Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 211

The other day my husband and I visited a local "reuse" store to see if they might have any suitable materials for a chicken coop. We discovered they have quite a large selection of doors and windows, and there was also a sign that said they have lumber (though we didn't look at it). These are materials either donated or taken from demoed buildings, so much of it is in Very Good condition . . . or at least good enough for a chicken coop!

I have not yet heard back from the local contractor I reached out to about building our coop, but I think my father-in-law is keen to help us out in any way he can. I supplied him with several of my design plans - including ones with an attached greenhouse - so he's going to look them over and begin doing a little research of his own. I wanted this to be a family project all along, but I also have this thing about not wanting to inconvenience anyone else. I need to remember that when people say they want to help, more often than not they're being genuine in their offer. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day 209 - Chicken Coop, Part II

I feel like I've been doing nothing but thinking and talking about chickens and chicken coops today. This morning my husband suggested that perhaps we should build a separate coop and greenhouse. I've been opposed to building a kit greenhouse, mainly because I question how they will hold up during our long, harsh winters, but the Grandio Elite has received rave reviews. Here is a great testimonial that pretty much sealed the deal! Unfortunately, a separate greenhouse and chicken coop likely aren't in the budget this year. Since I hadn't planned on a greenhouse in the first place (darn my husband for putting ideas in my head!), and because we've been wanting chickens for a while now, the coop is the priority. 

After extensive talking and looking at basic construction manuals, my husband and I have decided we'd rather give our plans to someone a lot more skilled than we are and have him do the work. I've contacted a local contractor and am waiting to hear back. My mother-in-law volunteered my father-in-law to help, but I feel this could be a physically demanding and time-consuming project for anyone who doesn't do this type of work on a regular basis. Also, we'll likely need his help laying new flooring in our basement once we finishing tearing it apart and having the moisture problem dealt with, once and for all (ugh). I don't want to be too demanding of any one person's time or energy.

So . . . I have modified the original plan. The new design calls for a 6 x 10 structure with two windows on the long side facing south. A full-sized door and hen door will reside on the short side facing east, and another window will be on the north-facing side. The structure will be fenced in on two sides for a total of 100 sq ft of run space. Plans, of course, are subject to change. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Day 208 - Sweet Sixteen!

Today we celebrated my older daughter's Sweet Sixteen! It was a day filled with family and friends, love and laughter. And the most decadent chocolate cake ever. 

Little Sister making Big Sister's requested
dinner - vegetarian enchiladas. Yum!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day 206 - Chicken Coop Design

(click to enlarge) 

Over the past few days I've been working on design plans for our future chicken coop / greenhouse, which I hope to have completed at some point this fall, or very early next spring at the latest (as soon as the snow melts). A friend has provided the name of a local contractor who might be able to help us with construction; a good thing since we are NOT natural DIYers! 

The structure itself measures 10 x 10 sq ft with ceilings high enough so that most people can stand erect when visiting. The structure will be sub-divided into a 6 x 10-ft greenhouse and 4 x 10-ft coop, which will be big enough to house the six (or maybe eight?) laying hens we plan to have. Two 35.5 x 35.5-inch south-facing windows and one 35.5 x 35.5-inch east-facing window will allow in lots of light on the greenhouse side, as well as the 2 x 4-ft skylight overhead. Another 35.5 x 35.5-inch window between the greenhouse and coop will allow even more natural light to enter the coop. An accordion door serves as the main access point from the greenhouse to the coop with a 32 x 14-inch window on both the east and west-facing walls to allow for light and a cross breeze. The structure will be surrounded by a totally enclosed chicken run on the east and north sides, extending out 10 ft on the east side and 3 ft on the north. The roof will be wedge-shaped with the highest point on the greenhouse side and the lowest part on the coop side (to help retain heat in the winter). The windows and walls will be insulated, which will be extremely important since I'll have no way to artificially heat or light the coop when it's cold outside. The design, of course, is subject to change.