Coop Improvements, part 1

Last week’s glorious weather had me outside working on coop improvements each day. I’ve got three shed/coops that need some work before the Chicken Haven is done (for this year anyway!). Here’s a glimpse at last week’s work on the pink coop – affectionally known as “Water World” last year as the ducks lived in it.

I rushed to convert this shed to a coop last year – the ducklings grew MUCH faster than anticipated and I needed them out of the house quite badly. In my hurry I half-did a few things, praying they’d safely get through the first year and I could do some improvements. Thankfully that’s how things happened. This shed is really old (it has a Montgomery Ward label and they’ve been out of business for years), and the rust damage made the space feel dingy. The scrap paint I collected from clearing out a business basement came in handy for this – no $ spent for the improvement! I used the small amount of dark green I had on the wall panels and door interiors. I didn’t have quite enough so a small section is a blend of green and the tan-ish color I used on the ceiling. The tunnel section could use a good cleaning and maybe a fresh coat of paint. I also need to replace the flooring in the tunnel itself. I still need to redo the nesting box and roosting bars – the hens didn’t like the hodge podge box at all and the roosting bars were cutesy and non-functional.

The fenced run space also needs help. I removed the pool – its moving to a new space – and the ground is a hot mess. I moved around a bit of the soil, used a turning fork to break up the peat moss layers, but I’m struggling with how to handle the layer of gravel. I’ve tightened up the netting on top and installed horizontal boards between the front fence posts. The chicken wire fencing felt a bit loose and I wanted it to be more supportive if I decide to grow flowers that vine again this year. The exterior will be a fresh coat of paint – we got a great deal on bright red on the “oops” rack at Lowe’s – and after that’s done I’ll spread grass seed.

I have a few weeks until I need this coop ready. It will now be used as the Nursery – transitional housing for chicks before they are integrated into the main flock. The tunnel was one of the driving forces behind the change – most sources recommend a period of time where the older hens can take a look at the youngsters before they are all mixed together. They’ll move out when they are about 8 weeks old, so near the end of April.

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