Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Presenting The Chicken Coop

Over the past few years I've been reading books about becoming self sufficient like this one by John Seymour. I like the idea of being a better steward of what I have and this book really connected with me. I don't really have the kind of property that's ideal for living the total self sufficient philosophy but there are things that are possible even in a small urban environment.

Composting and gardening are a couple of easy things to start with. For those of you who know me, you know how much I dig composting! We have three separate composting bins/piles in our yard and a compost thermometer to monitor the temperature of our pile. We've also had some success with our gardens and berry patches in the last couple of years so that is all coming along.

I've also been on a beekeeping kick since reading John Seymour. Not actually doing it but reading lots and lots about it. My plan is to build a few hives between now and spring and hopefully get some bees come late spring. Yes, I would like to be your beekeeper! Everyone needs one you know?

Another thing that had interested me is keeping chickens for the sake of having fresh eggs everyday. I like the economics of it and I like the stewardship of it. So this summer my project was to build a coop and get some chickens! I started designing my coop by hand and going through all the different designs I saw on backyardchickens.com. Then a friend recommended I try out Google SketchUp to design my coop. It's a free 3D AutoCAD type of program. This way I could essentially build the coop without cutting any wood and figure out exactly what I wanted to do. With some free time during a summer camp we were at I designed the coop! A screen shot is below.

The plan for the roof is to become a strawberry garden too. I didn't take the time to make it look like one in SketchUp.

This took more hours than I expected but I was geeking out with it and having fun so the time went by quickly. I was designing the coop based on some free lumber I knew I had access to which is why it ended up being somewhat of a tank of a coop. Below are some pictures of the process which also took a while. You see part of the deal here is that I have no history in woodworking and felt like I needed to impress my wife with my abilities. I made her a box when we were dating which was quite terrible. It was time to make up for it!


The boys could not get enough of this door. I was tempted to remove it so they would stop opening it every time they walked by. It was a temptation they just could not resist. I admit, it is pretty cool!

And here it is, the finished product with our first two chickens in it! Big Boss Lady and DeChick! They should start laying eggs in October. The roof is flipped over for the winter. I didn't see any point in starting a garden this late in the year so that will happen next spring.

And now we are at capacity with four chickens. The newest two, Isa and Babs are supposed to be old enough to be laying but so far . . .


. . . only one of them has laid. Yes, this is proudly our first egg thanks to Babs!

So there you have it! That's been summer around the Lavender backyard. I've discovered that my coop has already inspired one person to build a new coop and another to build one labour day weekend!! I love that! Maybe you want to keep a couple of chickens too??

6 comments:

Fred and Wendy 8/26/2011 9:20 AM  

Very cool Glenn - I was thinking of building a Swiss Chalet!

Joyce B., downhomie,  8/26/2011 5:00 PM  

Very cool, Glenn. If I didn't have big dogs, I would keep chickens! I'm a composter too, and hope to get the garden back in shape this fall. Berries and grapes hanging in there with our Texas drought. Hope to see you guys in October in Texas!

Victor Silva 6/08/2012 7:29 AM  

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