Tag Archives: chickencoop

a thought while preparing for tonight’s treehouse movie theater showing of the original ghostbusters.

a thought while preparing for tonight’s treehouse movie theater showing of the original ghostbusters.

between the treehouse movie theater, the finnish sauna ( building on left ), the fire pit, and The Girls ( chicken coop on right ), i bet when i finally build the hobbit house treehouse on top of the deck, it will have serious airbnb potential.

i think there are a lot of people who would like a weekend of treehouse movies, saunas and tending to The Girls with the freshest breakfast eggs you can imagine! just kidding. sort of.

The Girls enjoy a Tropical Winter Day in Wisconsin.



after a few weeks of enduring sub-zero temps The Girls definitely enjoyed getting out of the The Coop today with mid-day temps reaching 55°F! of course, they’ve had the opportunity to stroll around in winter when weather permits but the spring in their step made in quite obvious that they really, really, really are looking forward to warm weather and greener pastures.



OHMYGAWD! EXPOSED GRASS TO SCRATCH AND PECK!

day 2275: preparing the nesting boxes with golf balls. wait, what?



having finally finished the nesting boxes for The Girls, it’s time to prepare the boxes for the day when The Girls start laying eggs.

so we laid down some comfy straw and thought we’d try the ol’ golf ball trick to let them know where to lay the eggs so they don’t get used to laying them in random places around the coop.

supposedly, placing anything vaguely egg-shaped in a nest box will give them the idea that the boxes are “the place” to lay their eggs, too.

we should see if the trick works sometime in the next few weeks!

to light or not light the chicken coop, that is the question.



The Girls are rapidly approaching The Age of Egg Laying at the same time the days are getting shorter and shorter. most poultry resources claim that a good “rule of thumb” is hens should get about 14-16 hours of light a day to maximize egg production, which in the upper midwest means you have to supply supplemental lighting. but i’m not necessarily interested in maximizing production. i’ll take decreased production as long as we can get at least dozen eggs a week in the winter.

i’ve found anectodes online from folks who claim all our breeds ( buff orpingtons, black australorp, americauna, barred rocks, light brahma ) will continue to produce in winter – e.g. “Will Buff Orpingtons lay in the winter??”.

so, do we need add supplemental light to get them to start laying? to keep laying?

day 2269: adventures in building a nesting box.



it’s hard to believe but it’s been about 16 weeks since Odin’s Adventures with Backyard Chickens began which means they coul start laying in the next couple of weeks ( depending on the breed, hens can start laying at 20-24 weeks, although some have been known to start at 16 weeks ) which means i have to build some “nesting boxes” to attach to the coop to give them a dry, clean spot to lay their eggs.

we designed the coop with external nesting boxes in mind so we could simply lift a lid and grab the eggs without having to enter the coop. but right as i was going to start building the boxes, someone within external nesting boxes told me they have problems with frozen eggs in the winter. it seems that it doesn’t take long freezing air circulating around uninsulated boxes to turn them into eggsicles!

d’oh!

after a quick search i found a design for a nesting boxes for a “chicken mcmansion” that included a few inches of insulation on the walls and lid and decided to follow his lead by framing out the plywood sides with 2x2s and fitting in some 1″ foam insulation.



the general rule of thumb is about 1 box for every 3 or 4 birds which means 3 boxes should be plenty for our flock of 8 birds. the boxes about 12″x12″ which is a fairly standard size for backyard birds.



here’s a close-up of the corner after the external siding was nailed over the insulation and 2×2 frames. all things considered, everything came together nicely, although i would later discover that the “lip” created by the 2×2 would create a bit of challenge on making a snug fitting lid, all the moreso because my jigsaw is broken.



after building the nesting boxes, i had to remove the siding from the coopand cut out a portion of a 2×4 stud to make space for the box to be inserted flush with the wall. but how to removed the nails that held in the stud?

any day i get to use my dremel cutting tool is a good day :-)



after some huffing and puffing, i got the nesting boxes secured to the side of the coop. the fit was almost a little too snug but nothing a little cursing and banging with a hammer couldn’t fix :-)

and, yes, i still need to put some shingles on the roof which is why the coop is covered with a tarp. so much to do and so little time.



here’s the nesting box and coop after cutting out a hole in the siding and nailing it up, which was a measure thrice and cut once job. it was a little tricky to cut the siding and not leave more than an 1/8th inch gap around the box but it all came together nicely!

well, all except for the one flaw that you can see if you look closely. nothing a little trim can’t fix :-)



and finally odin gets a chance to test swinging open the lid and reaching into the box to see if he could reach the bottom of the boxes to grab the eggs.

he could, which is A Good Thing since he’ll be running out at 6 in the morning in the winter every day to do just that!