the chicken coop: part une

ah, the chickens.

in all truthfulness, the chickens have outgrown their bucket.
as of this weekend i have put them outdoors during the day and let them roam the yard until nightfall. put their water outside, scatter their feed in various chicken-friendly locales, to encourage them to forage and do their chicken thing.

my quest for a coop has been a long and thought-intensive one.
(i was sketching coops since...my fourth week on the job?)

from my reading, the essentials of a coop include:
1. at least 2 sq. ft. per chicken
2. roosts: 9" per chicken
3. nesting boxes: 1 for every 4 chickens
4. ability to be cleaned
5. ability to get sunlight
6. ventilation
7. food & water

the non-essentials include:
1. moveability
2. electricity
3. kitsch factor

i am unwilling to buy a coop, they are frightfully expensive.
and, ideally, i am unwilling to have a shoddy coop.
i want my coop to look like someone else built it for me, but not at the price.

while in portland i picked up some windows, hinges (both decorative and functional), and a handle at the Rebuilding Center. with those few pieces in hand, i spent this last week scouring the internet for something do-able, manage-able, and functional.

after ridiculous amounts of deliberation,
i settled on something along the lines of this:
a 4x4x4 A-frame coop with matching 8x4x4 run. so that the girls would have access to the outdoors while still being contained, and then allowed to roam free when weather (and my presence) permitted. windows on one side, an outdoor roost on the other, with two ends being removable for ease of cleaning.

i scouted out scrap wood at my place and my parents.
mostly 2x4's and plywood.
the biggest hassle has been locating a saw. my grandpa has one but apparently will only cut the wood for me. my parents have one but my mom didn't think she could lay her hands on it. i have one, but its not electric and hand-sawing a 2x4 does not sounds like fun.

sawless, i have spent a lot of my time pondering how i will make the cuts once i have one. as mentioned, i don't want it to look shoddy and the quickest way to shodsville (in this girl's town) is poor planning. so precision is key this time around and that requires a lot of thought.

i made no progress on the coop over the weekend, too daunted and hungover. yesterday i went to review the plans, and completely changed my mind. why?
1. i didn't think the girls wouldn't have enough space in the A-frame
2. i was worried about my abilities to cut wood at angles
(thus jeopardizing the quality of my finished product.)
3. the roost situation seemed not good enough.

now the plan is to go with something like this:
since its not A-frame I think the chickens get more total room, and there is plenty of room for roosts. my version will be 5x4x4 (i think), with one door, one set of nesting boxes on the right, windows on the left, and a roof that can be lifted for cleaning. it still sounds like a lot of work, but it will be roomier and less angled.

keep your eyes peeled for part 2.
and wish me lots of luck!

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