Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Cochin Coop

After bringing home 16 four day old Cochins,  we
decided to modify a 8x8 building we already had to be their coop.  It had a door and windows, what more could you need?  ( lots more ventilation) The size is big enough for what I needed and my wonderful husband was able to deconstruct the built ins that were there and make the inside chicken ready in  a weekend.

Before we got started, for ideas,  I  looked at a lot of plans and other people's coops online at Back Yard Chickens.   There is an amazing amount of photos and DIY projects there.  Go look for yourself, and join the forum where all the nice chicken people hang out and share stories :)
Walking in the door to the right is the ladder to the roost level.  We are also planning on putting the nest boxes on the right wall above the ladder. Across the back of the building is the roost.   We put a board under it to catch the poop so that it's easier to clean and it also keeps stuff out of the feed and water.  

On the left wall, I had my husband build me a double
 brooder. He built it rather large, so actually I could
 divide each of them and turn it into 4.  At the moment
it has 5 baby golden laced chicks onthe top level and
on the lower level it houses a pair of Mille Fleur D'uccles.  The door to the outside
for the chickens is located under the brooder.

The coop faces east and has trees around it, but none shade it, making the south side of the coop extremely hot and inside temperatures can soar, making that one of our first problems to solve.  Since there were already two windows in the front, we cut two smaller windows for the back, covering them with hardware cloth.   This gave the coop a bit of a breeze but when the wind wasn't blowing it was like walking into a sauna and we are only in May!   This past weekend,  Jeff made a screen door so we can leave the wood one open.  It has made a Huge difference and we no longer have panting chicks.  The  next goal is to add more ventilation, either with a fan or more cut outs.

Since the outside pen is located on the hot south side, we also used shade cloth over it to help reduce the temperatures.  The front half is covered but the back half is open.  One of the bonuses of the shade cloth, aside from cooler temps, is that rain tends to run down and off instead of through the cloth.  Also it will help keep leaves and tree debris from collecting on top of the pen making it much easier to keep clean.

FUN CHICKEN FACT:  Did you know that a hen can live up to 20 years??

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