Project #4 – Chickens

August 10, 2013

We painted our chicken coop today.  Well, we got most of it done anyway.  It was one of the funnest things I have done with my family! Don’t worry the paint came off our skin easily with water.

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August 7, 2013

After 137 days since we bought our chicks we got the first egg!  Its shell was soft.  I’m not sure why.  I’m thinking that maybe it is because it was its first egg, and hadn’t fully developed yet?

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June 29, 2013

I completed a chicken watering system where water is filled outside the chicken coop with at 5 gallon bucket.  The chickens access the water by pecking at some “nipples” that are connected to the water system inside the coop.

You can see detailed instruction of how I created the chicken watering system here:

Chicken Watering System

Here are some pictures of the watering system.

June 2, 2013

The chicken coop run is now complete and the chickens have been enjoying being free to roam freely indoors or outdoors.  The run was enclosed with 5 ft tall chicken wire.  I put a gate in so I can enter the run when I need to.  The gate was made with some scrap wood.  The hinges and latch were bought at the Home Depot store.

May 29, 2013

The PVC chicken feeder has been working pretty well so far except for one thing, the chickens tend to scratch the feed out of the feeder and onto the ground.  The chickens will crowd around the feeder eating happily, then one will get the brilliant idea of jumping into the feeder.  Once in the feeder, the next obvious step is to scratch the feed out.

I’m debating whether to put a wire across the top of the feeder, or a slanted board.  I think either one should prevent the chickens from getting into the feeder and scratching the feed out.  Do you have any ideas on a solution?

I’ve been making some progress on the chicken run.  Here are some pictures:

The chicken door leading to the coop is simply a slat that can be slid up or down.  Right now it is down, so the chickens are stuck in the coop until the run is finished.  To build the perimeter fence of the chicken run I’m using 8 ft. long landscape posts that are buried 30 inches into the ground.  I have all the fence posts in, and most of the chicken wire, but somehow forgot to take pictures.  I’ll make sure to upload these soon.  I’ll be putting a door for me to get into the run when needed.

The chicken ramp is a walkway with pegs to help prevent the chickens from sliding.  I noticed that without the pegs, they seemed a little hesitant and would slip and slid down the ramp.

I received my order of chicken watering nipples in the mail and am excited about building a watering system for the chickens.  I envision the watering system to be similar to the chicken feeder.  Something I can load full of water on the outside of the coop.  Right now, I need to check the water daily.  I’m hoping the new watering system will lessen the maintenance required.

May 15, 2013 Chicken feeder from PVC pipe

I put together a chicken feeder from PVC pipe (sewer/drain pipe, 3000 lb crush strength).  I can load the standpipe (on the outside of the coop) full of the feed.  The is a 90-degree elbow that goes into the coop where the chickens get a continuous supply of the good stuff.

chicken feeder

chicken feeder

Chicken feed standpipe

Chicken feed standpipe

May 8, 2013 The chickens spend their first night in the coop

Saturday night the chickens spent their first night in the coop!

April 27, 2013

I was able to put the coop’s roof on this weekend.  Here are some pictures.

April 22, 2013

Here are some pictures of the coop’s progress.  I am building this following my preliminary design.

Here are some pictures of the chickens.  They continue to grow tremendously fast.  I keep them in a box in the garage with a heat lamp to keep them warm.  I put newspaper on the floor, but they are starting to scratch it up as fast as I put it in.  They poop a lot, and the place is starting to stink.  The chickens and I will be happy to have the coop complete.

With the coop well under way, I’ve made some additional plans for the nesting boxes and roost.  I’ve researched what to consider when building nesting boxes and a roost and have written about them here: Building nesting boxes, Building a roost.

April 6, 2013

I’ve started to put together the framing for the chicken coop.  I’m sticking pretty close to my original design, but instead of shingles for the roof I bought some corrugated plastic roofing.

I think the chicks have at least doubled in size in the past 2 weeks.  I raised the heat lamp a little higher since I noticed they were beginning to spend more time away from the lamp.  This should lower the heat and make them feel more comfortable.  I also put in a little cardboard shelter for the chicks to get out of the light if they choose.

Framing for the coop

Framing for the coop

I plan to fence the area to the right of where the frame stands in the picture to be the location of the chicken run.

April 2, 2013

The chicks are growing feathers in to replace the down feathers.  They seem bigger ever day.  Its not surprising considering the amount they eat every day.

I’ve noticed that the water needs to be cleaned out about every 1 to 2 days from it getting dirty.  Now it makes sense why Ive seen the poultry nipple waterers.  This eliminates the possibility of them stepping and pooping in the water.
Poultry Nipple Waterer on Amazon

I’ve started leveling out the area in my backyard for the chicken coop.  The plan is to start building the coop this week.

March 31, 2013

Little chick and helper

Little chick and helper

Chick putting on feathers

Chick putting on feathers

March 25, 2013

I drew up a preliminary design for my chicken coop.  You can see it here:

Preliminary chicken coop design

This may be a larger coop than what I really need.  I ended up incorporating a small shed to share a wall with the coop.

The chicks seem to be doing well.  The kids love to hold them.  I measure the temperature under the heat lamp at 115-degrees.  The temperature in the corner of the box is about 80 degrees.    The heat lamp gives off a red light.  This set up seems to work well.

I'm here for the chicks!

I’m here for the chicks!

March 23, 2013

We bought some Rhode Island Red chicks today.  The city ordinance where I live limits homes to only 3 chickens, so that is what we got.  We are keeping them in a cardboard box with a heat lamp, feeder, and water.  Once they get some warm feathers they will be ready to move to the coop….the coop that still needs to be built.

Here are the chicks:

3 chicks

3 chicks

March 15, 2013

I went and visited a couple of chicken coops.  My father in law’s chicken coop has been successful for over 20 years!  Having a track record like that has given his advice some added clout.

My Father in Law's Chicken Coop

My Father in Law’s Chicken Coop

I’ve written a short post on things that I will need to consider when designing my own chicken coop.  You can read it here: Things to Consider in the Design of a Chicken Coop