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Building a Chicken Coop

It used to be that when there was a big project to be done, we would actually get a babysitter or grandparents to watch the kids so we could "get something done".  Well, I suppose there might be a time and place for that - but now we just think through what the job will entail, and how the kids can "help".

I say "help" in quotes because we all know there are things that can be done faster and with higher quality by grownups than by children.  But that is part of the process.  And what you give up in speed and perfection, you more than make up for in family fun, togetherness, and building a sense of accomplishment in the child.

Last fall, we constructed a chicken coop.  We had had chickens in the past, but the neighbors' dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, was doing her dog thing and hunting them.  We didn't want the neighbors' to have to chain her up, so we went without chickens for a while.

I came up with an idea for a "dog-proof" chicken coop.  And as we began the building process, I realized an error.  In talking over it aloud with Big Dad, Jor Man had an idea - and it was brilliant.  We incorporated his design change into the coop, making it better.  Jor Man still tells people that he designed the coop.  The whole family worked on priming and painting the coop.  It made for some paint in hair - but nothing that a bath wouldn't fix.  When you are not trying to get to school on time the next day, and get homework done, you can be much more flexible with the schedule and work around big projects.

That said, we found it worked best to only do a couple of hours a day on the project at a time.

Here's the finished coop ready for it's inhabitants.  We love having fresh eggs everyday from our wonderful Barred Rock and Speckled Sussex hens.

Wish you were here!


Mommaofmany said...

How many chickens do you have in that size of coop?

paisley said...

We have eight. Seven hens and a rooster. Although, they are really too large for it - if we want them to mostly be pastured. The coop is 8' x 4', so the enclosed area is 32 square feet. We used to have Americaunas, and they were much smaller and would have fit just fine. These birds are huge! Our rooster is bigger than our cat. So we added on another 64 square feet of grazing space. It's just three pieces of 8' x 4' lattice (that we had lying around), hooked together with wire. We attach it to the coop with hooks and eyes. This makes it detachable. After they roost at night, we lock them up and move the two pieces separately. This way they have a total of 102 square feet of fresh grass every morning. We also have a friend who works in a kitchen, and she brings us all their scraps to feed them. :)

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