So I have decided on the coop I’m going to build. One of my readers mentioned using pallets, for some reason….that had not crossed my mind. But I’m glad they did. A local store around here sells pallets for $1, I can get as many as I want for almost nothing, so we’ll be really good to go on that! I might even make the roof from pallets as well.
Here is the coop I’m going to build—> http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hinkel-haus-made-of-pallets-recycled-wood-pickets
I plan on building it all myself after I borrow some tools from Dad. As silly as it sounds, I’m going to avoid power saws and just cut the wood with a regular wood saw. I know they save a lot of time, but I don’t like them. I get more satisfaction out of hand tools anyway. I’m also going to start building this, in my garage, in the next couple of weeks. I’ll continue to build it throughout the winter as we have an extra $20 here and there. I want it to be as cheap as possible. I’ve got plenty of time to use hand tools.
I’m going to be putting nesting boxes, probably 6-8 of them on the back wall and roosting bars on one end or the other. It should be easy enough to open the front door to clean the place and be able to reach the boxes (which I think I will make from milk crates). I’m also going to get some cheap linoleum to install on the floor, so that the place can be swept out, stripped and scrubbed if need be. I won’t have to worry about what’s soaking into the wood either.
That being said, Dad has graciously decided to give me one of the chain-link dog kennels he has, which will be the run for the chickens. It’s 10×10, so they will have plenty of space. I will also be putting chicken wire around the bottom of the fence, just as an extra precaution, even though the chickens will be in the coop at night. The coop will be off the ground and the chickens will be denied access under the coop. I will make sure they have some shade.
Now for my chicken choices. As you all know, if you’ve been here for a while, I’m obsessed with colored eggs, so I will be getting mostly Ameracaunas. I spent a month or so on Backyardchickens.com picking people’s brains and I’ve decided they will be a good choice. On the other hand, I have found another breed that I like very much from the Meyer Hatchery in Ohio they are called Barnevelders (https://www.meyerhatchery.com/productinfo.a5w?prodID=BNVS). They are a little pricey, so I won’t be getting very many. If their prices don’t go down ($20 a chick for Ameracuanas!), then I will probably be ordering from Townline Hatchery here in Michigan and I will have to forgo the Barnevelders. Dad has requested brown eggs for some reason, so I guess I better get one or two of those chickens as well. I will probably buy 8 chickens, but I’m hoping for a total number of 6-8 (in case I get roosters). My roosters, if any, will be culled when they get to weight. However, if things are looking good at that point, I may expand the coop and keep a broody hen. It’s far too early to tell, but as of this moment, roosters are out. Don’t want the noise, don’t want to clip their spurs, don’t want them beating up the girls.
I’ve also been playing with the idea of just getting easter eggers (for price sake) and then getting a couple Ameracuanas locally. Then, as time goes on, I can change the flock if I’m not happy with the breed choices.
1) I’m here in Michigan, it gets pretty cold. I should probably wire the coop for a bulb or two correct? I know there is risk of fire with things like that, so I want to know if they need heat (of any kind) or if the shelter just needs to be tight.
2) Are chickens sensitive to black walnut toxins? I can place them near or far from the trees, but if they were close it would give them summer shade and winter sun.
These chickens will not be free range. As much as I would love to do that, I have a huge garden, the neighbor has a huge german shepard that could easily get out, we have A TON of fox, raccoon, and coyote here and we are on a semi-busy road. No go on the free range thing. They will be getting tons of scraps from the garden and grass clippings to go through, no worries there. If we suddenly have an infestation of something, I might put up a temporary fence let them go.
I forgot to mention, Justin’s Mom offered us all her old chicken gear, so we’ll have feeders and waterers galore! No equipment to buy!
I’m excited to do this! I’ve figured out a way to make it cheap, effective and easy! This is definitely possible.
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