Building a Chicken Coop - Part 2

8:24 PM

The only other time I've ever really put something together with my own two hands (and some power tools) was last summer when Kyle and I made a raised bed for our backyard.

It was rewarding, but something we were able to do in a few hours. This is taking a bit more time, and I think it will be proportionally MORE rewarding. It's definitely more of a workout.

This was our second full weekend of working on our coop. We actually started putting the four frame walls together on Friday evening when Kyle got home from work. Which means, excluding a birthday party on Saturday and church on Sunday, we worked from 9-8 all weekend.

We have found what we believe is the perfect spot in our backyard, which also happens to be one of the most unlevel backyards in history. We knew this because when we did build our raised bed, in order to level it, the back edge was a foot off the ground. We ended up filling that side with huge landscaping rocks that conveniently are just buried all over our backyard!

Looking at the frame, the one open panel is gonna be a door that we'll use to walk in the coop.  The box on the far left will be the actual henhouse part of our coop/run. And what you see is obviously not level at all.

After a full day Saturday and Sunday of measuring meticulously to place our cement blocks which will serve as piers for our frame, we borrowed my brother Zach's strong arms to help us lift our coop onto its supports.  I kid you not when I say that the digging/measuring/leveling of those 10 concrete blocks was one of the most frustrating, exasperating ways to spend a weekend. 

Just when you finally get a post dug in, you realize you're nowhere NEAR level and about 3 inches off where it needs to be.  And as you can see, even all leveled off, the back side is about 1 foot up off the ground. This will get interesting this weekend when we wrap our structure with hardware cloth.  The plan was for the hardware cloth to be buried a foot into the ground. Well, it will easily do that in the front, but that foot will be necessary to merely COVER the back. I'm praying I have enough extra to attach to that back section.

Also, see the raised bed in that picture above? See the pile of rocks just to the right outside corner of it? Those are just some of the huge rocks that we pulled out of our soil as we dug into our ground. I never cease to be amazed at how rocky our ground is. We would never need to buy landscape rocks - they lurk under the surface of the ground just waiting to be plucked out!

After getting the coop on its supports, we took Sunday to attach our roof rafters and horizontal purlins (pictured lying on the rafters below). We could have put the roof panels on, but we had yet to prime our whole structure with an internal wood stabilizer that was being sent to me via UPS on Monday.

To complicate our work process on Saturday, Dorien got it into his head that he wanted nothing to do with being outdoors or letting Daddy and I work on the coop. He wailed and cried and clung to me like a leech, which is why I am seated on a piece of wood in the above picture. It was one of those times when there appears to be nothing physically wrong with your child, but he acts like he's dying. It was less than ideal for our project, but we plodded through. 

Purlins set up on the roof rafters.

Since there was only so much we could do before priming the wood, we made the most of our every hour of daylight. We attached the studs to which our exterior egg boxes will be attached. We put the general frame of our henhouse structure and supports together. We cut or sized any additional piece of wood that hadn't already been cut or sized.

The upper box on the left is our henhouse. There will be an exterior egg box on the front wall and 3 exterior egg boxes coming from the left side.

Then came another fun, analytical, puzzle-making part that only someone with my personality would find quite so thrilling.  I had a list of varying plywood pieces that I'd need to cut to frame our exterior egg boxes. I then had to figure out the most logical, concise way to map that out on a 4x8 piece of plywood and have Kyle cut it out for me. It surprisingly didn't take all that long, although my knees were sore from crawling around on plywood afterwards.  Kyle then cut it all out and it is currently lying in a nice little pile in our basement, awaiting its use.

My primer did come in on Monday and Kyle and I spent all Monday evening painting the stuff all over our frame and as many of the other wooden pieces we'll be using until we literally ran out of daylight.  We still have a few pieces to go, but basically, we're almost done with that. 

The next step this weekend is to put on our roofing panels, attach the hardware cloth to the sides and tops of the frame, build and frame the door and maybe then put our henhouse walls together. I have no idea where we'll get, but all I know is my chickens are not getting any smaller! 

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