I thought I would take this time and dedicate a post to the beginning of the Kuntry Klucker Crew. I will also combine this post with the construction of their coop. I have received many comments on Facebook and other social media sites inquiring about our blueprints or plans that we used build their digs. To tell you the truth, we had no plans or blue prints. We also did not use a kit, we simply researched on what they needed, got the supplies and built what we could.
But first the crew. I mentioned in another post that the girls arrived via the mail in a small box. I am not kidding, they really did arrive in a small box, it was the cutest things I ever saw. I have never ordered chicks before, so this was a new one for me. I have ordered live plants via the mail that were delivered to my door, but never chicks. Below is a pic of their transportation digs.
It was a cold morning when they arrived. I could not wait to get the contents of the peeping box unpacked and transfered into their warm brooder.
After bring them inside I took them out of the box one by one, showed them their food and water then set them down softly into their brooder. Immediatly they began to eat, drink, and warm themselves under the heat lamp. They scratched, peeped, and took in their surroundings, and thus our journey began.
My brooder was origionally a large , grey, rubber made tote, which did not last long. As they grew, so did their digs. Instead of getting a new brooder I just added to it as they needed.
So as one living space got too small, I would cut hole in the box and attach on another box. By the time it was all said and done they had a network of several boxes to navigate through. It was almost like a brooder palace by the time I attached the final box.
They pretty much had a house and floor plan complete with rooms. Lets see, there was the room (box) with the food and water (kitchen), the room (box) with the heat lamp (lets call that the living room), and a room (box) for gathering (we can call that the recreation room). The brooder was quite a network of boxes. They seemed to navigate it well and had lots of fun scratching in all the shavings and running throughout their digs. The brooder days were fun, but they could not stay in there forever. So, while they were growing and discovering, we were busy building their new home in the backyard.
Our coop and pen are pretty much a very simple design. We have a penthouse coop, or a coop that is raised off the ground by about 2 feet. This keeps ground water from seeping into the coop and rodents from chewing into the coop or making a nest under it. I like this design, especially during seasons when we seem to get a lot of rain. Their pen has flooded several times and each time I am so glad they were clean and dry in their coop.
Once the coop was built, we then attached the pen. The pen is just a simple rafter design which we attached to the coop. After we assembled all the wood forming the roof and frame, we then enclosed the whole structure with hardware cloth and galvanized metal fencing. This protects the girls from predators and also keeps them from escaping out of the pen. The roof of the pen also has metal fencing, this is to keep anything from flying or dropping into the pen. They girls are very secure in their pen. When I am not home they stay safe and dry in their pen. I will also confine them to their pen if there is an unusual amount of hawk or other arial bird of prey activity. We have had several occasions where I had to keep them in the pen to discourage a scouting hawk or two. The girls seem to take it in stride, they know they are safe in their house.
For the roof we just use a large tarp. This provides them shade and of course protection from the rain and other elements. Since the top of the pen has metal fencing, we did not need to add the extra expense of building an actually roof. The tarp does the job well. We replace it every other year or so to keep it in good condition. It does start to ware out after a few years. They are fairly cheap and very durable. This design meets both our budget and needs of the girls.
After we had the pen built and attached to the coop, it was time to paint and decorate. I chose to paint their coop and pen door a barn red. I then painted the trim white. I knew from the beginning when we decided to have chickens that I wanted an Americana theme for their home. It has been a work in progress and has morphed as the years have gone by. It took some time find the decorations and accents that I wanted for their home. After several years I finally had the complete project. I repaint the coop about ever other year. I do this to keep the wood in good condition and protected from the elements. We change out screws and wood in the pen as needed.
The design for their front door is our unique take on allowing them access to the backyard. At the bottom of the large door leading into the pen you see a small pet door. We call this the “chicken door”, this allows us to let them out of their pen without having to keep the large human size door open. I do this to discourage birds and other arial prey from flying into the pen. If there is a hawk scare the girls will run back to their pen and find safely there because the hawk cannot follow them in. Additionally, we cut out a heart window at their level to allow them to see out the door.
This was my husbands idea and by far my favorite design feature of their home. I think it is just the cutest thing to see them peering at me as I make my way to see them. When I unlock the latch to let them out, I usually get a willing head to assist me in working the lock. The door just lifts up and latches onto the large pen door to keep it open.
That is all I have for now. If you have any questions about our coop that you would like an answer to, please post in the comments. As always, thanks for following our adventures.
~The Kuntry Klucker Crew.~