My last blog was a little bit shorter than usual, but that was manly because we were in the middle of a bunch of stuff and really nothing was finished.
And, with all this rain keeping me and Eddie from doing much outside I decided to devote this whole blog to the chicken coop business.
David and everyone was very helpful with lots of advice and many web sites to research.
Once I had a couple of designs picked out, I got our handyman over and we began. If I was giving advice, two things pop up immediately.
1. Get someone who has carpentry skills. I know this is the DYI world now, but had I tried to do this alone, I would have been at this a week. We worked 12 hours straight on the 1st coop we did and I couldn’t imagine doing it by myself.
2. No matter how well you prepare there will be hidden costs/ things you didn’t think about. For us, we have been back time after time for hinges, bolts and hardware. Even when we bought extra. We also have a pile of scrap and salvage to dig from, and it still was more of a cost on certain things than we expected. And, we had my dad’s 80 years of lumber, hinges, and hardware to pull from.
But regardless, we got it going. Just keep that in mind from one novice to another.
The 1st tractor we built we are thinking 5-6 chickens, probably 5. We made it long, but thin so it could fit through the rows in a garden if so desired. It is heavier than we expected, but still light enough my dad was able to move it, but was too unwieldy for him to turn. Stevie (the handyman) made the access door to the nest in the back rest on the long handles so when you opened it you can put your egg basket down and not have to hold it.
He also made a bigger door in the front to be able to add/ remove chickens, add/ remove waterer- or whatever else may need. We also put clasps on both doors to keep animals out.
All in all we pulled a 12 hour day, start to finish, but got it done.
The second coop we are building for a Grow participant who only wants 2 or 3 chickens. We used the “ark” a-frame design which is much lower to the ground. It is still 5 or so feet long, but used much less wood than the first model. We are also going to put it on wheels, but it is too wide at the base to go through a garden row.
We put 6 hours in for it, and in about 1 more hour we will finishing wiring and wheeling it.
We plan on building 1 more ark, converting a garbage bin to a tractor, and then working on the HUGE pvc tractor design we got from backyard chickens.com.
Will post more about them next week I hope- we built the ark in the rain (irony?) but we would rather have a sunny day for our next project day.