We've finally got chickens! I've wanted to get our own birds ever since we moved in, but I was also determined to wait until we had the time to really build them a good solid house. Every other time I've ever kept chickens, I've gotten the birds first and then cobbled together some kind of "temporary" shelter for them. The problem with that approach is that the temporary shelter is always needing maintenance to keep it from falling apart so there's never time to build anything permanent. On the other hand, building a good, solid, permanent chicken house was a project that had to wait until a few other things were taken care of, so it's taken us nearly four years to get to the point where we could bring home some hens. The new chicken house is not yet completely finished (the roofing, siding, and full yard enclosure are still incomplete) but I think it is WELL worth the wait. This isn't just an ordinary chicken house, it's a chicken palace!
This chicken house has all kinds of special features. It's got a cleanout door along the whole bottom of the north wall, and a piece of remnant vinyl flooring (in a tasteful beige tile pattern) tacked down over the entire floor and up the side of the nest boxes. Those two features should really help make cleaning out the house a much more pleasant task.
On the East side of the house, the lower roofed area is the future duck house. It's not finished yet, but it won't take much to get it closed in and ready for ducklings in the spring. The ducks will have a separate outdoor pen adjacent to the chicken yard when everything is complete.
There are three nest boxes with access from the outside, and there's a built-in storage cupboard underneath for keeping chicken food, egg cartons, and other useful items dry and secure. The roof has an extra-wide overhang on the south side to keep the rain off our heads while we do the chores. There's a window in the people door, as well as a window that opens for ventilation and light. The chicken door is actually a window as well, which adds a little more light and also closes easily and securely to keep the chickens safe at night. There's a porch on the west end so the ladies can go outside even in wet mucky weather, and where their water dish can be without getting muddy or full of straw.
Most importantly of all, it's a solidly built little house, which will keep them safe and warm and dry in all kinds of weather and for years to come.
We couldn't have done this at all without Dave's help. He had the lumber, the tools, the know-how, the willingness and the time to take my sketch and turn it into reality. We had to purchase some new plywood, the tarpaper, and the cement for setting the footings, but nearly everything else was used, salvaged materials from the ReStore and Dave's collection, and a few things left over from our house. Even the chickens are used! They came from our good friend Janet, who is moving soon and needed to relocate her flock.
Conan really enjoyed the building process. He helped a lot - hammering, measuring, and toting materials around. He is really, really, REALLY excited to have "bokkies" of his very own.
Our seven ladies moved in on Sunday, and we got our first egg yesterday. Once they get all settled in and adjusted to their new home, I expect we'll get 3-5 eggs a day. Mmmm!