Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicken Coop: The First Incarnation

While Malucho recharges the camera, I thought I should post this early photo, from last fall. I think maybe August. I was on CraigsList and saw someone offering a rabbit hutch for sale.

I brought it home, and Malucho gave it a pretty thorough makeover, though you can't necessarily see all the details.

She dismantled the entire coop (back down to lumber), power-washed it, stained it, added panels all around to contain the bedding and offer some protection. She painted all of these, cut two more plywood panels to cover the wire on the floor of the coop, so as to prevent drafts and to give the chicks something comfy to walk on, stained those and added handles for easy removal, installed hooks and eyes to latch the lid shut.

One thing that works really well about this set-up is that it's easy to clean. I flip open the lid, get out my little green bucket (the one provided by the city for my kitchen waste) scoop the pine shavings and chicken poop out, using one of those spatulas designed for kitty litter. The stained plywood bottom gives me a smooth clean surface so I can scrape off any crustiness. It takes about five minutes to clean it all out, and then put in fresh pine bedding. I empty the bucket into the compost, go back to the coop and pull out the metal tray underneath, that catches the stuff that slips through between the two bottoms, that's not quite another bucket full. Add that to the compost, and we have a clean coop.

Sometimes I leave the lid open while the chickens are out playing, to air it all out. Sometimes I tie sprigs of pigweed or dandelion greens from the wires inside, for their later dining pleasure.

I've noticed that if the chickens are in the coop while the lid is open, they then get VERY spooked if I close the lid. I think it means they think there's a hawk swooping down on them.

The coop didn't stay looking this way for too long: Malucho re-tooled the whole thing again, but we're waiting on those photos.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, looking at that I can sort of see why you'd go larger. A few of the coops on the tour were cages like this, but most had attached run areas too, so the chickens have some choice during the day.