Chickens (kycklingar)

Completed chicken coop made with red oak and maple.
Completed chicken coop made with red oak and maple.

It has been a busy two weeks. I don’t write as much when life is crazy. Susanna got her green card and a full time job last week. They wanted her to start training this week, and she hasn’t even finished her last job. The boys start school and soccer this week.

I had been working on building a chicken coop and run. I told myself that I should finish one project before starting another project. Of course I don’t always listen to myself. For a month or so, Susanna and I had been planning on refinishing the living room floor this weekend. Of course things change. A new job. The boys’ schedule. Maybe in hindsight we should have pushed off the floor for a bit. But we didn’t. So I took a break from the chicken coop and over the weekend we finished the floor. The final coat went on last night. But I will save that for a later post when I can get good pictures of the floor. And I’m pretty sure it was worth doing the floor.

The chicken coop was finished yesterday and we picked up chickens from Mark and Jessica Matkovich this afternoon. The coop is 3′ x 8′ and is made from maple and red oak. The wood I had picked up for building the floor in the garage for the wedding, so was free. The shingles are left over from when the previous owner sided the workshop. I had some wire fencing left. The only materials I purchased for the coop was the chicken wire.

The wood was pretty wet when I milled it, so I plan on letting the coop dry for a couple of months and then painting it to match the house.  I have to build a new compost bin (so I can take down the compost bin to the left of the coop) and build a bigger run for the chickens. I hope to finish that next weekend. But for now, the space should be enough for the 4 chickens.

I will have to add some more trim to the coop, and maybe another hinge to support the top. Susanna and I plan on trying to keep track of expenses to see how long it takes to pay off the investment for the coop.

So far our investment in the chickens:

  • $30 for chicken wire
  • $36 for a feeder, feed and bedding (I didn’t want to use the wood chips from milling the coop for the birds – the lumber wasn’t clean enough).
  • $3 for golf balls to encourage the chickens to use the nesting box. Plus they will offer entertainment for me when I mow over them in the yard after the boys leave them around when playing with them.
  • The wood, screws, and roofing was free (existing materials).

The boys are very excited about the chickens. Susanna not so much. But we will get eggs (hopefully soon) and they should help compost table scraps.

My plans are to add a 4′ x 12′ covered run for the birds. This will give 24 square feet of coop space and 72 square feet of run. The compost bin will be at the far end of the run. I will move the feed and water into a protected part of the run – or at least the move the water out where it is easier to check and fill. I may replace the watering system with one that is easier to keep clean – hopefully thanks to the Sawyer farm.

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