We’re almost-but-not-quite-finished with the chicken coop and run, but I couldn’t wait to go ahead and show some photos of our progress.
We don’t have the permanent top on the run yet, but we threw some netting up there so the girls could venture out in the daytime under supervision. Today was the first day they went out. It took them a few minutes to get up the courage not to freak out and rush back in after every little noise, but now they’re thoroughly enjoying the sunshine, the grass, and the few handfuls of scratch grains I tossed in for them. The white powder on the corner of the run? That’s the pricey food-grade diatomaceous earth Ethan spilled by stepping on the bag. Awesome.
This is a shot of the exterior back of the coop. You can see the plug for the heat lamp (which I am still plugging in on cold nights because a) I’m a big softie and b) we have a little white runt who isn’t quite feathered out yet but who is miserable when I isolate her from the bigger gals) and the nest boxes with outside access to the eggs once the girls start laying – hopefully by September.
Here are the next boxes from the inside – no bedding yet. We don’t want to give anyone the idea these are a good place to sleep:
One of my main concerns was venting. I wanted to be absolutely sure we had as many vents as possible available to open (as you will see, the girls make a huge mess), but I also wanted to be able to close them up during inclement weather (I almost said ‘foul’ weather there, foul/fowl, get it? but couldn’t bring myself to do it). Here, Ethan models one of the side doors without and with its removable vent panel.
Inside we have the roosts, already showing, ahem, “signs of use” and the aforementioned heat lamp. I have to say it’s mighty cute to go out there at dusk and see them all lined up together along the roosts. Also cute is the way the entire structure glows red from the lamp in the dark. It should be particularly interesting when the local sheriff’s deputies show up wanting to know what the hell that glowing red thing in the back yard is.
Now for the gross part. The girls have been cooped up (okay, haha, had to do that one) for a couple of days in order to train them that yes, this is home, and they should return to it to roost. As such, they’ve been making a gigantic mess and I haven’t cleaned it up yet because they were already skittish about being outside for the first good length of time without me going in there with scrub brushes and the like. So you’ve been warned. The good news is that a lot of what you see below is actually food crumbles. I don’t anticipate them spending a lot of time in the coop other than sleeping and the occasional wandering in for a snack, so I’m hoping this will improve but if it doesn’t, well, they’re animals after all.
Here we have the view down the ramp out into the run. The girls had no trouble negotiating the ramp with the rungs – with the exception of the little white runt, who was very hesitant about it altogether, and then when she started down, well…she sort of went skiing down the slope, wings flapping. I’m sure she’ll get it eventually.
Their food and water is also housed in the coop, but I took it out for the photos. Lest you think the girls have been mistreated and aren’t being spoiled as they should be, take a look at this somewhat blurry photo of the corn cob leftovers they picked clean last night:
Now if I can just train the dog not to aggravate me half to death wanting to go outside and terrorize the chickens by running in circles around their home, we’ll be in business.