(Picture: How the coop looked in February 2017)
We began the epic Coop Adventure in February, the days leading up to S’s birthday, possibly not one he would particularly like to repeat… We both took three days off work so had a maximum of five days to start and (so we thought!) finish.
SATURDAY – DAY ONE
Although we had already gathered wood which would be used and recycled, and I had already purchased the weld mesh, there were still many items needed.
First was a visit to Homebase where we ordered wood posts/ joists, two corrugated plastic panels for the roof, plywood panels, nails, screws, fencing staples and bolts. We queried about a blueish tinge to the joists and were told it was copper sulphate. A check on my mobile phone’s internet reassured us it wasn’t poisonous to hens.
I naively assumed we would be able to place these materials in our Hyundai i10 or Skoda but, of course, everything was much larger than I presumed. My fault. I wanted a walk-in coop didn’t I? Happily, they would be able to deliver the goods Monday morning.
Actually, I mused that evening, making a coop is rather enjoyable. Just a case of writing lists, pottering around a D. I. Y store, buying materials and tools, and crossing off items on a list. I love lists. 😀
SUNDAY – DAY TWO
Today we dug out the stones in the side garden to make room for the coop and laid the bricks down in place for the foundation.
I think I know what we’re doing. 🤔
Picture: Slideshow of various stages of coop construction, February 2017
MONDAY – DAY THREE
The delivery arrived! The joy! Now we can really get moving with the project.
Today was a day of measuring and sawing, tantrums and swearing.
No! Well, actually yes… But what I meant to say was, today was a day of measuring and sawing, drilling and screwing – we made the frame using the timber beams.
Above is a simple sentence which hides a lot of hard work and frustration. 😕
TUESDAY – Day four
Today the wooden frame began to resemble a rough outline of a coop. The roof was joined to the frame. We laid out the two corrugated plastic sheets on top of each other so they would cover the run/coop, and very carefully drilled holes for the bolts. Building the interior coop, as in the hens’ sleeping quarters, required the use of the plywood sheets we bought. Again, a measuring tape and pencil was required. We decided to have the coop three feet off the floor, and two feet height. It was attached to the frame, there was a top, bottom, and three sides. And a door which became a problem when I found it was tricky to lift open. Hmm, a problem to solve later.
The other issue was the egg door. The hens would lay their eggs in nest boxes at the back of the sleeping area. That was the plan. I had heard a flap or door at the back would provide easy access to collect those eggs. So S constructed a flap which looked like it would do the trick.
Another job to cross off the list.
Wednesday – Day Five
We finished the nest boxes on the morning of day five. A simple design of a open-sided box and two wooded partitions, we felt it would work. It would have to. We were too tired and exasperated to do much else even though there were still the ramp, nest boxes, exterior door, wire mesh, perches to do…
And, quite frankly, we were fed up of being, if you will, cooped up with this seemingly gigantic task. It was beginning to feel like an episode of TV’s Grand Designs, where a masochist/s decides to build a house from scratch. I was beginning to think we could go on that. Kevin Mccloud would be fascinated at what we were hoping to achieve.
‘I’ve seen individuals and couples build houses from scratch’, he will say in amazement, ‘but never, ever, have I seen such a big project as this one. Do you think you will ever finish it?’
‘To be honest, I don’t know,’ I will say.
As the Smiths sang, have I Started Something I’ll Never finish? 😐
(To be continued)
(Note: This post is dedicated to S. Thank you).
Facts of the Day
1. Chicken wire is more flexible but not as strong as weld mesh, which is advised to keep foxes out
2. The first electric drill was invented in 1889 by William Blanch Brain and Arthur James Arnold in Australia
3. The first portable handheld drill was created in 1895 by Wilhelm Carl Fein in Germany