Time for an update on how the new coop is progressing…
This is what the inside of the coop looked like after being painted:
This is what it looks like with pop doors and the shelf in place. The shelf swings up to hold 5 cages for the chickens, but folds flat so the entire coop can be deep-cleaned.
Here the shelf has been carefully measured as to where the cages will sit, and garage tiles have been put in place to provide a non-porous surface for easy cleaning. The automatic door openers are in place.
More detail of the pulley system used to open and close all 5 doors at once!
The pen below the shelf is only a temporary lodging for chicks. The electric boxes need to be permanently mounted. The vinyl flooring has also been installed (for easy cleaning!) If you look closely, you will see that the bottom of the cages is a different color than the garage tiles previously installed. Funny story here (NOT!)…We were so proud of ourselves to have gotten to this point…late evening, time to bring the chickens into their new home…We put some wood shavings in the cages, put in the chickens, and discovered that the chickens couldn't walk – the surface was too slippery and their legs just splayed out from under them, even though we made sure to choose a matte surface! We couldn't put them back in the garage, since their pens had been taken down…We quickly rounded up some newspapers and covered all the cage floors, which left us with a very stinky mess to clean the following morning. The outdoor carpet was a stop-gap move till we figured out what to do next. Actually, we figured the best thing was to take out all the tiles, remove the cages, and put down small (1/2″ x 1″) wire for the floor. The only (!) problem was that we couldn't find anyone who carried it…hence the stop-gap measure of carpet, to prevent the chickens from slipping and sliding. I will not tell you the cost of that tile plus carpet!
Here are the new feed cups and waterers. We used small tonic bottles, 'cause that's all we had available in the recycling bin, for the runs. We used 16 ounce water bottles in the cages,which we found to be inadequate…they slip and spill at the slightest touch, and are w-a-a-a-y too flimsy. We've decided to order some more cups for the water instead.
The fan is mounted on the rear window, pulling the air through the coop and out the rear window. More windows will be added this week.
Now, onto the outside of the coop for a moment…To protect against raccoons and opossums, we installed Nite Guards on the four sides of the outer perimeter of the coop. The theory is that the red flashing light fools predators into thinking they are being watched by another predator, so they will go elsewhere. We have no proof that these work, but felt they were worth trying, since raccoons and possums are a big problem in our area. I will keep you posted on the results.
Here are the prototype ladders for the chickens to get in and out of their new homes…those doors are a long way up!
The picture shows only one, but all 5 are now in place. Of course, half the birds don't know enough to climb the ladder to get into the coop at bedtime, and none of them know enough to get in out of the rain, so we're trying to teach them proper chicken-coop etiquette by picking them up and showing them what to do. Hopefully, they'll learn in a few days…Leaving the coop in the morning is no big deal…As soon a the doors open (we have them set for 8:00 to make sure all the neighbors are awake), they fly right down to the ground, some more gracefully than others!