Monday, June 02, 2008

Building a Chicken Coop, Part 1

A few years ago Mister Jalopy gave me a book he picked up at a garage sale, called Living With Chickens. He gave it to me because I have a dilapidated shack behind our house and I told him I was going to convert it into a chicken coop.
But every time I went out back to look at the shack, I lost all motivation to commence. The shack was full of cans of paint, out-of-date swimming pool chemicals, rusty metal shelving, and a thick layer of filthy dried leaves. The sight of the mess would send me straight back to my cute guesthouse to get lost on the Web.

I got the motivation I needed a couple of weeks ago, when we met one of our neighbors at a block party and she invited us to see her Barred Plymouth Rock hens. They were very attractive birds and my 10-year-old daughter immediately got cuddly with the rooster. When our neighbor started pulling eggs from the nesting boxes, that clinched it. At that moment I swore to myself I'd fix my shack into a proper chicken coop. And I got started the very next day.

What you see here is the shack as it looked when I started pulling crap out of it (click the image for a larger photo). I can't believe how much stuff was in there. I put it all in the corner of the yard, and it looks like I pulled out about 3 sheds worth of stuff. (I'll be making a call to 1-800-GOT-JUNK soon.)

Once the shed was empty, I gave the inside and the outside of the structure a thorough hosing down. The good news is that the shack has a concrete floor and it cleaned right up. The bad news is that it's tilted toward the back of the shack, and there's no drain. As I expect I'll be mucking out the coop regularly once we get chickens, I'll need to come up with a solution.

In the next installment, I attempt to make a door for the coop.