Author Topic: The Crack House  (Read 1440 times)

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Offline imnukensc

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The Crack House
« on: May 21, 2017, 03:38:22 PM »
I've been pondering/planning a small (4 birds) chicken coop for the backyard for the past few months, but there's been so many other things taking higher priority this spring that it's taken until now to get to it.  I looked at dozens and dozens of backyard coop plans and sketched some stuff out.  While I probably could've slapped something together that a chicken would be happy to call home, I enlisted the help of my friend Andy "Trump" Welch.  (Andy's motto is "Making Chicken Coops Great Again!")  Andy is one hell of a builder and I can assure you he didn't cut corners on this coop.  I said earlier that I enlisted his help, but in truth, I was the help.  I mostly handed him boards so that he could make sure they were cut squarely, to the correct length, and joined and fastened securely.  I truly owe him a debt of gratitude for his expertise.  We started on Wednesday afternoon and finished yesterday evening.  Anyway, except for some 1x4 trim for the corners and some paint, it's done.  Looking at the pics you might think it wasn't much work, but I can promise you, we were dead dog tired every evening.  We still have to build the run, but for the most part that will be a piece of cake compared to the coop.

About the coop:  It is sited on the western side of the yard to take advantage of the afternoon shade there.  All of the wood is pressure treated.  The basic floor is a 5X5 square not including the nest box which is about 2 1/2 feet wide by 1 foot 4 inches deep to allow for two nest spaces.   There is a 2 foot wide strip of 1/2x1 inch wire under the roost.  Support posts are set in concrete.  Since my house is board and batten, I went with T1-11 to somewhat mimic that.  The high side from floor to ceiling is 4 feet.  Low side is 3'6".  Roof is some 5V I had left from a project years ago.  The run will be 8' x 16'.  The plan is to let the chickens free range daily unless it's pouring down rain and I don't feel like going to let them out of the run.

Hmmmmm.......doesn't look like a chicken coop.


End of afternoon 1


End of afternoon 2


End of afternoon 3 and my bud, Andy "Trump" Welch admiring our progress


Finally!

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Online wolfy

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 03:48:48 PM »
Looks like a hen's idea of Mar-a-Lago resort! :thumbsup: :hail:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 10:17:16 PM »
Tornado and flood proof, what a deal! 
With that height, might I suggest fencing in the bottom and leaving it open to the run?  That way the birds have shelter from a sudden rain storm, or shade from the mid-day sun.

Having this project behind you, you might get a chuckle out of my "Chicken Ritz Hotel" I posted here ages ago.

http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=254.msg3860#msg3860
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Offline upthecreek

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2017, 06:09:34 AM »
That looks awesome. Happy chickens I bet!

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Offline xj35s

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 02:05:14 PM »
That's hardcore. I missed that that thread O.P. glad you linked it.

Not sure I want to do the butchering or I'd already have a few. I wanted a mobile chicken tractor I could move everyday.

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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2017, 05:32:10 PM »
With that height, might I suggest fencing in the bottom and leaving it open to the run?  That way the birds have shelter from a sudden rain storm, or shade from the mid-day sun.

Having this project behind you, you might get a chuckle out of my "Chicken Ritz Hotel" I posted here ages ago.
http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=254.msg3860#msg3860

I had considered that, OP, but am not going to do it for a few reasons.  The birds will be free ranging 99% of the time and there is a multitude of shade here.  If it does start raining while they're in the run and they don't have enough sense to go into the coop, then they're just dumb clucks.  The reason I put the wire floor under the roost in the coop was threefold:  I don't want to muck out chicken chit or have a "poop board" to clean on a regular basis.  It will also help with ventilation.  My thinking is most of the crap will fall through the wire and what doesn't can mostly be cleaned with a garden hose and a deck scrub brush.  I intend to have a small (about 8'X8') covered area in the run where the food and water will be since there will be none in the coop.  I don't want the birds in the coop except to roost and lay eggs.  We'll see how that all works out.  I'll post pics of the run/feeder/waterer when that's all complete.  Won't be this week though since it's all rain.

I had recently reread the thread you linked.  I've read every chicken thread on the forum within the past few months.
 
That looks awesome. Happy chickens I bet!
Creek

We'll see, Creek.  Still gotta get birds and it's getting late to be able to get just a few chicks of the kind I want.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2017, 09:13:31 PM »
What breed(s) are you looking for?
Forgive my CRS, but what part of the country/climate are you in?
My friend & neighbor built a coop recently that resembles yours. He build a trapdoor & ramp so the birds could go down and their foul weather "run" is the space under the coop. That worked out great until this winter when the snow was as deep as his stilts! :shocked:  The birds would usually go down into the "basement" and watch the world go by from the security of their pen. This winter it was like a cave!
His feeder is a 4" PVC pipe that they access from outside in good weather. It's fed by a hopper inside the coop. When they can't get out in the yard, he has another pipe he can un-cap inside the coop.
We have to make certain allowance for our climate extremes.
For an inexpensive water system, I'm very pleased with the solution I found. I wasn't about to fool with water lines, drip nipples and all that hardware. The carboy has a 3" PVC pipe that slips over the neck. Holes are drilled in the pipe just a bit lower than the cutouts around the bucket. The water in the carboy empties until the level reaches the holes in the pipe. Than it's an on-demand system.  A 5 gal carboy (water cooler jug from the grocery story) will last my 9 birds about a week.

