When I had day dreams of chickens, I always imagined them to be free range, like they were at my parent's house when I was a kid (and now still). I tried, but alas, I wound up feeding the local foxes instead and my poor chickens had to pay the price. Soooo...instead, I decided to build them a handy dandy enclosure that would keep them safe but still allow them to peck about when I wasn't around and be outside. They don't really make pre-made chicken runs like the one I wanted, so I built it!
I modeled it after this hexagonal one, but simplified it a lot. I love the lines and beauty and paint job of this one...but I was on a building break and wanted to get this sucker up asap so the chickens wouldn't be cramped in their tiny coop anymore. I still have to build the roof, which will be peaked like this one is, but again, more simplified. I used raw untreated lumber, so in a year or two it will get a nice silver grey patina to it. No paint needed, just patience. :)
First I started with 8 foot long 2x4's and built six frames, almost all the identical with angled edges so they've fit together nicely. A very simple design really.
Two of the frames were a little different...this one I built a frame for an old door I found in the loft of my parent's barn. Another was framed out to accommodate the entrance into the little white already made chicken coop.
Then came the task of cutting a stapling the wire on. Urgh....stapling the wire wasn't so bad (I used a TON of staples), but the cutting. I'll be happy if I don't ever have to do that again, which I probably will, lol. I cut all the wire by hand with wire cutters but by the last two frames my hands couldn't take anymore, so my brother so graciously brought me an electric grinder. It worked like a charm, but wore the grinding attachment right now to a nub. Oops...oh well! It got the job done! Thanks Dan!! Oh...the wire was a little tricky to find too...most the wire that was wide enough (4 feet) had holes that were too big and the wire that holes small enough were only 3 feet wide. I didn't want to use chicken wire, because it's not strong enough to keep out many predators, although I will use it on the roof. Finally I found some at a great price at a local farm supply store that my dad knew about...thanks Dad!!
Finally the frames were done!!
At this point I needed Ben to help me lift the frames up and hold them while I screwed them together. The design of the piece is really pretty simple and it only took one full day. Now the roof!! This thing is so tall that putting on a peaked roof will be a challenge...but I have a plan! Now I just need the time and motivation. Once I put the roof on, I'll put giant branches inside for the chickens to roost on...the thought of seeing them roost and climb will be motivation enough! :) But so far they like their new digs!
This is the chicken coop I bought online. Ben and put it together right before the chickens were ready to be moved outside this spring. The mud splashed dirt around the outside of it, so it needs a hosing off...which I'll put off until next spring when I do a little landscaping around the whole thing.
And lastly, I snagged this rabbit hutch off of Craigslist for $45 to house the quails for the summer. It's much bigger for them than the aviary in the dining room and keeps the dining room a bit cleaner. I'll most likely move them back inside once winter comes, although they do just fine outside in bitter weather.
So that the coop! Mid progress, but getting there! I can't wait to show it to you when the roof is on and the inside all decked out for them!