Building a Chicken Coop - Part 3

8:17 PM

As we left the coop progress last weekend, we had a frame sitting on concrete blocks with the roofing rafters and perpendicular purlins set up awaiting the installation of the roofing panels. Kyle and I both anxiously awaited the weekend so we could going on our project! We had checked off lots of items completed, but many more lay in store for us.

Kyle actually came home a little early on Friday so we could get to work.  By the time the sun set on Friday evening, we (Kyle) had managed to get all our roofing panels put up, I had dug a foot deep trench around our coop (into which our hardware cloth would go) and the walls of our henhouse were framed.

This whole house is where our chickens will live - for the most part, they will not range around our yard alone. I would love it if they could, but there are too many dogs that get loose around our neighborhood, too many hawks, foxes and other predators.  So this coop has to contain a run for them as well as a coop/henhouse with egg boxes.

Above is the view of our henhouse part. And you can see the hardware cloth we installed in the ceiling part of the coop. There will be plenty of ventilation in this structure.

I will say that we have picked the most beautiful spot in our backyard for this coop. It gets the perfect amount of shade and breezes and has a beautiful view of our azalea bed and Japanese maple. I don't tell you this for the benefit of our chickens, but because it makes a lovely place to spend one's weekend constructing something. Even in the heat of the day, there are cool breezes here.

There are such large chunks of our year that we are unable to play outside - for most of summer, there are so many mosquitoes it's unbearable or just the heat itself is unbearable. I told Kyle we have spent our last three weekends outside, possibly during the most lovely weather we'll get all year!  It's been absolutely lovely. I love that our kids are taking full advantage of our huge yard, playing soccer, riding tricycles down the hill, running around with Singer, and all while we are enjoying it too.

This weekend, we knew would be our hardest part of building this coop.  Digging the trench was not going to be any fun, this I knew.  And then there was the wrapping of the structure in hardware cloth.  The stuff is pokey. It hurts. My hands are slashed up like you wouldn't believe. I have blisters and cuts and scrapes and gouges. I tried wearing gloves, but they kept slipping off my hands and I couldn't feel what I was doing. 
It's a good thing I would never have a career as a hand model anyway! 

Above are the strips of hardware cloth I cut out to cover our roof sections.  

The work zone in all it's glory. Yes, our raised bed is currently a staging zone and less of a growing spot. One thing at a time.

My lovely trench. I once again marveled at the sheer number and size of rocks I continued to unearth. It began to make sense to me why there didn't seem to be as much dirt to fill it up afterwards when I looked over at the huge rock pile we'd set aside. We ended up using them after all just to be support and bulk!

August as Daddy's helper. He and Brooklyn liked to feel they were contributing, so I gave them a spade and had them help me clear the trenches more thoroughly.

The back side trench. It was precarious because the concrete blocks were barely secure once I unearthed a foot of dirt beneath them. We had to be careful!

My gorgeous construction crew.
It turns out that couples construction is a love language of mine. 
Who knew seeing your husband build something with you could be so sexy?

Just another view.

Looking across our backyard.

The trek back up to our house from the lower backyard. This part of our yard needs some TLC next...

Saturday morning dawned early for me and Kyle - well before our kids woke up! We spent hours wrapping the lower section with hardware cloth, then the upper section. 

My yellow climbing roses, I can never remember their name...they are amazing this year. 

The ones I planted on the other side of the balcony are finally taking off too. Yeah!

But back to our project.  The fun never stops.

And now, the top wrapped and the trench refilled.

I should tell you that this process was quite laborious. Not that I didn't enjoy it, I really did. But once you get the cloth where you want it, you have to hammer in about a thousand poultry staples to secure them. Approximately every 3-4 inches, in would go a staple. 

I really do like hammering. It's therapy and instant results at the same time.

You were suppose to wrap the top panel in one big swath of hardware cloth, but Kyle and I found that it was impossible to do without cutting into sections. There was no way to hold the roll of cloth level without it throwing off the angle of what you were working with. It made for a challenge.

Once the hardware cloth was up, minus one section on the far left side which had to wait till the henhouse was further along, we turned our attention to building the door. That was pretty fun. I kept telling Kyle, once we get the hardware cloth up and trench dug, our work will be easy. He scoffed at my optimism, but I think we both agree that constructing something is way more fun than wrapping anything in hardware cloth or digging in our rocky yard.  Throwing some more optimism in here, I will add that I did all this digging after it had rained a few days before, making the soil the easiest to dig into that it could ever be. 

I am no Pollyanna, but I really have loved every aspect of building this thing...

Building the large exterior egg box.

And the smaller egg box. Oh, that's me furrowing my brow at some aspect of the plan that required my intense concentration. Teehee. 

Once the egg boxes were up, Kyle started putting up the boards to the henhouse. I'd already made sure each section had the boards ready and labeled and cut to size, excluding what trimming around the egg boxes would have to occur.

I painted the interior and exterior of the egg boxes with primer. And in this picture, you can see the door! 
The boards used to side the henhouse on the front and back are old siding boards I grabbed out of a dumpster and we cut to size. I wish I had more of them, actually, cause I like the way they look.  I will be painting them, though. That's one of the "Final Touches."

Exterior henhouse walls up. While Kyle was doing that, I was painting the egg boxes, nailing on cedar shakes, and measuring the interior of the henhouse for the plywood floor and wall panels to be cut.

As of end of day Sunday, we were SO CLOSE to COMPLETION! 
All we lack is to finish the henhouse plywood walls and the interior henhouse wall which will have an access door. We also need to install latches for our egg boxes (which we just purchased tonight), build the ramp the chickens will use, refill the dirt on one side of the coop and paint the henhouse!

I am so proud of what we've accomplished so far, and have had so much fun undertaking this with Kyle, my husband, best friend and the love of my life.

Stick around, we will finish this thing!!

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