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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2017, 09:48:36 PM »
Pretty much dead center of SC here, OP.  The concern here is the heat in the summer as our winters are very mild compared to yours in MT.  It sounds like my feeder is very similar to your friend's.  My waterer will  be a 5 gallon carboy with horizontal nipples versus the vertical nipples.  I'll post pics of those once the run is complete----hopefully in a week or two.  My preference is barred rocks, but silver laced wyandottes are second on the list.  I can get some 5 or 6 week old barred rocks right now, but SWMBO wants bitties.
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Offline Quenchcrack

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2017, 05:33:52 AM »
Pretty fancy digs for chickens.  Cackleberry Manor!
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 09:52:08 PM »
Pretty much dead center of SC here, OP.  The concern here is the heat in the summer as our winters are very mild compared to yours in MT.  It sounds like my feeder is very similar to your friend's.  My waterer will  be a 5 gallon carboy with horizontal nipples versus the vertical nipples.  I'll post pics of those once the run is complete----hopefully in a week or two.  My preference is barred rocks, but silver laced wyandottes are second on the list.  I can get some 5 or 6 week old barred rocks right now, but SWMBO wants bitties.
I'm anxious to see your water system. The inverted carboy trick takes a little muscle to refill and reset, but I had all the materials on hand. I started out making one for the ducks (deeper water) to keep them from fouling their water with mud every day.  I liked it so well, I made one for the chickens.

I started out with Rhode Island Reds in '68, and had a few Plymouth Rocks along the way. I was in a rut, and stuck with the Reds until moving to Montana. We brought our flock of Reds out here with us, and they were not amused by the cold winters. I heard that Australorps did well in the cold, as well as Brahmans.  Also, an Australorp hen holds the egg-laying record with 378 eggs in one year! LOL!
I've been impressed with them all along, and the only birds that out-lay them are my 2 Americaunas (blue eggs).

I replaced my elderly Australorps with home-hatched Australorp-Brahman crosses, and they are doing great at age 2 years.  The birds took the month of January off (who didn't?  :shocked:), but right now I have 19 dozen eggs in the 'fridge and have already sold 10 dozen.  That is with 8 layers.  Two people can eat only so many egg salad or fried egg sandwiches, deviled eggs and souffles.  :-\
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2017, 06:50:29 PM »
Sunday through Wednesday was copious amounts (nearly 4 inches) of rain so Thursday I had to cut the grass.  Yesterday and today I managed to put some lipstick and trim on The Crack House.  In the "Things I Can't Stand" thread more than one person listed painting.  Count me in and especially if it's T1-11.  It's rougher than a cob and soaks up the paint.  I damn near had to wring out the gallon can of paint to have enough.  A sprayer sure would've been a whole lot easier, but I wasn't going to buy even a cheap one since it would probably never be used again.



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Offline upthecreek

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2017, 07:05:59 PM »
Looks Great! When are the omelettes going to be ready?  :cheers:

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Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2017, 08:45:47 PM »
It does look great.  Nice color and nice trim.  Them be lucky Chickens who gets to live there.
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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2017, 10:01:38 PM »
Looks GREAT!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2017, 10:36:42 PM »
Beautiful!  When do we get to see some pix of the inside?
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Offline xj35s

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2017, 01:01:20 AM »
I like that. Nice venting too. Gonna be some happy chics there for sure.
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2017, 08:44:28 AM »
Here ya go, OP.  Interior shots.





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Offline upthecreek

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2017, 08:53:08 AM »
Hell, that's making me want to lay an egg  :rofl:

 :cheers:

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2017, 09:13:06 AM »
Thanks for the views. Interesting idea with the wire under the roost.  What type of litter you you plan on using  for the rest of the floor?
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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2017, 09:56:58 AM »
We always used a thick layer of cottonseed hulls for 'bedding' in our chicken house.  We changed it every few weeks as it became saturated with chicken droppings and we used that in the garden for fertilizer, so there was zero waste.  It saves the flooring and is much easier to shovel out than plain ol' dried manure that sticks like crazy to wood flooring.   Just something I remember from the days when EVERY farm had chickens, hogs, cattle, sheep.........and CHICKEN HAWKS! :spider:


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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2017, 10:39:28 AM »
By painting the floor, using the wire under the roost, and not having any food or water in the coop, I'm hoping to avoid using litter, but if I find I have to I'll most likely use pine shavings.  I'll put a 1x4 between the wire and the floor if I do that to keep the litter off the wire.  If I had the wire to do over, I'd've used 1x2 welded wire instead of the 1/2x1 welded that I used.

