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All Cooped Up!

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Last week I shared my latest frugal flop, the carrot and cream cheese lava cake. Now, in the meantime, my little chickies were growing fast and are ready to go outside into the big bad world of foxes, runaway doggies, snakes, hawks and possums.
Out of the 14 chicks we had in the last batch, only 3 are surviving. The rest have been gobbled up by whatever could snatch them through the bottom of the chicken coop wire. (Something even popped the heads off 2 of my hens, NO Kidding!).

So, since the 18 babies are too small to go in with the rest of the chickens (with no "mom" to protect them", I've decided to add a new 8'x'8 Nursery Coop. I found, while attempting to build the previous coop without any help, that 16' walls were too difficult to wrap in wire without assistance.
Since this is a project of my own undertaking and I have to complete it alone, I thought it best to stick with walls that even a Girl can lug herself.

So ladies, here are my directions for building your own Chicken Coop- when you don't have the muscle power of a man to help. (Or don't want a mans help! haha).

20- 2x4x8
5 - 2x4x10
2 sheets 4x8 Plywood
1 50' Roll 72" Chicken Wire
1 25' roll 24" Hardware Cloth
Bunch of Screws

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ID:	1434 First, lay 4 - 2x4x8's out- Since it's a pain in the rear to screw the screws in sideways, I started the screws Before I set the lumber out.

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Size:  97.7 KB If you're also using hardware cloth, measure about 2 feet up, add a 2x4 for strength. Here I stretched the wire as tight as I could (since I had to tackle this project alone!), and attached the hardware cloth on the bottom 2 feet.

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ID:	1436 Once you've completed the 4 walls, it's time to stand them up. I did ask my oldest son to come out for about 15 minutes to help with this part. Unfortunately, as we were standing up the walls, we were hit with a massive Storm which struck the tree we were working beside. You can view the photos here.

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ID:	1437 Next, once the walls are standing, screw them together. Here you can see I've begun adding the rafters. (Simply cut the 2x4x10's in half, angle 1 end of each "rafter" piece based on the pitch you need for your roof.) Since we rarely have snow issues here, my concern was for rain only. You'll need 2 full 4x8 sheets of plywood for the roof. I really REALLY suggest you get help on this one, it was really difficult to walk the plywood up the ladder without help!!!

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ID:	1438 On the front wall I left the bottom (2 foot) opening, 6 feet wide so that I could add a shelter for the chicks. The box was made out of various scraps of plywood that we had laying around from other projects.

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ID:	1439 Here's a view inside the "shelter" area for the chicks. As you can see I built a small removable "shelf" of hardware cloth with a heat lamp setting on the top. I added this because I was concerned about the cool night temperatures and wanted to be sure that if I added heat the hay/bedding that was in the bottom of the box, I wanted a barrier to prevent accidental fire.

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ID:	1440 Here's a view from the inside. I used an old 4x4 post and added a few "perch" posts in various directions.

I did happen to have a partial roll of some roofing paper, so I put that on as well to help keep out the rain. I've been keeping an eye out at the local lumber yards for cheap shingles. On occasion you can purchase a bundle for $2-3.

Another thing to consider, due to the high number of predators in the area, I dug down 6 inches all the way around the entire coup and buried bricks all the way around. This means that raccoons and possums have to dig for awhile to get underneath the coop and inside.

It seems that my chickies are pretty happy in their new home!

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  1. brchbell's Avatar
    We built a nice big chicken coop and then sunk posts at 4 corners around it. Add 2x4's and framed it all in with baby chicken wire including a fenced roof. During the winter we keep them penned in but during the summer we let them roam throughout the day and lock them up at night. I've discovered our ducks do an awesome job chasing things away even the cycotes & Dogs run away from them! Love them free ranging and gobbling up all the bugs around our place!
  2. FreebieQueen's Avatar
    I had mine free range but found that the rattlesnakes and other critters were picking them off 1 by 1 throughout the day. We were losing at least 1 a day.
    Also- how do you control where they lay their eggs? Ours were laying eggs under the stairs, behind the shed, in the woods in the pine spills, etc and every morning its like easter- we're out hunting for eggs. And then wondering "how old" are these. I actually think it was the eggs that drew the rattlesnakes in.
    I'm thinking about building a "tractor" house so I can move them around the yard and let them munch bugs that way.

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