Someone asked about the details of our chicken coop. I'm sure you can probably build one more cheaply than hubby did, but here you go. Click on any of the pictures for a larger version.
Open yard in front, woods in the back. The chickens used to roam picturesquely around the yard, but nowdays they're in the woods most of the time. If we fenced around the coop we'd have fewer predator losses I'm sure.
The ground is rocky and slopes a little here.
One of the Easter Eggers wonders what I'm up to. That cinderblock in front is really for me, but the chickens use it too. Hubby originally designed the back wall to have a door with a ramp for small chicks, but it turns out that they can hop up on the block too, so we never open the other side.
The door is person-sized rather than chicken-sized.
Fancy door lock #1 (closed door position). There's one at the top and another at the bottom.
Fancy door lock #2 (open door position).
Fancy footing. Jasmine crawls under the coop at this end sometimes. Not that a little thunder would frighten her or anything... she just likes it under there.
Hubby poured concrete for the corner footings. He says that he wishes he'd made a row of footings down the middle (underneath) too but it's a little late for that now.
Left (front) side wall. We made two roosts on this side, one low and one high. They only ever use the high one though. Hubby went back and added some of these wall beams later because the side was bowing out a little. Whoever is the top-dog rooster usually roosts directly by the door on this side. No idea why! If you enlarge the picture, you can see that some of the chickens like to roost on that little support piece that's between the roost and the wall.
He's having the same problem with the back wall bowing, and says he needs to add beams here too. The roost is shorter on this side. When we had a lot more chickens, they'd divide up between sides. Nowdays they all roost on the same side, but usually divide up on either end!
The roof slopes and has space for ventilation on both sides. I thought we might have trouble with critters getting in, but we've only had a problem once with a rat snake that ate several eggs and killed a pullet. The ventilation really helps in the summer and doesn't seem to hurt in the winter. (We are in zone 7 so this might not work in colder areas.)
Here is the chickens' favorite nesting box. Yep it's a cat litter box. You can see a little piece of the never-used lower roost. I really need to remove it, since it's only good for banging up my shins.
White leghorn tries to give me the evil eye. She is the oldest chicken we have left now -- in the spring she will be three years old. She still lays very consistently, although her eggs are smaller than they once were.
All the chickens have begun laying again. I wanted to get more chicks in the spring, but hubby is trying to talk me out of it. We have been eating fewer eggs, but I really like having chickens just for pets. And I'm afraid that if we begin the spring with only 6 hens, we'll have none left by fall. There's still time to think about it.