With winter on its way, our coop needed some serious upgrades.
For instance, our first nesting boxes were plastic organizational bins. The girls were unimpressed by them except for one… the basket I left on the floor. I’d turned it upside down to give the ducks a place to hide and, of course, it turned into everyone’s favorite place to lay eggs.
Chickens are a lot like cats. You zig. They zag. And they only do what you want them to do if they already intended to do it in the first place.
Most of the baskets turned into poop collectors, and no matter how much straw my husband stuffed inside them, the hens belligerently scooped it out.
We ended up keeping a couple of the baskets, but put the rest on top of those baskets to enclose them. We also added a small board at the front to keep the wood chips inside because the threshold was so low.
It’s only been a day, but it seems to be working better.
Anyway, the hubs found a nice metal nesting box and whether the hens like it or not – we think it’s awesome. They still have some baskets, but we get this beauty!
And there’s so much more room now. Because…
When the second set of eggs hatched, the first two groups of hatchlings were still in our one (and only) brooder. There wasn’t enough room for everybody so I got a large rubber trough to use – with an eye toward turning it into a duck pond.
Which never happened.
Instead it sat in the yard. And then I brought it into the coop and it sat in there. And then we leaned it against the back wall and it sat there.
Until this weekend when I figured out the old pallet we had buried under the straw would make an excellent ramp for the ducks to get into the “pond.” And I added a concrete block as a way for them to get out again.
Lucy was very happy. She went for several laps around the pond while we continued to work on the coop.
Sam wasn’t as fond of it, but maybe she’ll change her mind. For now the little water pan seems to suit her.
All in all we accomplished a lot… We
- Put a tarp around the windy side of the coop to block cold air from getting in (as much as possible).
- Replaced the round dowels with flat boards so they chickens can sit on their feet to keep them warm.
- Mounted the nesting boxes and enclosed the baskets.
And we moved the door. Right now the open side faces the slope where all the water runs down the hill. I’m hoping moving it and putting a wall there will help redirect some of the water around the coop instead. Plus we have a window across from the new door (diagonally) so in the summer it will help pull air through the coop.
We just have to finish building the wall and put a tarp over the door, like a porch cover, to try and keep snow off the ground. I also want to bring in a couple of stumps and a tire or two for dirt baths. Aside from getting water and electricity to the coop (which probably won’t happen), that should just about complete our renovation.
Just in time to move… 🙂
We’ll take the fancy nesting boxes and the “pond” with us, but the rest will be there if the new owner(s) want chickens.