The Coop-in-Process: Installment II

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The weather gods were cooperative yesterday, which was the first day for several days we didn’t get doused with heavy rain. Which makes pouring concrete a no-go. I had to cover up the area with a large tarp to keep the water from washing mud into my forms. But it relented on Saturday and so I poured. The footers for the new coop are now established and drying. The framing will commence shortly.

These will be based on pressure treated 4x4s onto which the T111 siding will be nailed and the dual wide-opening barn-type doors will be hung. I’ve settled on metal roofing, to match the metal roofing of my shed and I’m even going so far as duplicating the angle of the existing shed’s roofline so that the coop’s roofline will match. This will result in a more visually harmonious end result, which is as important as a functional result, in my opinion. Who wants to look at an ugly coop? Certainly not prospective down-the-road buyers of my house, if I ever decide to sell it.  It is important to consider such things when erecting structures on one’s property. They can either add to – or detract from – its potential market appeal and thus, value.

There is also value – to me – of the thing looking nice. Of being nice. It is why I am also incorporating some other nice features – credit to my beautiful Corona Queen for thinking of them. These include a pergola in between the shed and the coop, overhead of the concrete pad/entrance to the coop area. Which will be gated, to keep the birds from doing what birds do wherever birds go. It will be a nice place to sit and watch the birds, from an Adirondack wooden chair, perhaps. Or have a cup of coffee and read. A nice, private cozy little corner.

The coop will be made attractive to the eye via the aforesaid matching of its structural outlines and angles with the existing shed. And via the installation of cute, dollhouse-style windows on each end and (possibly) on the far wall. I haven’t decided on that yet. I have decided to install a set of exterior lamps – like the ones you generally see by the front door of most people’s homes. To give the thing a homey look and serve the purpose of being motion-detectable, so as to deter any predators that somehow manage to get inside the perimeter.

Which ought to be hard, given the perimeter is already secured by heavy fencing set half a foot in the ground, sunk in concrete. I recommend doing this or similar if you decide to build a coop/run yourself as predators are determined and they will burrow underneath a fence that is not sunk deep in the ground. The concrete is a further barrier that will deter all but the most determined – and I’ve yet to encounter one such.

There will also be a completely fenced in (side and top) self-service run that the birds can access at will  – without my having to open or close the door. This will be good for their health and it will make it possible for me to play hooky, occasionally. Which I cannot do, currently, because the old coop’s door has to be opened and closed by me every morning and every night, to let the birds out – and keep the predators out – because it does not lead to a secured all sides run. Just the fenced-in perimeter. Which predators can still crawl over – or fly into (owls and hawks).

The next video will show the 4×4 framing, which will hopefully be done in the next few days, weather permitting. Once that’s done, the siding and roofing ought to go up quickly and then the last major task before the structure itself is finished will be cutting, bracing and hanging the barn doors.

Stay tuned!

. . .

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve had good luck putting crisscrossed monofilament fishing line above the fenced-in area.

    The fishing line placed in a grid 2′ apart will keep them in. It’ll also also keep all but the most determined flying predators. Birds have excellent eyesight for such things and won’t even try to fly through.

  2. I’ve had good luck putting crisscrossed monofilament fishing line above the fenced-in area.

    The fishing line placed in a grid 2′ apart will keep them in. It’ll also also keep all but the most determined flying predators. Birds have excellent eyesight for such things and won’t even try to fly through.

  3. OK, I’ll say it. That project is for the birds, Eric!

    (woh, woh woooohhh!)

    Love the concrete dig prevention. Around here, it’s possums, those vile egg-suckers will do anything up to and including flying to get a chicken coop. You think you’ve got them licked, I swear, they take lessons in crafty naughtiness from the squirrels! But, that concrete should stop ’em.

    • Hi Tech,

      We have possums, too! And the concrete/in-ground fencing has kept them out. The only remaining issue is death from above – hawks and owls. Which will be handled via surround screening they can’t get through!

  4. Eric, the only thing I fear for your bird coop is that some ninny will get wind of it, and the inevitable visit from the County Building Department, where inevitably the “inspector” will find “violations” of whatever code, whether it actually applies or not. And then Animal Welfare will get involved, to see if your birds are being kept under “humane” conditions (like, how does one worry about being “humane” to what’s going to be breaded and deep-fried?). And if your g/f sells or even gives away any of the eggs those hens lay, the Count Health Department will likely get involved.

    I’d rather deal with Tony Soprano or “Big Paulie”. At least with them, they don’t care what goes on with your operation, it’s just, “eff you! PAY me!”. Brutal, but straightforward.

      • Given the intrusiveness of the Nanny State, if your county in VA will actually keep their nose out of your chicken coop, and not get all worried about what a small farmer does with the eggs the hens lay, well, I’m pleasantly surprised.

        SHHH!! Don’t tell anyone, especially the Dummycrat Guv with the blackface and who never saw a firearm that he liked, that there’s FREEDOM in the State for “lovers”.

