Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chicken coop renovations, Part 53



Kim loves her chickens. You know that, I know that, everyone in a 20 mile radius knows that. She loves them for their personalities, and for their interesting social structures and psychologies. But most of all (I suspect) she loves them because they give her an opportunity to build things.

In the two years we've had a flock at Mucky Boots, Kim has built internal walls inside the coop, built new nest boxes, built a chicken tractor and then a chicken yurt, built chicken doors and chicken fences, and built Chicken Alley as a way of getting the chickens from coop to orchard without trashing my vegetable garden along the way. She has built moveable roosts and fixed roosts, gates and brooder boxes, and then when we transformed the tool shed into Coop #2 she got to do much of the above all over again. As Kim often says, one of the great things about chickens is that if you build them something, they use it. (For a brief but thrilling history of chicken building at Mucky Boots, go here.)



Once she saturated the market here at Mucky Boots, she began to look farther afield, and so she started building nest boxes for other people and selling them at chicken swaps all over southern Vancouver Island. And that was great, until one fellow came up to admire the boxes and ask about their construction, and then said that he had been experimenting with nest boxes mounted on the exterior of the coop, to free up space inside the coop and to make egg collection easier.

I was standing there as he said it, and a little voice inside my head said "Oh, no." And sure enough, pretty much as soon as we got home Kim began working on a design for an exterior box for Coop #2.

There were some technical problems to consider, like how to keep the overhanging roof of the boxes from getting in the way of the drop-down doors, how to best protect the boxes from the elements, and how to organize the construction and box swap with minimal disruption to the poor hens just trying to lay an egg. But this weekend the old boxes came out and the new ones went on, and don't they just look lovely.



It is a five-part nest box, with three comfy spots for hens in Coop #2-A and two for those in Coop #2-B. This photo shows the internal dividers, and the holes Kim cut in wall of the coop. The box itself was built with scrap lumber (my honey is a thrifty one), with only the door hardware purchased.



All the egg collector needs to do is walk around to the back of the coop, unlatch the door and drop it down, and voila, there are the eggs, right at eye level just waiting to be collected.

Here is the view from the inside (Coop #2, Enclosure B)...


...and the finished product, complete with roof.


These new arrangements are taking some getting used to for the hens doing the laying. Just imagine, there you are, nestled in a cosy nest box laying an egg, when all of a sudden the wall behind you disappears, leaving you open to view. There have been some indignant squawks emanating from the back of Coop #2 today...

5 comments:

jeanives said...

She is a marvel! In the first pics, I was wondering about the winter rains but not to worry in the finished product.

Doc said...

Very nice work Kim. We have such a tough time with Raccoons that I would have to put little padlocks on all the doors, they get into everything.

kara said...

Amazing! I am so jealous of Kim's skills! I wish-wish-wish I knew how to build things with wood, but not only am I sort of afraid of power tools, I think I just fundamentally lack the ability to work precisely. It just makes me appreciate others with those skills even more!!

Paula said...

Fantastic timing!!

I have been contemplating finishing the coop which includes a nest box, and this is very timely info which I will examine more closely, probably this weekend. My friend Rae (who sometimes comments here) is going to give me some hens and pullets so I can try again, and it's time for me to get things ready for them.

Thanks so much!

Janet Childs said...

I'd like to put in a formal request for Kim to visit Virginia. Love my chickens! Love my hubby! Just can't get hubby to embrace all my chicken coop projects like Kim does. Hmmm... guess I could give the hammer a try. I'm thinking our metal sided coop might prove a little challenging. LOL!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...