We completed our roofing so felt it was time to place the coop our friend gave us inside. The family started getting excited at this point because they realized we would soon be picking up our chickens. We picked them up on a late afternoon which was a great idea. For those of you reading this that might be considering adopting adult chickens like us, I would recommend picking them up in the evening. They were easy to pick up and place into the crate we brought to transport them in because they were ready to bed down for the night. After I placed the chicken coop inside I forgot to take a photo so here is one shortly after we placed our hens inside. Some have asked us why put a chicken coop inside? We could just mount nesting boxes along the side and not have a coop. As you can see below we used screen that will allow a possum or raccoon’s arm to reach through. Since we placed the fence over 1 foot below the ground and under blocks I believed a raccoon would give up digging and definitely try reaching through the screen. Our friends lost 3 chickens to a long armed predator just that way. Having the coop inside will remove that threat but also keep the chickens close together for warmth on cold winter nights.
Once the coop was carried into the run we placed our door. I had heard and read that predators can find access to a chicken run in many ways but the door can give them easy entry if it isn’t sturdy and tight fitting. We looked at the different options available and chose a door that had strong screen and a was made from a hard wood. First we wanted the door to last but also wanted it to be stronger than most screen doors so it would hopefully hold up to scratching a gnawing from a dog, possum, or raccoon. Below is a shot of the door we chose.
We thought about different ways a predator might get past our door and decided that we need it to be tight where they will most likely make their attempts. That told us we needed to secure the door down low near the ground first. So we bought a heavy locking latch to put on the bottom of the door. I took another photo of the latch we put on the door. A simple lock but stronger than the hook that comes with the door that I am pretty sure give a predator easy access. I purposely placed it on the frame and door at an angle that would create tension when it was locked. It is slightly difficult to turn with your fingers but that also makes it to difficult for a possum or raccoon to turn with they mouth or paw. If the future shows that isn’t enough and a predator works it loose we will add a padlock.
We will coat all the wood with a sealer and do some finishing touches like add some shelves and roosts but this was enough to get us started. Here is the finished product. A couple shots from the side and front.
I see 100 flaws and things I would have done differently but our neighbors and friends have been complimentary when they see it. All in all we are pretty pleased.
Below is a shot of our new backyard chickens enjoying the space inside the chicken run. I’m sure we will encounter some things that will require us to add to or change this chicken run when a predator discovers them or a big storm comes through the area. But having the chickens and the memories they will create is going to be the fun part in all this. How much time and money did we invest in this? It took roughly 1 month working a couple hours each day when I could. I didn’t get much time into the weekends because our boys seem to have either a football or basketball game every Saturday that keeps us out so it could have been a shorter time span to build. The total spent was around $900.00. Some might spend a bit more or less depending on their situation. I had to buy a couple tools like the trench spade that others who do this might already have. Others might rent an auger or have a professional do the digging and posts which was the hardest physical part of this build.
Our family looks forward to sharing more about our adventure in back yard chickens with you. Next we will share our hens, their breeds and names the boys gave them.