Monday, April 22, 2013

The Final Sprint

I am happy to announce that the Taj Mahal of chicken coops is almost complete!  I am thinking that by this time next week, we will have some final reveal pictures for you.  Of course, the chickens cannot quite move outside yet, but I will be VERY glad to check the coop project off our to do list.

Saturday was spent working on a secret project soon to be revealed and Sunday was devoted to making some coop progress.  Last time that we discussed the coop, we were just starting to get the outdoor run figured out. 

This weekend, we started by adding two more doors to the exterior coop portion.  The little door in front will allow me to grab the outdoor feeders.  We also added a larger top hinged door (seen in pictures further down) which will allow us to get into the coop and clean it out on occasion.

Then it was on to our most important task- fortification.  Based on our online research, we decided that we would dig a 12 inch deep moat around the entirety of the coop.  This would allow us to line the underground exterior with chicken wire, which we hope will keep neighborhood dogs and other animals from being able to dig under our coop and get our precious chickens.

I got it started.

And Eric finished off the final six inches.

At this point, we were reading to start wiring.  Before this though, we got to thinking about what type of wire to use.  Most people go with standard chicken wire, but we were hoping to find something with slightly smaller holes and that seemed "thicker".  We have heard horror stores of chickens sticking their heads out of chicken wire holes when they hear curious sounds (ie. raccoon's prowling).  Not pretty.  So, we started shopping and found our solution with 1/2" hardwire cloth (in 3' x 10' sheets).  

I would like to see a chicken try and get its head through those holes...  We tacked two sheets together with wire cage clips, which we pinched shut with needle nose pliers.

Please excuse my gross hands.  Hardwire cloth is pretty hard on the fingers.
They worked great!  We tacked the hardwire cloth to the boards with simple galvanized wood staples.  

And after a couple of hours, the entire bottom portion of the coop was covered.

At this point, we had storm clouds moving in.  Knowing that we are expecting some rain and snow tonight, we decided that we better get to work back filling dirt.  So we filled in our holes and planted some grass seed in the hopes that the impending moisture will pack down our dirt and get some new grass growing.

I should also mention that I would have loved to have paint all the exterior boards white, but the treated lumber that we used needs a good amount of time to dry out prior to painting. Seeing as how our chickens are huge now, we do not have time to delay their move just so that I can paint.  Oh well, it is still pretty dang cute and I am sure that the chickens will not mind.

So, next weekend we should be able to wrap this project up!  Thank goodness.  I am getting antsy to focus our DIY attention on a new master bathroom!

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