All posts for the month April, 2015

Further progress on the coop.  Framing is done and nest boxes have been added.  Getting close to done.  Maybe we will have chickens this weekend.

The foreman was on the job site checking measurements.
chicken coop frame 1

chicken coop frame 2


We’ve started on framing the coop.  The coop will go on the far end of the run (see earlier post) and still leave about 8 feet of decking.   We will be adding two nesting boxes to the end.

coop construction

Like all animals, chickens need fresh, clean water to survive.  While researching the internet to determine the water solution that was right for me, I came across a plethora of quality products.  Here is a list of the most popular chicken waterer (prices are approximate):

These seem to be the product-of-choice these days.  They attach into just about anything (buckets, plastic bottles, PVC, etc) and most people report that their chickens learn to drink from them almost immediately.  Easy solution to keep water clean and accessible.  Water source can be outside the coop to make for easier filling. There are several types on the market and the choice is really personal preference.

MERSUII Threaded Style
$6/pack of 10
water nipple

Saddle Style
$6/pack of 10
saddle style water nipple

Feeder Cups
$17/pack of 5
nipple feeder cup

Standard waterer that hangs on the side/top of the coop or sits on the ground.  Benefits to a canteen style waterer are price, durability and ease of use. The downside is that they do not hold much water so you often have to place several around the coop.

Galvanized Steel Canteen
$11 ea
hanging canteen

Hanging Waterer 
$13 ea
harris water fountain

Galvanized Double Wall Fountains
$30 2gal size
double wall fountain

These off-the-shelf automatic fountains usually work using a pressurized water line (e.g. garden hose).  A valve will turn off the water once it reaches a certain level.  They do provide a constant flow of fresh water but they are prone to spillage.

Automatic Poultry Waterer
auto poultry waterer


Watering System

I just recently came across these threaded poultry water nipples.  I bought a 10-pack which should be more than enough to provide water inside and outside the coop.
water nipple
The idea is to drill a 5/16″ pilot hole into a container (like a 5 gallon bucket) or PVC pipe.  The chicken peck at the end and is rewarded with water.  From what I read online, these work great for providing clean water and the chickens train themselves very quickly.
water nipple bucket
My plan is to create a PVC system that collects rain water from the roof and provides water inside and outside the coop.

Hanging Feeder

For feeding needs inside the coop I purchased from Amazon the Harris Farms 7lb Hanging Feeder.  The 7lb Feeder is to be good for up to 15 chickens.  Harris Farms also make 10lb and 25lb feeders.

The Feeder arrived the other day and from the eyes of an inexperienced poultry farmer it looks sturdy and built solid.  I have read that the height of the feeder should be equal to the back of the birds.  In fact, some people hang the feeder just so the chicken has to stretch a bit to get to the food.  This is suppose to keep the mess to a minimum.  I am going to use a chain so that the height is easily adjustable as the chickens grow.
Harris Feeder

The coop is officially under-construction!  The run is complete and the coop will sit on one end of the run.  The run is 12 feet long and 39 inches wide and 36 inches tall.  The coop will be 4 feet long which will give me an 8 foot deck which I will probably use to set planters on or just give me a work space.

Here is the Foreman on the job site making sure quality standards are met.  She even drew up some plans (in her hands and posted below) on her own to make sure Walt had everything in order.
Coop I
The Foreman told Walt that he needed two triangles on the end and five pieces of wood in the middle.  The tree on the left has a humming bird feeder hanging from a branch.  This is because she saw the feeder on the ground and asked why we had not hung it yet.  And of course you have the sun in the upper right.
Coop Plans
Here is the finished run.  Everything was made with pressure treated lumber and then we applied an additional coat of waterproofing.  The near end was finished off with a hinged door for easy access.
Coop II

Chicken Coop

My next step is to build a chicken coop.

Did you know that Williams-Sonoma sells coops? The coop pictured below retails for $1,500.  I like the design of the cedar coop & run with planter box on top.  Perhaps I could use the basic design and build something similar.

I enlisted the help of my carpenter (Walt) and we talked about a similar design but with some customizations.  We agreed on a reasonable price and work has commenced!