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Friday, April 16, 2010

Taj Ma-coop

The chickens outgrew their coop awhile ago. Our little coop was perfect for the first round of chickens and great for four of five hens when free ranging them but we wanted to keep a few more. We sold our first coop to a family a mile or so away and they took two of our hens (previously Frittata and Red). They have since been renamed as Chi-Chi and Chum-Chum. Two kids were very excited about their new hens. Dorothy, the new owner reports their cat has resigned itself to the chickens and both hens are laying an egg every day.

We found an ad on craigslist for a guy named Brad King (kingbj@att.net) who builds coops and playhouses and we just couldn't resist this super cute house for our hens. As fate would have it, the freak snow storm several weeks ago destroyed not only our run but also our sweet gazebo, providing the room in the backyard for the new, super deluxe coop. Brad and his family drove north from outside of Austin to deliver and install the coop.

The house was constructed in Brad's studio and flat packed on his trailer.

Our empty space (note the lack of grass thanks to the chickens).

The coops are built to order and we got a 6x9 coop. But the pieces were too large for our gate so part of the fence was removed to get it in! The first coop is in the frame on the right. 

The highest point on the coop is 9', perfect for us to walk into.

Outfitted with 5 lovely nesting boxes and easy access to the boxes from outside.

The first night the chickens refused to go inside. They just kept circling the old coop. We let them go inside the old one and I transferred each bird, one by one to the new house. Then a couple of hours later I went to check on them. 
Note the empty roosting bar at the front.

Now everyone sleeps on roosting bars. We have installed a cedar picket fence to go with the coop and allow our yard to recover from hungry hungry hens. It is doing pretty well, I'm sure months of their fertilization have helped. Here are images from today. The chandelier is from our old gazebo. A panel on the right side of the house allows for easy egg access. There is a small chicken door that stays open during the day and locks at night to keep everyone safe.
We're down to eight hens and one sassy rooster. Today was an 8 egg day!

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