The dust has settled, we are in the “new” house. The coop and run are built and the chickens are home. Downsizing is good, but hard.
My old hens are back home with us in a new little red coop with a nice secure run. The Cooper’s hawks do daily flyovers but are denied the chicken dinner they seek.
Getting the fence built for the run was the hardest part. Getting fencing bids, or even return phone calls proved futile, so we resorted to doing what we swore we’d never do again, build it ourselves. We hired a tractor guy to drill the fence post holes and the rest we did ourselves. Using what we have learned about fence building over the years helped us do it better this time. The fact that the run is small made it easier as well. Smaller is what downsizing is all about. I only plan to have a half-dozen hens, so a small coop and run will suit our needs.
Here’s how we got to where we are today.
I hired a shed builder from Craigslist to build a 6′ x 8′ shed with extra ventilation and windows on the two long walls. WE placed it on the side of the house in an area where it is protected a bit and gets shade from the walnut tree.
Next, we had the post holes dug for the run.
I did not want a typical farm fence with lodge poles and T posts, opting instead for pressure treated 4×4’s to match the deck on the house. We set them in concrete and let it set up for a couple of days.
I cut fifty linear feet of 4 foot hardware cloth into 2 foot sections and painted it black. We like black fencing as it tends to be less visible. The hardware cloth is for keeping predators for reaching in to grab the birds and for keeping baby chicks from escaping.
We stapled the hardware cloth directly on the bottoms of the poles. See, you hardly know it even there! Next we attached 6 foot tall no climb horse fence to the poles and stretched it taut.
We braced the upright poles for support.
The poles were cut off at the top.
Flight netting was draped over the entire coop and run, making it safe to bring the girls home from my friend’s house.
The netting was pulled taut and stapled to the top board and the excess cut off. I painted the coop barn red with white trim and added a few rustic pieces for the girls to jump around on.
Hardware cloth was placed over the windows and secured with screws and washers to keep nighttime predators out.
Hardware cloth was stapled to the bottom of the coop to act as skirting and keep the chickens from going under the coop. They will if they can you know!
Vinyl flooring was glued down and few rustic decor pieces were added to the inside of the coop. A roost bar was added up closer to the window level. Chickens like to be as high up as they can get.
We added an automatic pop door that uses solar power and works off of our GPS coordinates to open and close at the appropriate times.
We also added a Grandpa’s feeder to prevent squirrels from eating the feed. They are too light to cause the lid to lift. The feeder is still in the training phase. It takes a couple of weeks for them to get used to standing on the metal plate to get access to the feed.
Shavings complete the decor.
That is it! Our oldest hen, 6-year-old Judge Judy, quickly assumed the position of hen-in-charge.
Stella is second in command. Poor dear is molting and is down to her last tail feather!
Paula Deen and Ginger round out the group. We will be adding three more in a month or so. For now Paula is the only one laying. Judy and Stella are too old and Ginger is too young.
Paula, one of my original Isbars was given back to me by my friend Kelly. She gifted us with the most beautiful green egg the second day here.
Welcome home girls!