Monday, October 8, 2012

Creepy Coop gets a Facelift

The BEFORE Picture
The Creepy Coop was a crooked little building filled with black widow spiders and mysterious heart monitoring medical equipment when we first purchased the property on which it stands. It was likely used as a chicken coop in its youth, indicated by the remains of bricks around the back (which may have been beneath a chicken run fence) and also by the unusual back door panel that had fallen off at some point, but had a handle (it could have been where the chickens went in and out of the run.) It was built reasonably well but had been beaten on by the sun and time. Parts had fallen off or become very loose. And when I say black widows, I'm talking haunted house infestation quantity spiders.

I used it as a coop when my chickens free ranged until the red-tailed hawk came. He figured out how to get in the coop and steal a chicken or two or three.

The coop needed A LOT of work to really make it predator proof. I still wonder if any enclosure is fully predator proof...

Mom in her fancy headgear, painting on the barn red.
Anyways, Mom is visiting. She likes projects as evidenced by the outhouse built last year. She decided to take on the Creepy Coop. We did A LOT of repairs to it using mostly stuff we had strewn around the property in order to save money (not time) <- important point.

We cleaned out all the debris inside and found some usable treasures, like a paint pan, tools, and bits of wood. Next we painted the coop barn red to match the Veggie Shack. Mom admired the craftsmanship on the Veggie Shack and decided to mimic its design by adding some decorative trim and using the same accent color on it (ginger lemon which was leftover from the Veggie Shack).

Nesting areas and perches.
The old screen on the "window" was removed. It was pretty crispy from being out in the weather. The screen was replaced with metal mesh fabric leftover from the chicken tractor project. The empty spots on the door where glass used to be once upon a time was also replaced with the same, tough, leftover metal screening to keep Mr. Hawk from his Kentucky Fried meal.

I installed "natural" perches (defined as tree branches scavenged from local trees) in one corner of the coop. Mom installed shelves (made of scrap wood and fencing) next to my perches. We cleaned up the old nesting boxes and moved them in. We had a couple of old crates lying around too that needed a shelf to sit on.

The Triangle Entry for Chickens Only
I should also mention that the Creepy Coop is located by the buck goats' area. In fact, it adjoined their domain until they beat two huge holes right through the back of the building. It was then that I decided to rennovate their bachelor pad and put up heavy duty horse fencing with a heck of a lot more t-stakes than ever before. I also moved the fenceline way back from the coop so they couldn't beat the heck out of it again. Mom and I patched the two holes with pieces of plywood that were just lying around. We found the old triangle shaped door I had used prior (the bucks had managed to knock that off) and reattached it with nails and screws. The idea of the triangle was to keep the ducks out as they're wider than chickens. It works, but doesn't matter so much now because I am striving to keep my ducks and chickens separate. It's just better that way. Ducks foul the water in seconds.

Anti-Coyote Devices
The chicken run is a dog kennel (which also used to adjoin the buck pen and you can guess how well that went) which I removed the old, beaten chain link from and recovered with 6 foot horse fencing that I had taken down from the rennovated buck area. I covered the top with chicken wire to deter Mr. Hawk. The bottom edge is attached to one or two foot lengths of rusty old horse fencing that is buried beneath heavy gravel to hopefully keep Mr. Coyote from digging in. My wonderful friend Christa and her daughter Tami donated three pieces of corrugated aluminum to keep birds from being pulled through the fencing at night (because when it gets dark, some chickens sleep beside the fence and their brains shut off, making them easy targets).

We moved the hens in before the final touch-ups were in place becasue, let's face it, the chickens could care less what the coop looks like as long as no one is eating or terrorizing them. We also added the two bantam rooster Farmer G and Farmer K intend to show. Almost all the other roosters are on the Dinner Menu...

And the hens are so much happier. They thanked us kindly...

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