We worked hard all last weekend, but the wind was a big hindrance to us, especially on Saturday. It was so bad that Mark actually had to drop the sheet of plywood he was moving, it was dragging him along with it like a sail. It wasn’t so bad in the morning when we got going.
First thing we did is remove the tarp that was stapled to the barn opening. What fun that was! Through the years, we have had many incarnations of wind blocks in our open barn plan. We’ve had plain opaque plastic tacked to the frame, we’ve made removable frames from the same plastic, we have had tarps tacked up. All of them have become shredded with the wind and ironically, this tarp that we wanted gone, didn’t want to come down! We had to cut the tarp around the staples. Murphy’s Law, I guess. The photo below is the opening with the tarp removed and a front view of Mark, who says all the pics I take of him working have him bent down and from the back.
I just don’t know how we would have gotten all this work done without the help of the chickens. Or maybe that’s the reason we didn’t get it all finished. They really do a great job of getting all the creepy crawlies out of the way. I’m sure the egg yolks from that day were a little darker in color. I just love those fluffy butts!
Below, we have all of the back wall frame up, the front frame set into the barn wall and the sides up without the inside supports. Because of the slope and where the plywood sheets were going to sit, we decided to put the side supports in after we had the first sheet of plywood installed to get an accurate placement for nailing.
I also should mention that having the right tools for any job makes that job easier and faster. We are lucky enough to have all these tools because we built our own house with the help of my dad and 3 of my brothers. They came up from Louisiana for a few months to work on it. You can see our nail gun and our chop saw in the above photo. We were also working with a circular saw, a large level, a small square and a hammer.
Below is a photo of Mark tacking down the plywood on the roof.
Yay! We have walls and a roof!
And here’s one from the inside of the barn. I think this was taken Sunday morning, because I have a support brace on the inside right side. You can also see the chicken’s feeder hanging from an eye hook. I put in a number of hooks to be able to hang the water and food in a spot that wouldn’t get soiled. I’ve also put some horizontal supports for roost into the back wall.
Finally got all the walls up and the inside supports for the left wall. We decided to have an earth floor so I put down some sand. I want to work on having a floor that will support healthy organisms and I hope that will keep our chickens healthy. In the future, I will bury some wire on the outside of the coop edges at some future date. Mia does a good job of keeping predators away and we do have a perimeter fence that is electrified. I have never seen the chickens show any sign that they’ve been frightened and I hope that means nothing is trying to get in. I do think that the size of the alpacas probably also deters small predators.
I decided to use 5 gallon buckets for their coop nest. I think I saw them used on Backyard Chickens, though I did not use them in the same way. The buckets were cheap and they really are the perfect size. I had to build a support system that would keep the buckets up and in place but would also allow me to take the buckets down easily for cleaning.
The bottom three buckets are stationary. I put in a 2×6 ledge that will keep the eggs and hay from falling out and give the chickens a place to walk around while they are choosing which nest they want to use. The two top buckets are attached with wire to keep them angled back a little and from rolling off. There’s also a 2×2 roost in front of the nests.
The photo below shows the roost. I have 2 roost built from 2x2s and one roost that goes along the back side of the coop made from a 1×4. I wanted them to have a choice of perch sizes. This is somewhat temporary. In the future I will be putting in some ladder roost.
We were not able to finish up the front walls on Sunday, so we draped a heavy canvas sheet across the front to keep most of the chickens in over night. Monday morning I was at the barn early working on the chicken wire. I decided not to use hardware cloth and use chicken wire instead, because this coop is mostly to keep the chickens in one place to lay their eggs and to keep Mia from eating those eggs. At this time, we are not concerned about predators getting to them. In the photo below you can see the food hanging from an eye hook and the trash can that contains their food under the nesting buckets. The heated waterer was just too heavy to hang with the chain I have. Something to take care of soon.
And here it is with the chicken door and the very temporary human door.
We still have a lot of work to do on it. We need to put paper, flashing and shingles on the roof. We need to build a real door and there is a lot of trim work that needs to go in everywhere, but for now it’s serving it’s purpose and the first morning after all the chickens where in, we got 13 beautiful eggs.
Please do leave a comment with your thoughts or even ideas about improving it.