Most summers in addition to our weekly gardening, mowing and general upkeep, we work on one large project on the homestead.
The early morning mist rising over the Small House’s Chicken Condo Complex
This summer we have been working on chicken coop number two and its enclosed run as well as created a netted run area to prevent the Cochins from flying out of the run a half-dozen times (or more!) a day.
A second view of the complex; 2 coops, 2 runs and a netted run area.
This has ultimately developed into a rather advanced two-coop/two run project, so I have taken to calling it the Chicken Condo Complex when I describe it!
We sited the covered run area under the shade of a large White Oak tree.
We are not contractors or even carpenters so projects like this are done slowly. We do a lot of Internet searching, we work step at a time and almost every day and often we are figuring things out as we go along. Gene and I work together as a team and usually I design, research options, source materials and paint while Gene does the actual building.
Off the ground coop in covered run frame not yet covered with chicken wire.
Booth coops are built high off the ground in deference to our 2009-2012 high ground water flooding years. Our home was surrounded by a moat of 20″ deep water for months at a time and the lowest part of our property is where our vegetable garden and coops are located so we planned accordingly.
Hopefully with the expensive new ditch project and county drain extension we will never have to go through that kind of flooding again, but we decided to be safe rather than sorry.
The Rhodies coop and newly chicken wired door to their run.
The second coop design was nearly the same design as our first chicken coop, just bigger, so it was bit easier to build this time around. It had double doors that open on both sides for ease of cleaning and daily airing out and it has two chicken ladders; one the opened into the original covered run as well as into the soon-to-be-covered run number area.
The Rhodies coop nest box, door, ladder and screens for ventilation
Our first flock, four Cochin/Phoenix mix are just one year old. The second flock consists of four Rhode Island Reds that are about 4 months old now. Originally we had hoped that the two flocks would integrate well and share the same covered run area during our 6-month-long Michigan winters. But the flocks have not really gelled as one, so Gene decided to build a second covered run for the Rhodies.
The Rhodies use their coop, roost bar and chicken ladder as a jungle gym!
Both flocks move in and out of both coops and the laying hens used their own laying boxes as well as the Rhodies boxes. So, I suspect that both flocks will eventually be able to live together and will move freely between both runs at some point; sleeping apart in their own coop. As with most fickle chickens….time will tell.
The Cochin and Phoenix layers coming out of their covered run after dusting.
In hindsight it probably would have been cheaper to build one large coop instead of two coops but at the time, we simply did not know we would be keeping 8 chickens. We were somewhat new to chicken keeping and had not yet developed a well-thought out plan for growth ahead of time. Live and learn, as they say.
The view inside the shared chicken run. Both coops funnel into this area.
We have been working hard on these two projects all summer. The overall goal is to get them completed before the snow arrives.
Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna