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Welcome to the Chicken House

The Ladies moved outside this week. This event has been a long time coming. Longer than the six (almost seven!) weeks the girls have been with us. When our birds were still fertilized eggs, perhaps even before, we were planning their coop.

Our house came equipped with an ancient garden shed. Built when the house was built, that is in the fifties, not used for much other than outside riff raff and a population of rather large, but innocuous (so I’m told) spiders.

Garden shed reborn.

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Conveniently located right next to Ugly Garden, and my stylish pallet compost bin, for easy access. You will note the solar panel. Ancient shed lacks conventional power, and Hens will need at least some supplementary light come fall/winter. Arrangements were made.

We did keep some storage space, building a wall to divide coop from things like tools, potting soil, and their stash of food.

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The lower portion of the wall is an old door on it’s side. Cheaper than plywood from the Restore. And mobile via our pulley system.

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Providing easy access to our (not to be used anytime soon) nesting boxes. In actuality, much of this isn’t really baby chicken necessary at the moment. But, they needed to go outside, and we were not doing construction with Ladies in Residence.

Back to their food for a second.

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Securely stashed in a locking metal bucket, pilfered from The Husbands work. Rodent proof, and better yet Free.

Remember those door knobs?

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The blue paint is conglomeration of old leftover interior paint living in our garage. It came with the house, making it, once again Free. The point of painting was cleanliness, both now, and when I need to sanitize later. We bought the brown paint, in bulk. The same as was used for the garden fence.

The vast majority of the wood for this project is pieced together from various scores of Free wood. In fact, the only thing we had to buy lumber for were those all important boxes.

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With specific dimensions required and sturdiness a must, we couldn’t figure our way around that purchase. The straw though, I scored for…Free.

Back on the freebie wagon, perches.

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Constructed from a lilac we removed from the yard to make way for garden beds.

Then there’s that light.

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Not exactly Free. Rather bartered for, and therefore not contributing to my overall total. I foresee a guest post on this in the near future.

With all bases covered, we were ready for The Ladies.

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They took to their big girl fount and feeder (also Not Free, but necessary regardless)

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with little fanfare. Check out Little Bird perched on the feeder itself. Tiny chicken cracks me up.

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I decided to keep with the pine chip deep litter. Even though we had to buy a linoleum remnant to line the floor. I looked for free stuff on Craigslist. No Dice. I’m not ruling out a sand litter conversion at a later date. (Erica has had good luck with it.) The chips are what they are used to, what I had, and as it is, the Ladies were quite curious about their new digs. Giving everything the once over.

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And surprisingly, checking in with me to see what I thought.

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I found this hilarious, since our inside relationship has mostly been running in protest. I’m sure it’s just uncertainty, and their attentions will pass.

They quickly settled right in.

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This is apparently the best seat in the house.

Despite all my concerns about temperature, security, and sleeping with my window open to be alerted to any predators, just in case, the Ladies are fine. In fact, they are chicken-ing it up out there. Stretching wings and flapping, and generally making idiots of themselves. And they don’t even have a run yet. Did you honestly think our chicken projects were over?! Psshhaw!

I can (and did) tell you what we got for free and what we paid for, but I did not do a good job tracking overall cost. During a recent trip to a local nursery, I found a much smaller, cute barn-like coop, with about a four chicken capacity. For $600. I can confidently say, my coop? Not that expensive. Even if I included the cost of the fancy solar light, we’d have to push to get to $600. I’d estimate half that including paint (which we used for other projects), nesting boxes, hardware cloth (we’ve some leftover), linoleum, pulleys, and miscellaneous hardware.

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