***SCROLL DOWN FOR PART 2: UPDATED 5/28***
We have a great start to what will be our chicken/turkey/POSSIBLY duck area. It has been so much fun having the entire family out there working on this project! Our 8 year old has been amazing to watch. She has been shoveling dirt and rocks and contributing a ton to our projects! Our 4 year old has been a trooper….she busied herself with collecting all of the worms we dug up during our “trenching stage” and playing in our huge field/pasture without complaint. Our 1 year old has been sleeping like a champ out here! 2 1/2 – 3 hour naps every. darn. day. Yeah, that’s what running all over 3 acres will do to you. Plain tuckered out. Here is what we have managed to get together over that last several days;
Here is where the coop will go and our “fowl” area before we did much of anything. You can’t really tell in the picture but there is a decent slope so the plan goes like this; dig a trench, stack cinder blocks, make level, build on top of cinder block footing. Sounds good. Go.
We used an edger to make a rough cut of the trench lines and then made our 8 year old do all the rest of the work. What?
See? She’s fine! You can kind of see how the top right is higher than the bottom left, right? RIGHT? Because there was a whole lot of dirt that was dug out of that top right corner!
Once we had our trench dug out and “mostly” level we tamped it down with a 10″ tamper and started laying the cinder blocks. 60 cinder blocks, by the way, were fork lifted into the back of my husbands Tundra. It was aaawwesome. Okay. We used a 4′ level as we went to make sure everything was level. Not too difficult, just time consuming.
Our 1 year old hates missing any of the action but there’s a few reasons it’s a tad difficult working with her out in the field with us; Uneven terrain = lots of toppling over (think drunk person walking uphill. a rocky hill. a rocky hill with no path, okay now you got it! Not pretty). Also, it’s the very beginning of April and still pretty chilly (but sunny?) here. And stickers. There are these dagone weeds with long fingers full of stickers. I was expecting goat heads, but got these instead, and so I guess that’s a win? It seems more likely I will win the war against them as goat heads are nearly impossible to eradicate once they are established in an area. Anyone want to try to hold a screaming 1 year old still and try to remove an invisible teeny tiny sticker from her little hand? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Anywho, she’s been a real trooper during our long hot building days…she hangs for a few hours and then sleeps a few more, which is basically angelic behavior for a 1 year old. She’s clearly advanced (chuckle, chuckle). Also, that bonnet, right? (I got it from Urban Baby Bonnets, check them out here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/UrbanBabyBonnets)
It took us 2 dang days to dig this trench and get the cinder blocks laid and even. Maybe a bit long, but we have never done this before so we’re learning as we go, and this particular spot has that slope. Stupid slope. Next structure will be quicker!
My awesome hubby framed out each wall over by the garage so he would be able to do the cuts and lay it all out to attach together, then we hauled each section out to the coop area and assembled in place. Somehow no one took any pictures of the walls being put together! He based them off of my drawings and did a fantastic job! I am so proud of him and how far his building and handy man skills have grown since we first got married! Mad skillz.
So this is where we stand with the coop as of now. I’m not sure how much more will be done as a pretty good storm is blowing in over the next several days (boo!). I am still thrilled with our progress and that we can actually start to see how this is going to look! Luckily we still have a weekend before the turkeys come (:O) and then another 6-7 weeks before they can go outside. Chicken chicks arrive May 29th!! Life is goooood!!
**The mention of ducks…I’m being pressured into ducks. That will not happen this year, but I threw the “maybe” in because…well never say never, eh? And also. Ducks. So cute! So….maybe 😉
****PART 2: UPDATED 5/28****
This chicken coop has taken QUITE a bit more time than either of us expected. That said, we are doing our best to think carefully and do everything “right” so we don’t have to re-do anything. I also have specific ideas about each part of the coop and how I want the finished product to preform and look like…Lane and I (ok, mostly him)are working hard to make sure everyone is happy with the final product. So far, everything is turning out as hoped, even if we have had to undo and redo a few things, it’s so worth the time and effort to get exactly what we want. I mean, when it’s your forever home….making everything as perfect as possible is just what you do, and timing doesn’t matter as much because, ya know, it’s your forever home!
Here’s a quick update to where we are now…
*Walls have been framed in and windows and chicken doors all cut out
*We used 1/4 inch hardwire mesh to cover the windows. It’s important to use these specific screws with a rubber washer, to really seal these suckers down to keep hungry predators out of the coop. We have ALL the predators out here so predator proofing the coop was mucho importante.
*We decided to go with tin roofing again. It is affordable, quick, and durable. We also had zero issues with it at our old house. All that is left to do is add a gutter system to the roof, which will happen later this year, because Winter is over now, right? RIGHT?! (Ugh!)
*Floors have been done – side note: when you frame in your floors make sure you measure the width of your plywood and place your floor studs that distance apart. I know. Seems so simple and obvious in hindsight. And it cost us about an hour and a few four letter words. But we prevailed. Because we are homesteaders damnit. We win.
*I decided to go with the super duper cheapo laminate tiles this time to cover the subfloor. Basically I just need something smooth and slippery in order to quickly and easily push all the bedding out the hatch when it’s time to clean the coop (which is approximately every 6 months with the deep litter method we use #winning)
*Roosts are installed. Side story about the huge manzanita limb in the coop…we took that limb from a manzanita bush at Lake Almanor at a cabin that Lane grew up visiting his entire childhood…and then we went once or twice every year while we were dating and for the first six years of our marriage. In fact, we snatched that beauty up the last time we were there, not knowing it would be our last trip. We used it in our first coop as the only roost and now it is in our “forever coop” and reminds us of really beautiful memories made in a very special place.
*I have had a “dream door” basically forever. I mean, don’t you? Think blue painted dutch barn door (swoon!). If anyone has seen Mr. Ed then you know what I’m talking about! Only the door of my dreams was 1,000 times dreamier. And Lane made it a reality. He. Is. Awesome. Check this beauty out!! I used what my kids call “Elsa Blue” because it was left over from our old playroom and I do believe it is PERFECT! Am I right?!?!
And so that is where we are now with our ” Maison de Poulets” and I could not be more pleased with the progress! Our chickens are in and I have been working on a special project in their previous “coop” that I can’t wait to share in this space!
We will be doing the entire siding with the fence pickets you see here around the door. I’m still not 100% decided on the color I want to paint them…I was initially thinking white, but not excited about the brightness of it…and so I think I have settled on a light grey. That should still help keep it cooler in the Summer while still making this magnificient door POP. Excited to be down to the finishing touches and get on full speed with all of the other happenings around the Meyerstead.
We added 11 more girls to our flock last week when we scored a great deal on 5 month old chickens! They should start laying in about a month or so. Our new baby chicks are coming THIS WEEK sometime, which is so hard to believe because I literally ordered them on March 3rd, before we even moved into our new house, almost 3 months ago. LOL. So typical.
Baby Turkeys are growing quickly. They have mostly feathered out and spend their days in the pasture inside the chicken tractor I built when we first moved in here. Baby turkeys, from what I have read, are more temperature sensitive than chickens, so they will stay inside the garage at night until they are at least 7 or 8 weeks and completely feathered out. It’s going to be interesting when the next wave of babies arrive this week… we will have poultry at all stages! Let the good times roll!