First, I trolled the interwebs to find as much scrap wood as I could, hitting the jackpot when one well to do family decided to take down their perfectly fine fence to build another perfectly fine fence. I guess that's how the other half lives. No worries! I'll be there to reap the spoils of their throwaway existence!
After foraging as much scrap as possible, I headed to your local McClendons, where the very nice lady in the hardware section explained to me that I've been using the wrong screws this whole time and directed me to the wood screw section. She assures me they will go through wood "like butter" and boy-howdy, was she right! How is it that I have never known that there are different types of screws?!?
Armed with wood, screws that work on wood, a new drill and a new miter saw, I proceeded to measure out exactly the dimensions of the current coop. My thinking was to build a mirror image of it off the side and to just take down a wall and join them together. Also - I wanted the two coops to be independent so that when we move, we can take them apart and actually lift them.
Then I proceeded to build. The process took about 2 weeks. If I would've been uninterrupted by the Tot, the house work, soap making and doing laundry, it would've taken me 10 hours all together.
|Add some legs, you kick ass drill, you.|
|A side with a cutout window. I'll add hinges when the weather gets warmer so it can open easier.|
|Let the battle for supremacy begin. Three perches as varying heights.|
|Two become one - joined late last night by sheer will power to get my hens in their new digs.|
|Look at all the space!|
|I think they actually LIKE going in there now - space to move, rest, eat, and perch with impunity. Yay!|
The once place I'm stymied is with the nest boxes. Right now they suspend from the side and the girls (all 9 of them...) use ONE nest box. I've put others in there but no one's interested. They just keep using the one. In the summer, when they all start laying 1 and sometimes 2 eggs a day, they will occasionally deign to use the second box, but in the winter, it's just the one. So I'm torn on how to do that. So - learning from previous projects - I'm going to let it lie for a bit until a bolt of inspiration strikes me. I might need to retool the nest boxes to make them more private. Right now the hens just stare over the partition at each other. It feels almost indecent.
So - chicken coop. Done. Rabbit hutches. Done. NEXT - new chicken tractor. The old one is tired and in need of replacing. Plus - I can make it lightweight and install Training Wheels on the back side to move it around the yard. (There's that bolt of inspiration I was talking about...)