Coop construction/yard work day

This past Sunday we constructed the coop for our chickens and also did a handful of other projects in the yard.  It was a long but very productive day and by the end I was ready to fall over from exhaustion, but it was the good kind of exhaustion.  Here are the pics of the coop project:

This is the coop spread out in our living room.  Brian was checking to make sure we got all the of parts and that they were in good shape.

This is the coop spread out in our living room. Brian was checking to make sure we recieved all the of parts and that they were in good shape.

Here Brian and my cousin Ian are building a foundation for our coop.  They worked on this for HOURS!  The biggest problem they encountered were the huge tree roots in our yard that make it difficult to dig.

Here Brian and my cousin Ian are building a foundation for our coop. They worked on this for HOURS! The biggest problem they encountered were the huge tree roots in our yard that make it difficult to dig.

Since the foundation took way longer that anyone anticipated the girls started work on assembling the coop.

Since the foundation took way longer than anyone anticipated the girls started work on assembling the coop.

My sister Meghan and my cousin Cammie are working hard screwing together parts of the coop.

My sister Meghan and my cousin Cammie are working hard screwing together parts of the coop.

At this point we realized that we could no longer assemble the coop on the grass.  We moved it into the garage so we would have a level surface to work on.

At this point we realized that we could no longer assemble the coop on the grass. We moved it into the garage so we would have a level surface to work on.

Now that we are on level ground we are back to piecing this coop together.

Now that we are on level ground we are back to piecing this coop together. You see my sister holding the instructions. There was a lot of close inspection of the instructions, because THEY SUCKED! I have never see worse instructions, this was NOT COOL!

The run is almost together.

The run is almost together.

Now that the foundation is done the boys join us in frustrating task of assembling this coop.

Now that the foundation is done the boys join us in frustrating task of assembling this coop.

All smiles!  Probably because at some point about half way through the assembly we decided as a group that what would make this easier was if we all took a beer break.  Seriously, this coop should have been easier to assemble.

All smiles! Probably because at some point about half way through the assembly we decided as a group that what would make this easier was if we all took a beer break. Seriously, this coop should have been easier to assemble.

So, our coop is assembled and in place I don’t have a pic yet because once we were done it was getting dark, and of course it has rained everyday since.  These are my thoughts on this coop so far:

Downside:

1. The directions stunk!!!  They were very hard to read and way to basic, I was shocked how little information was given.  There was a lot of guess work as to where and how things fit.

2. The coop came damaged which was really irritating.  The manufacture is willing to replace the broken peices but still it was annoying.

3. Several people that were helping us put the coop together commented seperatly that they thought we over paid for this coop.  I tend to feel they are right.

Upside:

1. We have had serious flooding rains in Chicago for the past week and for the most part the coop is dry.  That was very encouraging.

2. It has a pull out tray for cleaning under the roosting bars, I like that.

3. It is appealing to the eye, which is great for maintaining good relations with my neighbors. 🙂

I am sure I will have more to say about the coop once the girls occupy it, lets hope it is all good stuff!

Other yard projects that happened were;

Cammie and I made three raised beds out of old wood pallets.  You can see two of them clearly in this pick and the other one is just behind the chicken coop.

garden1

This is the “farm” part of my Chicago yard. I have 3- 4’x3.5′ beds, 2- 4’x8′ beds and 1- 4’x4′ bed. I also have my composter in the back as well as the chicken coop.

I’ll get into more detail about the garden in my next post which will be about my garden plans for this year.

We also moved my compost bin into a sunnier spot of the yard.  The compost was mixed really well in the process of moving it which mean that soon I’ll have some great stuff to add to the garden beds.

The final project we did last weekend was to start preparing a spot in our yard for a small patio to be put in. We cleared the area, marked it with twine and started to level it.  I’ll take pics of that project as soon as it gets underway.

PODCAST PLUG- I have been listening to a pod cast called COOP CAST which is put out by Chicken Thistle Farm.  I am really enjoying it and learning a lot and not just about chickens.  Stop by their website to find out how to listen if your into that kind of thing.

Newest additions

The Grant clan got chickens!!!  As I sit here writing this post, our little ladies are pecking, peeping and scratching away in the brood behind me.  It really is the cutest thing!

Owning chickens has been something I have wanted to do for years, I started day dreaming about it when we lived on our condo.  As we begin our 3rd summer in the house it has finally happened.  Our chicks are about a week and a half old now and are super cute, but what baby chicks aren’t cute.  We have four little chicks each a different breed.

The Chicks: The top photo is of them now, the bottom is what they will look like all grown up.

This is Belina, she is a Buff Orpington

Belina

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This is Mavis and she is a Black Australorp

Mavis

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This is Beatrice, she is a Barred Rock

Beatrice

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This is Saphira and she is a Golden Laced  Wyandotte

Sephira

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When doing my research on what breeds we should get I had a few very specific requirements:

1. The chickens would need to be cold hardy, which means that they needed to be able to live in their coop during a Chicago winter.

2. The chickens would need to be pretty good egg layers, cause that is why we got them!

3. The chickens would also, and this is very important, need to be NICE!  With three kids and a fourth on the way these little ladies needed to be calm, friendly, and docile.

A great resource that I found to help with breed selection was on the website My Pet Chicken.  I had also done a bunch of reading in the book Chickens in your backyard and in the magazine Backyard Poultry.

The Coop!!

When researching what kind of coop to either build or make we looked all over the web and in a few books as well.  We looked at purchasing plans, building from scratch, buying a kit, etc.  What we settled on was a coop kit, the cost seemed right and we have a screw driver. 😉  What turned us away from the plans that we found for purchase everywhere was that they did not give us enough information up front.  That was frustrating for us and we did not want to waste money on plans that we might end up not liking.

This is the coop that our little ladies will move into in about 4 weeks.

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This kit is from the Chicken Saloon website.  We are going to be putting the coop together this weekend with the help of some family.  I’ll try my hardest to take photos of the construction in progress.