One of the main reasons I am documenting my homesteading adventures is so my kids and hopefully grand kids will be able to see all the things I’ve worked on over my life and hopefully learn from my wisdom, both from success and failures. I hope the Survival Revolution that is taking place across the U.S. and many other countries is, by the time they read this, just a common, every day way of life for the average Joe. Along those lines, I really hope the buildings, fences and structures I put up are still in service if the next generation or two of my clan decide to continue the Revolution and expand the homestead. With that in mind, if I have the time and finances to do something a little better than I see it as a kind of savings plan for my kids. A tangible investment that they will have when I am long gone. Hopefully a few things that are invaluable like a decade of seed saving, mature fruit trees producing nice healthy fruit, and animal breed lines that have been fine tuned for the homestead life, but for now……………. THE COOP!
I’m in danger of becoming Captain Obvious if I once again state that I am no carpenter. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen many men who are less handy than me, but I can’t take pride being graded on a curve as steep as the one this new generation of men have created for me. I kind of feel like I’m finger painting when I build something, I have this vision in my head, but just can’t usually get it to come together exactly like the idea my head. Most of it is just trial and error. Rarely do I finish a project that I am not happy I put my time into. Also, rarely do I finish a project where I don’t realize something is just a little different from what it needed to be to make the next idea I have in my head work right.
We decided on an 8×8 shed built a few feet off the ground to deter the egg thieves. Having never built a shed we just started with floor frame and used 4×4 legs in all the corners and one centered in front and back. I used 2×6’s for the floor and rim joist and attached 3/4″ plywood for the floor. I don’t know how to make gables or roof joists so I went with a simple slant roof design. Even this created some unforeseen challenges but in the end it went up. I added a few things like side ventilation with wire mesh. In my climate cold temperatures are not a concern, but heat and predators have to be addressed.
For the door we used 2×4 as a frame. I wanted something that I could add wire to and heavy enough that I could make wood panels to cover the wire if the weather ever got bad enough. We get Hurricanes here pretty often and I needed to be able to close things up pretty tight when needed.
I used the same hardware cloth wire on the door as was used o the ventilation. Chicken wire might have been ok, but this is coon country and they could possible tear through the welded wire and can open most simple latches. I cross braced the door with 2×4’s to keep it from twist and also to give me something to staple the wire to. I had to trim the bottom corner to get the door to close with the way I chose to hang the hinges. Again I used 2 large fence hinges mounted outside allowing the door to swing out and all the way back against the building so I can latch it to the wall when it is open. As you can see from the pictures we painted the floor, perches,most of the wall and the door and window frames with two coats of Kilz outdoor white primer. We plan to build nesting boxes attached to the outside of the east wall (to the left of the door) but for not have a three boxes sitting inside against that wall. I purchased the box and the holes are too small. The chickens chose to nest underneath. I let them even though it is not the best plan, and hopefully we will get the full size boxes attached.
The tin roof was mad to overhang in the front,back and sides as much as practical. We will be using a deep litter bed in the house for the birds that will start life here. The plan is to start all the non mother reared birds in small cages as chicks, then move them in here for a few weeks to get use to perching. While this is going on we will be seeding the chicken yard with a green mix so when they are ready to venture out they can be rotated in the yard. Eventually allowing them to free range or rotate with the rest of the flock..