Since we are finally getting eggs, I feel like it’s a good time to talk to you all about my chickens. If you recall, that was my birthday present this year. My husband promised me that we would build a coop.
I had chickens growing up, and was super excited to start this journey as an adult. I began researching- I read books, I joined Facebook groups, and I read probably a hundred blogs. All because I wanted to be super informed. Because I did all of this, I feel pretty good about sharing my knowledge (and what I’ve learned along the way) with you.
Building the coop
Building a coop doesn’t have to be expensive. It is as expensive as you let it be. The most important thing to think of is how many chickens you think you’ll have (take that number and triple it, because chicken math is real). I wanted 6 to 8 chickens, and I now have 20, with plans to possibly get more in the spring.
We took an existing building with a cute little shed attached to make our coop. I have seen other people use dog runs. You can go with a pre-made coop, but they’re smaller, and I have seen a lot of people unhappy with them in the long run.
To start our coop, we bought two 100′ rolls of chicken wire (we didn’t use all of it), several metal fence posts, and used some leftover lumber from when we added on to the house. We built a fence out from the little shed to give a nice run for the chickens. My hubby is pretty handy and built a door himself, but buying a screen door probably would have been easier.
I took cinder blocks that I had found around our property and placed them around the run. We still didn’t have enough for what I wanted, so I drove to Home Depot and bought more. I then filled those blocks with potting soil and planted marigolds around the run.
After building, I turned into a nervous Nelly and bought poultry netting to go across the top of my run. I will never regret this, it’s inexpensive, and keeps my babies protected.
A Place To Roost
Roosting bars is something that I honestly did not remember from my childhood. Did I mention that I had chickens growing up? I think that was the best part of growing up country- all the different animals that I got to experience!
Anywho… The plan was always to reuse and repurpose whatever we could to keep the costs down, right? I probably drove my husband crazy when I suggested pulling a bedroom set out of storage to put in the coop, but I had a vision.
I set the bed up, frame and all, and started planning how to make a roost for my birds. My first plan was to put 2x4s across from the head to the foot of the bed, but it just wasn’t working out. I ended up placing three pallets inside the bed frame- one at the head, one at the foot, and one in the center. I then found some large branches and some 1x4s to attach to the pallets. Oops! I almost forgot to mention that YES, I screwed EVERYTHING into place. I wanted it to be super sturdy.
This has worked like a dream. The chickens don’t always roost there like I would like, but they love hanging out on it and using it as a jungle gym. What I have found is that they are always going to find the highest point they can and roost there. It is what it is. And it keeps them safe, so why worry.
My Nesting Boxes
Remember I said bedroom suit, right??? After bringing the bed out to make the roost, I dragged the dresser and matching night stands out as well.
At this point, you may be like my husband and think that I have lost my mind. I’m pretty sure I have, so this is a fair assumption.
I took the middle drawers out of the dresser, making space for the chickens to be able to get into the bottom drawers. I took the top drawers out of the night stands and attached them to the top of the night stand, creating two nesting boxes out of each night stand. To keep them easy to clean, I did purchase plastic tubs to sit in the drawers. This was by far one of the best decisions that I made! I also got these awesome nesting pads off Amazon to put in the tubs, and my chickens appear to love them.
At the last minute, I decided to attach the mirror to the dresser, mostly to be cute. Remember when I said they go to the highest point they can to roost? That’s where most of my chickens roost at night.
Time To Eat
I have gone through two feeders and a ton of waterers in search of the “perfect” ones. When I only planned to have 6 chickens, a small 2-3 gallon waterer was fine. When chicken math hit though, I needed something larger.
I found a 5 gallon waterer at Tractor Supply and it was “okay”, but filling it, making sure that the bottom was screwed on correctly, and then flipping it back over was the worst. Eventually I started searching for a top fill waterer, and I am so glad I did!
I found this guy on Amazon and absolutely LOVE it! The only problem that I had in the beginning was the legs popping off, but I finally got them in correctly and have had no issues since. It has a little piece that you move at the bottom to cover the water valve when filling up, and once you’re done, you just securely screw the top back on and uncover the valve. This thing is amazing! We have plans to get the matching feeder soon!
In The End
Is it worth it? Absolutely! But there are some things that I would have done differently.
- I would have done a little more research on making the coop predator proof. Walking out and finding a dead hen is devastating.
- I probably would have poured concrete around the run and coop. This would prevent anything from digging in.
- I would have gone with the largest and best feeders and waterers I could afford in the beginning. The small ones I started out with were a total waste of money.
Until next time,