Well, chicken parents that is! When we moved back home to New Jersey after 9 years in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, we were fortunate to find the perfect home (for us)! The house had been vacant for about a year and the back yard almost completely overgrown. Nevertheless, we could see potential for many great things.
The very back of the yard was so completely overgrown that we had no idea there was another shed hidden in the weeds (yes, the weeds were THAT high!) and two very large enclosures just below it. Picture 4' high chain link fence doubled up (making it 8' high), black fabric covering that 8 feet and supports against the outside perimeter of the fence. There were two enclosures like this. After more investigation, and talking with the neighbors, we discovered the previous owner's had raised animals on the property for over a decade. We could then see why such extreme measures were taken to protect the animals from bear, coyote, turkey and fox which freely roam the area. Unfortunately, it had been several years between their eliminating animals from the property, the year the property spent vacant and our coming along. To say the fencing and shed were in disrepair would be an understatement, but again, there was potential!
|This is a recent picture of the 'hidden' shed, before renovation began.|
The second fenced area couldn't be saved so that was removed, the remaining area will be used for a large garden that we hope to have next season. For now, we put in a small garden near the house.
Little by little we hacked away the weeds and scrap trees to reveal a large shed with 4 rooms. This would be great storage AND provide a place for chickens. I really do wish there were pictures, you wouldn't believe the growth!
We were able to salvage the existing shed by reinforcing some walls and installing new flooring, all done with leftover wood. The room on the end is small, about 4x12, perfect for nesting boxes and perches. The boxes extend into the adjoining room for easy access without entering the coop.
|Teaching Colin how to use the drill|
|That doorway leads to the nesting boxes|
|He's got it!|
|Nearing the finish line|
It's Official, We're Parents
|Left behind Bluestone tiles make the perfect floor|
|Installing a metal roof - this was the easiest project|
|Macy learned quickly not to step in the paint (again!)|
|The boys deciding which ones they wanted|
|Okay, that's ALOT of chickens!|
|Yep, he's carrying all 6 in one hand.|
|Oscar and Macy were also quite excited|
|Getting a closer look|
|We put an old fence inside the coop. This allows the girls to|
look outside whenever they want - usually there's at least 4 at a time on it
A few side notes to our story...
We read and read as much as we could about birds, care, coops, food. You name it, we researched, read and pinned it all! You might also enjoy our Pinterest Board, All Things Chickens.
Our next project on the coop will be to give the girls a fenced area outside to forage. We learned through reading and friends the best course of action would be to wait until they are regularly laying in their nesting boxes before expanding their territory. This should ensure all eggs are laid in the boxes and not in random places outside. Sounds good to me.
|There will be a 10x20 fenced outdoor area for the girls.|
A small door will be put in the side wall here for access.
UPDATE!! Just 2 days after posting, we got our first egg!! Gee, perhaps I should have posted this sooner!