The Amenities of the Coop

It seems that all of our recent improvements to the Queendom have focussed on the hen house. Many of our real projects have been put on hold while we figure out how to make life sweet for our chicks. Here is a photo collection of the latest amenities, documenting our labour of love (for eggs!):

The Nesting Boxes

Many years ago, in our old life, we renovated our kitchen and we kept all the cabinets. The old above-the-stove-hood-fan cupboard turned out to be exactly the right size for two nesting boxes. FM removed the doors, added a lower edge and a roosting bar and mounted it 36 cm above the floor. As I hinted before, I made curtains for each box since chickens require a dark, safe and private place to hide while laying. Apparently, their innards partially come out while pushing out an egg and we want to reduce pecking and cannibalism as much as possible. (These beasts are wild!)

We were told that up to six hens can share one nesting box so we knew that our two boxes were more than enough laying space. But wouldn’t you know it – there is an impatient line-up  some mornings as they all wait their turn!

Tweedle Dum and Croque Madame are settled in the boxes. Peeps is letting them know that she is in a hurry and next in line. Chip is pacing the floor

Tweedle Dum and Croque Madame are settled in the boxes. Peeps is letting them know that she is in a hurry and next in line. Chip is pacing the floor.

In fact, one morning, Tweedle Dum was taking her sweet time in the box and Tweedle Dee could no longer hold her egg in, so she hopped in and made herself comfortable behind and on top of Dum.

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The chicks who lay together, stay together!

During our vacation, the chickens were confined to their coop and run, so all the girls have (mostly) learned to lay in the nesting boxes and our daily easter egg hunt has almost ended. The golf ball trick seemed to work! It is music to my ears when one of the girls comes ‘begawking’ out of the coop to announce proudly that she has laid a good one and earned her keep.

The Chicken Waterer

Having an endless supply of clean water is essential. Filling a bucket  or milk jug with water will do for a day or two, but FM devised a system which will suffice for longer absences.

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A self-filling waterer contraption (apologies for the lack of focus)

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Top view of the toilet tank fill valve

The chickens peck at the red 'poultry nipples' to get all the water they desire.

The chickens peck at the red ‘poultry nipples’ to get all the water they desire.

Since the coop used to be a bathroom, the plumbing is in place and access to water is easy. FM built this contraption out of PVC pipe, a toilet tank fill valve and six poultry nipples and then hooked it up to the old water line. It has taken the chicks a while to get the hang of it but we adjusted the height so that they have to reach up to it and they seem to use it more often. It refills quietly and I put a metal drip tray below in an attempt to keep the coop floor somewhat dry.

The Chicken Run

This was a big project which evolved and improved as we built it. Although the chickens have been running free, our plan is to keep them penned in while we are away or at work. We want them to have access to outside but we want to keep them safe from eagles, raccoons, and other chicken lovers.

Using two fence panels, a bundle of multi-link wire fencing, three plywood sheets and a gate kit, we managed to construct a 6′ x 18′ run that is partially covered and partially open. The fence panels and gate should provide some shelter from the wind and rain that previously howled right in through their coop door. There are still some finishing touches left to do, but as it stands, it has kept them safe and secure during our holidays this summer.

Before the chicken run

The Before Picture

The chicken run

The After Picture

The gate

The gate

View from the back – The wire fencing is buried about 20 cm deep into the ground around the whole run. The roof is only roughly done in plastic deer fencing at this point.

View from inside

View from inside – shelter from direct sunlight, rain and eventually snow

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Terry said,

    Thanks for sharing! I have been online trying to figure which design will be best for the coop we’ll build in the spring. Some great ideas for the nesting boxes and watering too! 🙂

    • 2

      Along A Path said,

      If you need more detailed info, just drop me a note. The learning curve is steep and we are bumbling along it. Many great websites and blogs have helped us. There are no dumb questions! So exciting!

  2. 3

    Gorgeous chicken digs! Good work.

  3. 4

    What an amazing chicken coop. Lucky chickens!


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