The Chicken Wire

21 07 2009

Hey Chicken People!  This week’s Chicken Wire features Jenn’s urban flock and coop from the Pacific Northwest.  I thought it would be cool to see some before and after photos as well as a different style of coop.

Coop-intendedspot

This is a “future home of the coop” shot.

Coop-runcompleted

This is the completed coop.  It’s a two story, with the roost and nesting boxes on the top and the chicken run on the bottom.  This coop was built to help shelter the hens from the rain and weather in the Pacific Northwest.  The two story construction is super space efficient and allows the hens somewhere to run and hang out where they aren’t going to get wet.

Coop-interiorwithsideopened

Here’s a peek into the top of the hen house.  It’s got a nice high roost, a folding door that allows the chicken owners to open it up in the limited side yard space and some very cool clear pannels to protect from the weather and to let in the sun when it’s shining.  The drawer on the bottom of the hen house facilitates easy cleaning.

Coop-underfromrun

This is the bottom of the coop.  It has a roost bar, on the right, and more food and water.

Sept2008download261

 Here is some of the lovely flock that enjoys this neat coop~  from left to right they are Nugget, Dumpling, Gwen, and Tribble.  Nugget is a Rhode Island Red, Dumpling a Barred Rock, Gwen a Black Sex Link, and Tribble a Black Australorp.

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One response

21 07 2009
JennsPeeps

Thanks for featuring our coop and our girls! Thought I’d give an update of how the coop has fared, since it was our first foray into coop construction and we have since learned a lot about what works well and what could use improvement. We live on a small-ish city lot in western Washington. Our city has no limits on hens but does not permit roosters. We have neighbors on all sides.

We love having the clear top here in the PNW, with our cloudy winter days. In the summer it does mean, however, that the girls wake up around 5:30a and complain to be let out. It also means that our neighbors get a clear view of the hens, which they enjoy. Luckily for us we have good neighbors who like the hens.

The roost under the coop needs to be reinforced. We didn’t know that chickens are such prodigous diggers. They dug out next to the support and it has fallen over. We made the sides of the coop’s “bottom story” removeable for easy access. The chickens sit on it quite a bit during the winter as it allows them to get up off of the wet ground. This is particularly important for our banty cochin, who intensely dislikes our wet weather.

My fiance used heavy duty drawer slides so that we can pull out the feeder. Waterers are not meant to be hung and the handle eventually broke. Being able to hang the feed out of the rain has been great and I highly recommend it!

Living in the city, we are always aware of the potential dangers of raccoons and possums. We use carabiners and hasps to secure the coop doors and night and have never had a predator loss. We are vigilant about locking up the chickens at dusk, since our run area is not predator proof.

The folding doors have pros and cons. I’m 5’8″ and the doors are around 5’4″ tall. Cleaning the coop does mean bending over so as not to hit my hear. We plan to replace the doors with sliding doors at some point in the future. We installed a 2×4 across the bottom of the coop opening to prevent the litter from falling out, and that has worked very well.

Another thing we want to do before the coming winter is to add another area in the run that is protected from the elements. Our home is located on clay, so drainage is a problem. Wet chicken feet = unhappy & unhealthy chickens.

Dumpling our BR in the photo, died on 3/25/09. She was a sweet-natured chicken and we still miss her.

Finally, I have a confession: we don’t have 4 hens in the coop any longer. We’ve since expanded our urban flock to include 10 birds: 3 of the original 4 (pictured) and another 7. Curry (BO) & Croquette (BA) hatched on March 16, 2009. They are feed store girls. The other 5 – Dozer (BR), Beaker & Scooter (crested polish), Animal (blue cochin), Miss Piggy (BA) – hatched on April 27, 2009 and came from http://www.mypetchicken.com. It’s a tight fit but they all have a spot on the roost with space to share. Here’s a photo of the newest additions:

Be sure to check out the “Lessons Learned” at the bottom of my BYC page and feel free to contact me (JennsPeeps) on http://www.backyardchickens.com.

Happy chickening!

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