At the beginning of the Pandemic we were all a nervous wreck, we didn’t know exactly what to do with ourselves. My husband and I throw ourselves into big projects every time something not-so-great happens to us, it’s just what we do. It helps us cope. We had talked about getting chickens a few years from now, but the Pandemic happened and we bought some baby chicks. Weirdest impulse purchase ever.
They needed a place to stay when they were big enough for the big outdoors, so I went to work on a plan. This quickly became our focus, we needed to make a coop and when Gator wasn’t observing or helping she was playing outside while we worked. It was a really nice balance to homeschool. On days that the weather wasn’t ideal we would work on more conventional homeschooling.
It all started with a chicken coop plan. My chicken coop plan might have been a little over-the-top. I had Gator help me design it and I drew to-scale drawings of what we imagined it would look like.
Let’s just say that we binge-watched a whole lot of Fixer Upper this winter and spring, and I think our plans might have reflected that. I made this according to our city’s guidelines for sizes, I wish we could have made it bigger, but spoiler alert, our chickens like it. I justified that this was all pretty basic and necessary, and my husband got on board.
This is the area we had to work with, gorgeous, right? Our bird dogs definitely didn’t destroy our yard. Yeah, we have bird dogs and were raising chickens in our basement, it’ll all be ok, right?
Maybe bird dogs and birds don’t mix, so first step, let’s build a fence to protect the chickens. Plus, our raised garden, that was supposed to be the only project we were going to do outside this summer.
I wonder why we needed our fence, this was right after we put dirt in the raised garden. Watson assumed we made him a dirt bed.
After all of that we started framing out the chicken coop, and added shiplap. Told you we watched too much Fixer Upper. Then we painted, we painted as quickly as possible. This was April, days were cold, days were wet mixed with either rain or snow, we had very little days where paint could actually dry and not freeze. Which is probably why there’s a lack of pictures, I promise I have an entire wardrobe full of black and white paint now though.
Gator helped too! Here she is spray painting the ladder for the chickens. She helped spray paint the window boxes too.
We framed out the run and covered it in small grid chicken wire, this way sparrows and mice can’t get in and steal or contaminate their food. We decided to add a roof to the run, it was in the original plan, but we kept debating on whether we should have a rough or not. It shields them from a lot of rain and they still get plenty of sun, I’m so glad we added a roof.
I love how it all turned out, it was a group effort, and a little stressful with the timeline we had. Our chicks were 1 week old when we got them and our goal was to get them outside by the time they were 7 weeks. This looks a little different than it did when we started. You might notice weeds in the picture, we keep weeds because the chickens love dandelions. Oh, the life of a chicken owner who didn’t have chickens or know anything about chickens just 10 weeks ago.
The ladies love it. It’s the perfect amount of space for them. We have roosts on the inside of their coop too going off on angles, and we didn’t want one too high, but the second day we put them to bed they kept gesturing up and flying at the ceiling, so we built them a roost above the windows where they sleep together every single night. Here are two of the ladies on the roost that was clearly not high enough for sleeping.
They love their space, I think it’s the perfect size for these 3 and we might add another chicken to our flock next year.
…told you we feed them dandelions. Lila heard me open the run door and was ready to see what treats I was bringing.
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