Part 2 of our coop building adventure:
The next weekend, it took the entire weekend to finish framing out the doorway and build the roof framing. No matter how much I dislike my desk job, I’m really glad I don’t have to frame roofing for a living! We also put in the linoleum flooring. Now those who do that for a living have fancy equipment, but let me tell you, installing that flooring by hand is also not for the faint at heart! We also installed half of the OSB roof decking.
During the week, we managed to get some work done a couple of evenings. Monday’s attempts were hampered by 50 mph winds. Work on the roof…no thanks. By Wednesday night we had the rest of the OSB on the roof and OSB on two walls. The third weekend, we got the rest of the osb on the walls and all the siding up. The partition wall inside was framed and covered in hex cloth (chicken wire), the screen door was installed with a handle and a latch and the front door was installed. The windows and ventilation openings were all covered in sturdy hardware cloth. Finally, the coop our blog friend Wendy, from Unpaved Roads, dubbed the “chicken mansion” was at least completely roughed in and predator tight. We piled in the wood shavings, set up their feeders and two new larger waterers. I bought some galvanized shallow pans (like oil pans) and put a brick in the middle of them to help support the waterer, then covered them with hardware cloth. (By the way, this has worked great to keep the coop dry with the ducks in there! They are messy, messy, messy.)
Late in the afternoon, we were ready to move all the feathered kids in! (The door was installed after this pic by the way.) We transported them in their brooder boxes and of course they squawked about being picked up out of them. Once loose in the coop, they all huddled in a far corner, squirming and vying for the spot farthest in the corner. After seeing a picture of them like that, my father in law advised us to put some cans of food in those corners so that one of them didn’t get accidentally smothered by being trapped in the corner. Finally they started to relax and mill about, checking out their new house. The ducks were being a little bossy towards the chicks. They had been in brooder boxes “next door” to each other, but hadn’t been in the same space for several weeks. I reminded the ducks that while they were quite a bit larger now because they grow so quickly, soon they would all be close to the same size and the ducks would be FAR outnumbered. They seem to have all settled in together. And the ducks are less bossy now. We can tell the ducks’ legs are getting stronger now that they have room to move around. We can’t wait to let them out into the yard to rummage around. We’re almost done with their enclosed yard, but we’re thinking of sectioning off a smaller area around the coop for their first forays outside. The ducks are getting their feathers. We took them a shallow tote with about an inch of water and filled it with chopped fresh spinach. Boy howdy…you don’t want to get in the way of that! They had a glorious time eating the spinach and splashing in the water for the first time.
Still lots of work to do. We need to build their roosts (which will have a poop "deck" below them), nest boxes, a little more work on the door, some shelving for the storage area, the permanent roof, paint the outside, and a permanent bird entrance door. But it's getting there. They really needed the extra space - especially the ducks - and they seem to have grown super fast since they moved in.
Until next time, worms rock and bees rule.