Speaking of cottonseed hulls----when I was a kid, I lived about a half mile from a cotton gin.  Digging fishing worms didn't get any easier than under those hulls.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2017, 03:41:00 PM »
I use hardwood shavings for floor litter, sold in compressed bales for horse stalls. I tried putting the shavings in the nesting boxes, and the chickens refused to use them. They started laying on the dirt in their run! My ducks wouldn't use their house with the shaving in there. I had to switch the duck litter to straw (which they love), and put straw in the nest boxes.
I still avoid straw as floor litter because it makes a gawdawful mat that's a pain to shovel. The shavings make an unpleasant job a snap.
I'm going to be anxious to see how you do, training the birds to poop where you want them to.   :popcorn: :cheers:
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Offline upthecreek

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2017, 04:01:30 PM »
Now OP, you know a chicken would never where it ain't suppose to.

 :stir:

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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2017, 05:13:06 PM »
I'm going to be anxious to see how you do, training the birds to poop where you want them to.   :popcorn: :cheers:

 :thumbsup:

Haha!  I said I was hoping to avoid using litter, but I'm expecting this chicken poop experiment to go awry.
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Online wolfy

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2017, 05:28:46 PM »
Cottonseed hulls. 8)
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2017, 04:55:07 PM »
Cottonseed hulls. 8)

You'd think living in the middle of a state where they grow a buttload of cotton I could find some cottonseed hulls.  Unfortunately all the cotton gins are about least 50 miles east or south of me.
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2017, 12:37:08 PM »
We has chickens!  Picked up Fried, Scrambled, Boiled, and Poached from the Post Office at 0745 this morning.  All seem to be lively and are eating and drinking well.  Their digestive systems seem to be in fine working order!

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2017, 07:21:46 PM »
You named 'em. Can't eat 'em now.....
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2017, 05:14:42 PM »
No progress on the run.  Hopefully next week.  In the meantime, I've just been fiddle farting around doing some little things. 

This is what the waterer will look like, OP.  None of this is glued up and probably won't be.  I'm sure the piece extending to the funnel will have to be longer since the funnel will be outside the run.  There's another nipple on the other side.  Looks a little wonky, but it'll have the correct slope when it's supported properly.



Just something I found amusing and added over the nest box:


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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2017, 05:48:09 PM »
That's a pretty unique water system. Kudos!  As long as you can fill it with a garden hose, it will be pretty handy.
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2017, 02:07:01 PM »
that is one sturdy henhouse not to mention really nice looking

Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2017, 07:37:46 PM »
The run is done!  Been a long, hot week, but finally finished up this afternoon.  You can see the dates on the pics for the daily progress.











If you look hard enough, you can see the peeps checking out their new digs.  We'll put them in there daily for about the next week and bring them back into the brooder at night and then they'll be in there full time.  I can easily adjust the height of the waterer for when I put them in permanently.






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Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2017, 08:49:06 PM »
Them peeps are living in the Taj Mahal.
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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2017, 09:33:24 PM »
Dang Nuke that looks great! Plenty of room for your hens to run around.

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2017, 10:07:18 PM »
So, nuke, I'm wondering about how many frogskins do you figure it takes to end up with a chicken-mansion/egg-factory like that these days? :shrug:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2017, 11:25:58 PM »
Holy Hilton, Batman!  And when you're done with chickens, a few slabs of T-111 and you have a mother-in-law cottage!
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2017, 08:35:26 AM »
So, nuke, I'm wondering about how many frogskins do you figure it takes to end up with a chicken-mansion/egg-factory like that these days? :shrug:

Well, I haven't done a final accounting, wolfy, but I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna be making my money back in eggs.  Lumber alone was just shy of a grand.  Add in the wire, the screen door, couple sheets of 5V, and all the other incidentals (nails, screws, staples, hinges, paint, etc) and I figure close to $1500.
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Re: The Crack House
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2017, 11:53:00 AM »
So, nuke, I'm wondering about how many frogskins do you figure it takes to end up with a chicken-mansion/egg-factory like that these days? :shrug:

Well, I haven't done a final accounting, wolfy, but I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna be making my money back in eggs.  Lumber alone was just shy of a grand.  Add in the wire, the screen door, couple sheets of 5V, and all the other incidentals (nails, screws, staples, hinges, paint, etc) and I figure close to $1500.
Well, you never really expected to in the first place did you?  :shrug:     However....Fried, Boiled, Scrambled and Poached better be learnin' how to wipe their own butts in appreciation for that level of accommodation! :lol:
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