        • Morning, Doug!

          Backyard chickens are part of the lifestyle here; my neighbors both have chickens. It’s a farming area – and there would be an uproar if the greasy bastards made any move to prohibit people from farming.

    • If the county gets involved, I can think of something to do with any extra eggs. But don’t mind me, I’m probably a bad influence.

  5. Good call on the footers. Caught a raccoon last night in a live catch trap trying to dig into the chicken run. It’s been trying to dig under the landscape timbers I put down. The ground here is packed but once broken is very loose, so it kept hitting the same spot several nights in a row. Where it’s digging there’s a stack of three buried (top one mostly visible) landscape timbers; another night or two and it’d been through.

    • There is a product called “Dig Defense” that can be installed without the requirement to dig or trench. This product gets pounded into the ground and provides around 15 inches of “dig-proof” depth. Hope this helps.

      • Dig Defense looks like a great product for keeping out coyotes. Thanks for mentioning it. I briefly looked at the website, I’m not so sure it would stop a raccoon, from what I’ve read they only need a bit more than 4″, Idk.

        It certainly would do nothing to stop tunneling rats. Hmm, a welder, some barbs, and… maybe?

        • Dig Defense makes various types with as close as a 1.5-inch spacing. I have successfully used this to prevent groundhogs from tunneling under my deck and buildings. No, I don’t work for the company. Regards,

  6. I was thinking it might be better to have the place look trashy, thata-ways, criminals wont’ think you’ve got a lot. Idk. A broken rusted P.O.S. in the yard might not be a bad idea?

    I wonder, would fishes such as Plecostomus, carp or bullheads be good duck pond cleaners? And, would a filter type system such as they have on tropical fish tanks or in pools be worthwhile?
    Or, would aquatic plants do a half-way good job keeping things clean, IF they could be kept from getting eaten? Just something I wonder about while sweating and drilling and sawing, and…

    I watched a video of some farmers building large swing-out barn doors. They put 2×4’s horizontally across the entry and built the doors onto them, then cut the 2×4’s down the middle when they were done in order to avoid sag and to get them to line up perfectly.
    I doubt a person would have to do that with smaller doors, it’s just something that seemed like a good idea.

    • Hi Helot,

      It depends on circumstances. In mine, the coop – and the house – are not visible from the road. You’d have to drive up my gravel driveway to clearly see either – and if someone’s doing that, they are already up to no good and how it looks probably doesn’t matter. But I agree with you in general terms. With the proviso that the building isn’t actually shabby as that won’t last and it won’t work well, either. The thing will leak and you will be constantly dealing with problems you would not have if the building were soundly made.

      As fas as fish: This only works if you have enough pond and not too many ducks. The amount of poo these beasts emit daily is astounding. They do so almost constantly and will foul any small body of water beyond the capacity of a few fish to deal with. If you are lucky enough to have a real pond – then, sure, it works! But I haven’t got that yet – though in future I would like to.

      • A related subject on LRC:

        https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/08/ginny-garner/the-rogue-food-movement-is-gaining-ground/

        Although the local yokels running your VA county (hopefully not into the ground) are probably not in any way thinking along those lines, you can believe some 150 miles to the NE of ya, with the Beltway (bandits) and the “District of Criminals”, as the late G. Gordon Liddy would put it, are thinking EXACTLY of how to control the “dissident”, “hesitant”, and outright ‘inconvenient”, by finding ways to cut off their chow. Any movement to produce your daily bread (or eggs) on your own will be viewed with suspicion, and reason to believe that you’re a “domestic terrorist”. You’re being WHITE and MALE already makes you GUILTY in their eyes as it is.

    • Helot- I’ve had 3 ducks for 14 months now. We have a 5’ diameter 12” deep doggy pool $(50-60 replaced twice) that we fill every morning and empty every night via a hose connected to a bib on the pool (it can be directed and moved to different areas subject to gravity considerations). In addition to satisfying the water/swimming/grooming of the ducks it also acts as a sort of septic tank that captures a good portion of their copious waste without causing a smell if emptied daily as noted. What we learned this year is the “duck juice” as we call the wastewater is phenomenal fertilizer. Around the pool area we grew wonderful tomatoes and herbs as well as 100 square yards of decorative flowers, including 12-15 foot tall sunflowers.

  7. Sounds like some fine work, Eric. I can’t wait to see the finished product. I’ll be taking the lessons both you and I have learned when I build my coop at my rural land.

    We’ll definitely make it a large land area coop next time, due to having much land up there. I think a fully enclosed area is also a necessity, perhaps with an area of shelter (metal roofing) and sunshine (chicken wire). This was found to be necessary to stop wild birds from eating all of the chicken feed.

    I’m certainly going to look on including ducks, as you have, though they want water, do they not? How solved you that issue? Perhaps a little concrete pond or something might be in order.

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