So, here’s what’s been happening in our yard.
Here is the framed chicken coop, with the interior wall about to go in. All window and vent openings are covered in hardware cloth. The main thing you need to know about building a chicken coop and run, if you’re into that sort of thing, is that when they’re inside, the chickens must be surrounded on all sides by a solid surface (such as wood) or hardware cloth. That includes above and under the ground of the run portion — yes, you have to dig up some dirt, install hardware cloth along the ground and attach it to something, be it other hardware cloth or a frame) and then put the dirt back in. Otherwise, you might have wildlife or Rottweilers digging into your chicken run, and nobody wants that. We used 1/2-inch hardware cloth from Amazon, because it was the best price we found. (When the coop is finished, I’ll let you know how much it cost and provide links to stuff we bought online. For now, I’m living in denial.)
The triangle on top here is a vent. One thing I learned from my extensive perusal of backyardchickens.com is that your chicken coop needs more ventilation than you might think, even in winter. So we (well, Ben) put in lots.
Here is a view of the beautiful linoleum floor Ben got from Habitat for Humanity. It’s always good to visit places like H4H just to see if you can score any materials on the cheap, or cheep if you’re a chicken. (Sorry.) I was partial to the blue floral linoleum tiles, but we figured a big sheet would be cleaner.
Back of the coop, also with a big vent area. The big open space is where the nest boxes will go.
View of the other side wall, featuring one vent and one window.
Looking toward the run.
Here are the framed and linoleum-ed nest boxes. We certainly don’t need 3 nest boxes for 3 chickens, but we can have as many as 8 chickens in Denver, so Ben designed everything to accommodate as many as 8 chickens.
Side view of nest boxes. The nest box roof is a door that opens upward, so we can reach in to gather eggs.
This is the current state of the coop. This weekend, Ben did the flashing on the roof, put in a ton of insulation, and installed the windows (there’s another window across from this one on the other side) and the outer walls. The windows are shed windows, installed so they can be opened and closed from the outside.
From here you can see the human doors to the coop and, on the right, to the run. Both have locks, mainly because we don’t want to risk any child we know opening a door on his own.
Here you can see the coop and run, as well as the main plot of our garden. Here’s what’s in there:
- arugula (in a container)
- mint (in a container — always put mint in a container because it is super aggressive)
- 3 kinds of lettuce
- Joe E. Parker peppers
- brussel sprouts
- tomatoes, including several heirloom varieties
This looks like ass, but bear with me. When it comes to gardening, we are passionate about two things: spending as little money as possible and using what we already have. This giant thing used to be part of a trellis that Ben removed to make room for the chicken run. Rather than throw it out, we’re using it to keep the dogs off our plants. Here we have several varieties of cucumbers (marketmore, lemon, homemade pickles, something else, and maybe something else — I want to make pickles this year and cucumbers are great for juice, so I wanted to have as many cucumber plants as possible); edamame; zucchini; and mini eggplants. Way in back are a few more tomato plants in containers — Ben put our favorites in containers: peacevine (which are little), red pear, and early girl.
I planted a few things in the front yard, too: garlic (Soren and I planted some cloves in the late fall and they’re all growing), a few more tomatoes, and more zucchini.
We still have a bit more to plant: more tomatoes, basil, oregano, corn, and some kind of bush beans.
A cool thing about this year’s garden! With the exception of a few jalapeno plants, everything was grown from seed or acquired for free at an awesome neighborhood gardening festival. So if all goes well, we’ll get tons of food without spending much money (for once)!
As you can see, Sadie is really interested in the chickens all day every day. And we’ve been pretty busy!