Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New chicken coop and more rabbits

So after the last month or so of having my chickens eaten one by one by a predator, I finally just ditched work for a few hours (ahaha, just kidding, co-workers who may be reading this!) and built a chicken coop.

Everything I used was scrap wood I had lying around, except for 3 large hinges I had to buy at the local hardware store. As is usual with my projects, I didn't really plan it out beyond what was in my head, and it evolved as I was putting it together. One day I really need to draw out plans first, but I kinda enjoy the challenge of impromptu building projects, especially when it's just a chicken coop built from scrap wood.

So I put together the 10x10 dog kennel we had from our old house and built a 2x2x8 foot chicken coop inside. There was an old nest box in the barn that's 6 feet long, so I wanted to make sure I could fit that in there with a bit of room to spare. On the bottom, I made sure the braces for the stand could double as roosts, so I used deck spindles left over from a deck project at the old house. The stand holds the coop part about 2 feet off the ground, so they can play/roost underneath. The plywood came from the tops of my rabbit hutches (that I took off once the hutches were placed into the barn), and most of the other wood is from a deck project, so it's treated.

The whole front of the coop opens up for egg access (eventually), but I decided to make it open downward, so the door could double as a ladder for the chickens to climb into the coop. I may eventually remake the roof because it's kinda flimsy, but there's a tarp over the entire kennel now, so it's not an immediate problem.

Now my seven remaining chickens seem pretty happy and I haven't lost one in the week since I built it (knock on wood!). The bunnies in the picture are still very young, so I put them in the coop to protect them. They'll eventually make their way to the barn where the rest of the rabbits are.

This last weekend we also took a drive down to the Collinsville Flea Market, which I always enjoy. We were going to look at goose prices and probably buy a feeder pig or two if they had any, but nope! The only pigs they had were baby potbellies, and those poor things are just bred for pets these days. We're looking for Yorkshires or Berkshires. Oh well, we may just wait for the spring since not much is available in the winter (even though it's been warm). After all, I haven't even built their shelter yet! I tend to get a little ahead of myself.

We also aimed to get some more rabbits, since I only had one female and two males left when the dogs decided rabbits taste yummy last month. That's also the time when they figured out how to nudge open the rabbit cages... So we left the flea market with three female rabbits: two babies and one adult. Not really worth the hour drive in my old truck, but I was happy we got something. I bred the adult as soon as we got home, so hopefully we get some babies in a month or so.

Other that that, I finally decided on how I'm going to fence the garden. I think I'll put that into another post though. SO MANY PROJECTS! Oh, and someone remind me to tell the story of when I got attacked by a hawk in the barn.

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