went down to the local Rural King. To be honest, I didn’t know that this place existed. Or that I would enjoy it as much as I have. Think of it as a mini-Walmart in farming stuff. And guess what they have?! Baby chicks!

We picked up 8 this time and will be picking up another 12 tonight. I am finally ready to get out of the house (stomach bug hit me Tuesday/Wednesday) and so will head there this evening. So to see some of the babies I have so far? They are the cutest! On Monday, we did attend a Chicken Orientation and it has changed my ideas on breeds a bit. I was looking to get a lot of dual-purpose chickens in the effort to become closer to my food source. These girls will be my egg layers and after 2-3 years when they stop laying, chicken stew. What I will do with the next season (this is the changed idea part) is I will raise broilers. Cornish Cross chickens who are ready for harvesting at 6 weeks of age! Crazy to think of that, but if I did it right, I could raise these chickens and get my home-grown chicken meat for the freezer. I would know exactly where my food came from, without sacrificing these other chickens that will no doubt become my pets.

So let me introduce you to my peeps:

At this time I have 2 Golden Lace Wyandottes, 2 Bantans (think mini-chickens, my kiddo fell in love!), 2 Light Brahmas, 1 Jersey Giant, 1 Black Australop. This next round to Rural King, I’ll be buying Rhode Island Reds and Isa Browns for their egg laying skills.

What about you? Do you have chickens? What are your favorite breeds? If you raise meat birds, how do you cope with the harvesting process?

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