Today is the last day of the recycled chicken coop saga. And I promise, after today, no more chicken talk for the rest of the week! So far, we’ve cleaned the old building and then performed a bit of construction to get things in order. After putting up all the siding, we moved to the inside of the building for Phase 3: Details.
Because the old floor boards were really bumpy and rough, we put a new layer of OSB board down over top. Then we fixed the old window so that it actually closed (an important feature in a window, don’t you think?) and could swing up to allow maximum air into the coop during hot weather. The outside of the window area is covered with chicken wire to prevent predators from getting in while it is open. Oh, and we also put some in some insulation to help out during these cold Wisconsin winters.
Apparently, chickens produce a lot of moisture and if their house is too closed up, it can lead to lots of respiratory problems. So after making it as snug as we could, we cut three holes in the wall and added some vents. This way they will have fresh air circulating but no drafts that can lead to little chickie colds. We also built the little chicken door that will let them go from the coop to the run.
We also “borrowed” a door from another old building and a handle from another. Then we were ready to put something on the walls inside. Our original plan was to use more of the siding off the old farmhouse but it takes so long to carefully pull it down, measure cut and then nail each little piece. And we were out of time. The chicks were here and would need the coop in a few weeks. So we bought some more OSB board and used that to cover the walls.
Now, just so you don’t think my only job was photo-taker, let me tell you the two important things I had to do. First was to hold my foot like this while Josh hammered the board into the bottom stud:
This was a dangerous job for only the most skilled. I’m privileged to be the official board-pusher-against-the-waller (or so he told me). My other title was nail-hander-overer. I had to put a bunch of nails in my pocket and hand them to Josh exactly TWO at a time. ONLY TWO. Once I made a mistake and handed him THREE. He stopped what he was doing, looked down at his hand and then looked at me like I had just given him dog poop or something. “You always give me two at a time,” he said incredulously. (I attribute this to the fact that I rarely make mistakes, you know, being almost perfect and all.) As you can see, he’s a very demanding employer.
But we finally got all the walls done!
We were able to complete one last thing this weekend: a little box on the floor around the door. It is supposed to help keep the bedding in the coop when you open the door so you don’t waste as much falling out onto the ground. Or that’s the theory anyway.
We still have a few other things like building a roosting area, hanging the water and feed containers and putting bedding down but those shouldn’t take long. (We’ll fix up the old nesting boxes and install them later since they don’t need them for another three months.)
Our plan is to take the little chicks on day trips to their new house next week. They are almost fully feathered but it still gets pretty cold at night and I don’t want anything to happen to them. The big Craigslist windows face the south and let in a lot of light. On a sunny day it gets pretty warm in there even when the temperatures outside are cold. We’ll also temporarily hang a heat lamp to give them any additional warmth they need.
I am a little concerned about transitioning them from the coop back to the house due to changes in temperature but in theory the coop (with the heat lamp and southern windows) should be the same temperature as our house so it shouldn’t be a problem. But who knows – it’s all theory at this point, right?
This was our first big project and I think we did really well. Not everything is perfect but then again, it doesn’t have to be. We learned a lot and we feel good about recycling and reusing much of the material that we had around the farm. Saving money, saving the world and getting fresh eggs – sounds good to me!