Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Annex

Well, since all 17 chickens have decided to live, despite my care and attention, they needed new digs. They were getting pretty cramped in the coop built for eight. This is the Annex. It adds an additional 32 square feet of coop space and an additional 320 square feet of enclosed run space, giving me over 450 square feet of enclosed run and 48 square feet of coop.

There's still some painting to do, but the basic structure is livable. Thanks to my friend Laura for the great idea to make the 8' lean-to between the houses. It's a swell place for the feeder to live. I've been having problems keeping it dry.

This is the current nest box setup. Not that it matters. The little freeloaders still haven't laid any eggs, nor have they shown any inclination towards egg laying. Little snots.
We now have 16 linear feet of roost space and 10 linear feet of chicken. The 10 linear feet of chickens somehow seem obligated to roost on the top 8' of roosts. Silly little chickens.

This is the entire set up. Eventually there will be grapevines on the original coop and blackberries, raspberries and blueberries along the sides of the annex. It should be shady and pretty once it all fills in.


Darey Farm said...

Hey! Your coop looks great! You are quite the carpenter. What did you do to anchor it to the ground? Did you use concrete under the posts at all? And did you put anything at the bottom to keep out burrowing nasties?

I'm going to be starting on my run soon, so it will not need to be built in early spring when the ground is still frozen. Have to decide how to handle the inside of the coop, too, as the building still stands but all the nest boxes and perches and everything were given away.

Congrats to Pooh! (And her vet. Perhaps your vet will meet mine on their Hawaiian vacations.)

City Girl said...

Ha! I should just marry a vet and be done with it. I'm pretty sure I'm sending mine's kids to college.
Thanks for the coop praise. The posts are anchored in concrete. I had a guy use and auger to dig holes that were a couple of feet deep. I put about 6" of gravel in the bottom and then set the post in. I filled in quick set concrete and left it overnight. I then backfilled the top 6" with dirt. They're pretty sturdy.

The bottom layer of wire is 1/2" hardware cloth. The top level of wire is chicken wire. At the bottom is a 1x6 to help with diggers. I'm going to put landscape timbers around the outside and plant blackberries and such, so that ought to help with digging nasties. The other horizontal pieces are 1x4s. I put netting over the top to help keep flying nasties out. We have hawks and such that do fly overs.
I found our that the built nest boxes tend to collect more dirt and poop. I'm trying the milk crates to see if they work better. They were free, so even if they don't I'm still good. I'm told 5 gallon buckets work as well. It sort of depends on how big your hens are. We are currently ignoring them, btu we still ahve a few weeks before we start laying.
Perches are just 2x4s laid wide side up. Especially in your neck of the woods, frostbite is an issue. If they can put their feet flat and sit on them they won't freeze. Plus 2x4s are cheap.
Mine are almost 20 weeks old and aren't laying yet. The best guess is around 24 weeks. Keep that in mind when you order your chicks. If you have a place that you can put a heat lamp, you might consider getting them earlier than I did. Mine came in May and they will just start laying and then stop for the winter. Sigh. Little freeloaders.
Heard you had a great visit with Mom and Dad. I can't wait to see tons of pictures.
Miss you!

Darey Farm said...

Thanks for the details. I am trying to figure out if I can build my run with old pallets. We have a lot around here. If the chickens were not bantams, would a three foot fence be too short? I think a taller one would look better, but I have what I have. I could also get some fence posts, which are about seven feet, I guess.

I miss you, too. We did have a good time with your folks. Hope we didn't shake them up too much in the truck.

City Girl said...

It's amazing how high these guys can fly, even the big ones. Plus, one of the main reasons to fence the run is to keep predators out. We have dogs, cats, coyotes and hawks around here. I was trying to defend against intruders with the 7'+ fences. The old part is wire and wood on top (more for grapevine support) and the new run has plastic mesh over the top. The mesh won't stop a determined intruder, but hopefully it will deter hawks.

I used 4x4x8 pressure treated lumber. I have a friend that used landscpare timbers. They are the same height, but the edges are rounded. It works just fine for her. They are about half the cost. Chickenwire down here comes in 2', 3' and 4' widths. Hardware cloth comes in 2' and 3'. The hardware cloth is good for the run bottom because racoons and whatnot can't get a hand through to grab the chicken. Plus chicken wire won't stop a determined predator. It only will stop a chicken. :)

Using pallets is a great idea for the coop part. Do a google search or search the BYC website. Somewhere I've seen a coop made entirely of shipping pallets. It was really snazzy! And free!

Mom and Dad had a great time. I loved the pictures they made. Your place is gorgeous. I love the house with all the trees. The porch furniture looked great!