Our quest for four, feathered friends(part 2)

So we had our red sex link chicks in a brooder box, but all too quickly grew from chicks to pullets. They were outgrowing the brooder box, so it was time to make a decision on the coop. We looked for coops online, but we couldn’t find an affordable coop that looked like it could withstand Siberian-like winters.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, everything I read leaned towards building your own, but I could tell the hubby wasn’t very excited about constructing a coop. So to make it a bit more enticing, I allowed him to pick out the plans. We searched endlessly but finally agreed on the “The Daisy.”  The plan originated from, Clean Coops and the cost was $35.00 to download.  It was $35.00 well spent since my hubby is not a woodworker or a tinkerer(and I’m more comfortable in the kitchen).  I printed out all 41 pages and handed the “stack” to him. Oh dear, what did I get him into?

We knew there was no time to waste; we had to get started on that coop in a hurry.  But the weather wasn’t cooperating–where’s spring?  It was a cold and rainy spring so hubby started the frame-work in the garage.

He was able to construct this in two hours. The equipment needed is minimal: power saw and drill, a level, tape measure, t-square, and hammer.
On the first decent spring day, we carried out the framing into the yard. Here he has added the plywood floor and the beginning of the first nesting box.
Looking more like a coop here. The other three walls were framed-in before placement of the front wall and the frame of the roof.  You can see the coop is elevated onto timbers, but we found out later, the height made for difficult egg collection. 
Roof is raised.
Rest of the walls go up and here is the finished nesting box. Inside the box there are dividers forming three equal nests with a hinged lid. We made sure we had quick and easy access to eggs in the am. Differing from the plans, we made only one active nesting box and made the other a storage area. Remember, this coop was designed for 8-12 hens; we are allowed four. 
We kind of jump to the finished coop but here it is(it was a busy spring). . I refer to the coop as the Taj Mahal of coops! It’s equipped with two screened windows, two roosts, a heated water dish, a fan and a convective heater. Notice the sand box on the left; for the girls to take dust-baths.  We purchased an old dog kennel from Craigslist for $250.00 for the chicken run. Between the enclosed foundation of the coop and the run, the chickens have 100 square feet of their own. We keep them in the enclosure while we are gone, and then let them out to roam the fenced-in yard when we are home.  We’ve clipped their wings only once, and had to adjust the fence in certain spots to prevent them from flying over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard.  
My adorable girls. 
Like I said earlier, it was NOT a nice spring.  He was working on that coop in 38 degree weather, so it took longer than it should have; He started building the end of March and finished in early May.  He touched-up and made adjustments here and there until the winter.  I’m not sure I’d recommend doing it this way, but I have to be honest, the quick-growing hens were definitely great motivation. 
The start-up costs for these gals is on the high-end, $650.00 for the coop and run and that doesn’t include extras like the heater, and the heated water bowls(two of them-one inside the coop and one for outside). My hubby used odds and ends from the garage like extra shingles and paint so that helped keep costs in check.  But to be honest, we don’t have these girls only for the eggs. I had read how delightful these girls can be for pets, and I was intrigued. We have had the girls for 10 months, and we have become big chicken enthusiasts.  They each have such a distinct personality, and whoever said chickens are dumb, didn’t know chickens very well.  They are smart and interesting birds with always a lot to say. There’s a youtube clip of a gal going on about how chickens are the gateway farm animal.  Oh, how ridiculous.  
Next blog entry: Raising goats in the city. Not really.