From Baby Chicks to Chickens: Week 5 & 6

I took a while to finally update you guys on my little Rhode Island Red girls, but news flash… they are no longer babies! These 2 weeks have been the biggest transformation for my girls. They have gone from teens to young ladies.

Peep the holes they decided to add to the brooder
Let us out
Too big for this joint

After much hard work, sweat, and dedication in the grueling heat… THEY HAVE A FINISHED COOP! I think I’m more excited than they are about their new permanent residence. After they outright destroyed their poor cardboard brooder, pecking and scratching day and night. I got the message, GET US OUT OF HERE!

The remains of the once awesome brooder

I decided this past weekend was it, no more delaying the inevitable… I was going to put the finishing touches on the chickens shed/coop and their run. I was out there in 90 something degree weather, sun beaming down on me finishing the roof of the coop, my wonderful husband cutting out squares to add ventilation. We decided to cut out 4 vents using a rotary tool and we purchased these neat a/c vent covers from Lowe’s that we used as a cover above the cutouts to prevent rain from getting inside. Then we had to make some upgrades to their run, we purchased a chicken enclosure on Ebay that came with all the metal pipes that click together, chicken wire, zip ties and a tarp to cover half of the enclosure. The tarp that initially came with the run we purchased was very low quality and only gave shade to half of the enclosure, so I invested in a reflective heavy duty tarp to give my girls a nice shaded area in their run during the scorching southern heat.

Vents from inside coop
Vent covers
Ventilation cut outs
Cutting the door in the back of the shed to give access to the run
Larger, heavy duty tarp for shade

Our initial idea was to buy a large enough shed so our 15 girls are not cramped together in a tiny coop, the goal was to buy the chicken enclosure and connect the two with a small door in the back of the shed/coop that we could open at sunrise and release them. We then close it up at sundown and my girls would be tucked away safely at night from cats and raccoons which are probably the most dangerous predators in our vicinity. Side note: my girls are not the most willing to go in the coop for the night, it’s a comedy special watching me chase them down to put them in their coop at sundown. Moving on, we went ahead and made a cutout in the chicken wire of the run the size of the door and flipped it up and zip tied the chicken wire, to allow us to be able to flip the chicken wire back down and move the chicken run if needed.

Sundown, time to get in the coop
Secret door to the Locke coop (Don’t mind me, too much Netflix)
Door for entering and exiting coop
Added hinges and a latch to close them in at night. Added some plastic on the sharp edges to prevent them getting cut (came with the shed to use while assembling to prevent injury)
Plastic for sharp edges on coop exit door

Step 1: The chickens foundation was built, coop and run were done! I painted the plywood foundation of the shed/coop with patio, floor oil paint for added protection.

Now they needed a large enough perch for 15 chickens to perch at night. So we purchased 2- 2x4x10 lumber and 1- 2x4x8 lumber and I found inspiration online from a fellow chicken owner and I decided to use that idea and make it my own. I cut the two 2x4x10 down the middle and now had 4 pieces of 2x4x5. I only used 3 of those 4 pieces for my perch bars, I kept the extra piece as scrap wood. Then, I went ahead and also cut the 2x4x8 in two, I now had 2 pieces measuring 2x4x4. Now I needed legs to support my perch bars in three different heights to give my perch a stair effect. I had an old ikea kitchen rolling island, I dismantled all the wood pieces and used the legs from the island as my legs for my perch bars, I cut the first step 6” high, second step 17”, and the third and final step 28” high. I cut two legs for each step with the measurements above.

First, I attached the 3- 2x4x5 lumber pieces to their legs with exterior wood screws.

Secondly, I attached the 2- 2x4x4 on the side of the perch bars diagonally to create a stair effect with my wood screws.

It was so simple, my 13 year old was my helper and it turned out great!

The tallest perch I used the legs with wheels from my scrap kitchen island to be able to lift and roll when it’s time to clean

The other item on the to-do-list was the nesting box, which was done. I have a step-by-step on that in a previous post. Once I had the two essential items of the coop in place I opened up the pine shavings and went to town spreading it around the shed.

I blocked it off with chicken wire for later use
Pine shavings

Inside the run/enclosure, I added some tree stumps I found that a neighbor was dumping on the curb, also a tire (curbside treasure as well) that I’ll be filling with sand for the infamous dust baths these chickens love. In addition, my girls have the grit in a hanging feeder, my husband made a no mess chicken feeder (which I’ll post step by step tutorial), and the basic 5 gallon bucket chicken waterer with 4 watering cups that many chicken owners have posted online. In the corner I added the DIY chicken roost I put together in a previous post, so when my girls are ready they can hang out on their roost.

5 gallon water cup chicken waterer
Chilling in the run
Loving it

As of now, my girls look delighted with their new home (besides one escape artist that found a small space between the shed and run and dug a hole underneath the run and escaped, that problem has since been rectified with a cinder block wall on that side). I will continue to update you guys periodically on their progress. In a few months I’m hoping for some delicious eggs from my favorite girls. Until next time!

Dust bath
My son, future chicken farmer
Finished product!

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