So, we’ve (mostly) built our chicken coop for Rose & Blanche. They’ve gotten pretty big pretty quickly, so we need to finish their home so they can move outside permanently. Real talk, I’m tired of sweeping up feathers.
As I mentioned in my blog post about building the coop, we are not engineers (obviously). We were able to get most of our lumber free through donated pallets, and we came up with the design as we went.
We kept with our habit of using pallets for the run. By magic and the works of sweet baby Jesus, we ended up with three pallets that were the exact same height. Naturally, we decided to use these as our frame. We stacked them end to end, butted up to the coop, and attached them to each other with wood screws. To keep them from falling, we hammered wooden stakes into the ground, and attached them inside each end with screws.
We purchased another 4x4x8 and cut it in half. We put this on the opposite side of the coop, buried it about a foot down in the ground, and attached it to the end pallet. For the gate to the run, we used a smaller pallet, and attached it to the 4×4 with hinges. I put the other half of the 4×4 on the other side of the gate, buried it in the ground, and attached gate hardware to make it lock. It’s not super sturdy because of the mucky ground from the spring rains, but that’ll do, pig, that’ll do.
To keep animals out and the chickens in, we used metal chicken wire. Most blogs say to use 1/2 inch hardware mesh to keep out snakes, but we didn’t have any on hand. The wire was donated fo’ free, so this is what we are using for now. Also, sweet baby Jesus was at work again, because the wire fencing is the exact same height as our pallets. Dean the menace cat keeps most of the snakes away, so we will see how this works out. We measured the pallets, cut the wire, and attached it with poultry net staples (I call ’em u-nails, but apparently that’s just a country thing).
Since the coop backs up to a pasture, we also attached the wire to the existing chainlink fence to keep out more critters. We used zip ties to attach these, because we had some already in the shop. That fence is on its last leg.
We also attached the wire to the back and underneath the coop. Dean, the demon cat, was trying to stow away in the coop. We will probably have to go back and enclose the top too, but not today.
We needed to add a few more finishing touches to the coop before bringing the Sassy Ladies out. First, we made a ramp so they could climb into the house. We used pallet wood, so the ramp was a little steep. T added some pieces of scrap wood crosswise to be used as steps. How thoughtful. We attached the ramp to the coop so we don’t have any chicken casualties if it were to fall off.
Next, we needed to add a roosting bar. We had purchased some dowel rods, so we cut one to 34 inches, and screwed it in from the outside. Not the easiest task. We probably should have done this ahead of time, since we were basically going in blind. Lots of bickering occurred.
Finally, we thought the coop needed a little touch of personality. We purchased a decorative rooster and attached it to the front of the coop. This is the only rooster that will be inhabiting this coop!
We let Rose and Blanche test out their new digs, and they seem to enjoy it. Of course, they found the one tiny imperfection in the fence and took their chance to escape (seriously, who wants to escape from the place where you have food and water?? Only jerk chickens.) E and B had to scale a fence to rescue them, which was not a pretty sight. T supervised.
So there you have it! The run was much easier to construct than the coop, and we think it’ll mostly keep critters out. If we find we have a snake problem, we can always purchase some hardware mesh and add it on later. Thank the Lord for being finished with this project. We are taking a break from construction for a bit, so we don’t a) kill each other, or b) have to be institutionalized.