What makes a good coop? You could spend much time and money working on the outside but if you ignore the inside and the details you wont end up with a very good coop. After all, what good is a pie without the filling? The crust is delightfully flakey, but without the filling it’s just not a pie.
Designing the inside of our coop took some time and thinking into what would make the best use of our space and be the most functional for us in our situation here. We took pieces from many different ideas, countries and even past experiences to come up with our design for the inside of our coop and run. Now that the building itself is complete we have begun working on the run and details of our coop.
The chickens have been hard on our plants around the yard, especially the young tender herbs and trees (not to mention the garden which we temporarily fenced off using chicken wire to keep them out). So our number one priority has been to finish the run and coop doors to simply contain the chickens while we complete the details. I love chickens running around my yard but they will in the end have to limit their foraging to an hour or so in the evening to minimize the damage they do to our plants, which are also important. Up until now they have been living in our pump house at night and laying their eggs in the bushes.
So with the priority of minimizing damage in mind, we focused our efforts on completing the run this last weekend. We were able to get all of the boards around the run buried, the chicken wire nailed and stapled up and the doors to the run on. We still need to finish covering the run to protect our flock against the birds of prey here and bring in more sand as a ground covering. Sand will be friendly on the bird’s feet and most importantly allow for drainage with our heavy rains without getting overly muddy, otherwise you have a swamp on your hands and lots of problems (Including possible stuck birds and with the driver ants that come out after rains, that could mean a very slow and painful death for one of our chickens).
We haven’t really begun the work on the inside of the coop, other than making the nest boxes so our small flock would have some place to lay their eggs right now. I knew what I wanted so I drew up the designs and gave Dave the measurements. He whipped them out in no time before we started the work on the run itself. They started laying in them right away, even before we had moved them into the coop from the pump house.
I also have been thinking about what I wanted on the inside of our coop. I knew that I wanted several roosts and a poop board underneath that but I wanted a more efficient use of the space then taking up a third of the house for this. So, because our coop is so tall I decided to do the roosts on the upper half with a poop board below that that doubled as a roof for a brooder/introduction pen for mammas or new flock members on one half and the dry-feed feeder can be suspended from the other half. In the end it is a much more efficient use of the space and hopefully will work out well.
Another new, though possibly temporary, addition to the homestead is our rooster. We wanted a rooster around to have fertile eggs, in case one of our local hens decide to go broody. I would probably use an incubator, but was unsure if with our power situation would be stable enough to support the constant power draw (though small). It is and I may look into getting one in the future though I will always prefer a broody who does all the work for you.
So with how things are coming along I went ahead and put in an order for our chicks which will take about three to four weeks for them to arrive here. We should have most of the run and coop finished before they arrive. There are plenty of details to nail down inside the coop like windows being covered in wire and shutters added, wire added all the way around the top and a few more things in the coming weeks but now that the walls are complete progress will be quick.