Friday, May 11, 2012

Coop d' Barn

The death of a barn is always a sad thing.

It happens slowly over the course of decades and several generations.

This barn is just over 200 years old and has gone through many repairs and additions over the centuries.

50 years ago it was jacked up and put on a cement foundation.

The roof was patched several times over the years, but never repaired correctly.

It was painted 10 years ago, but the roof was rotting at a fast rate and there was no monies for repairs, so the barn started taking its last breath.

Even the chickens moved out and took up residence in a dryer location across the street.

I found lots of equipment of former "field workers."

Sadly, beautiful old leather harnesses were left hanging in the tack room as the rains and snows drifted in and out.

The floor is not safe to walk on, as I found out when I made an ernest attempt to go look at all the old draft horse harness and equipment and my leg went through the floor.

I was escorted by the resident pig during my tour of the dying barn.

There is some good news about the demise of this particular barn.  It is being taken down this spring and some of the reusable boards, beams, doors and hardware are being salvaged to build other projects.
And guess what?!!!

I am the first project!

My future chicken and duck coop is being made from ALL recycled materials, most of them from this very barn.
My carpenter, Jack, is taking the old barn down and building my coop
He phoned me and asked me to come on over to see the barn before he took it down.

Jack had the coop all framed up when I arrived to give me an idea of how it would look.

So even though the coop is new, its being made out of 200 year old wood, doors, hinges, etc.
Very exciting.

Jack gave me a tour and explained his future dreams for this abandoned farmland.
The old sugar shack is going to be turned into a farm stand.

Its still in good shape and will serve its new purpose well.

Jack's Old fashioned refrigerator:
A Mountain stream keeps the drinks chilled to perfection.

Jack's garden, with cooler at the end of the rows.  He is a real character.

View from the BBQ pit.


A few days later I came home from work and there was the beginnings of the coop near my garden!

I was giddy with glee.

The chicks and ducklings were quickly outgrowing their daytime chicken tractor.

But I knew they would be in their new digs in a few days if the weather stayed good.

Day 2 I came home to more building as the sun was going down

The vents in the roof and backside of the coop were completed.
They even put a special handle so I could pull my self up into the coop.

Mavis likes it and thinks this is her new garden view room.

Then it rained for a few days and then the weather got worse.

For 2 more days it snowed, rained, sleeted and was wicked windy. 
Burrrr...We were all back to wearing 4 layers of clothes.

The flock grew anxious as they watched the Big Build making progress.

I probably would of built a smaller coop had I just had a few chicks, but these rare ducks really changed my plans.  I want to get a few more and continue propagating these rare Silver Appleyard ducks.  Hence the larger coop plans for the biggest coop in the village.

After a few more weather delays, the coop was done.  Now all I had to do was install the mats and a few latches and we are open for business!

Welcome to the Duckington Palace!

The side door has a drop down window for more ventilation.  The door came from a little room inside the old barn.  Hinges from the barn too.  All the wood is from the old barn. Windows are recycled as well.

The mats are an old UPS conveyor belt that was thrown away.
Dumpster diving at its best!
You can see the 8 nesting boxes from the inside.

Two poles from the old barn were made into perches.

A nice view of my special grab bar.

I dropped 3/4 of a bale of shavings in the coop, brought in their new feeder and water fount plus a box of garden soil for them to scratch in, and let the flock loose inside.

I quickly built them a ladder they could climb up to reach the perches until they figured it out on their own.

Since I have no fencing yet, I hand picked grass and clover for them several times a day.

The snails starting showing up last Wednesday so I would toss them in with the flocks greens and they all ate them right up!    Success!   That is the entire reason why I got these chicks and ducks, was because my garden was decimated by snails last year.

This all happened around the time of the gigantic full moon, so here are the photos I took after putting the flock to bed the first night.

A few days later I was able to borrow some fencing and decided it was time to bring the flock out and acclimate them to the world.

It was a mad dash to the door, but no one wanted to be the first one down the ramp.

Finally the rooster came forward and cruised out the door.

The rest of the flock stood and yelled.

Then little by little, the blonde Orphington came out and then the Sussex Sisters.

The ducks didn't want to leave the coop.

However, the minute I brought their water fount outside they jumped down and joined in the group drinking party.

 The sun was out, the grass was green and the snails are big and juicy.

They explored for a few hours and then all went back inside the coop for a nap.

This routine has been consistent all week.

I had to build a ramp addition since the ducks could not go up the original ramp because of its steepness.

Tonight was the first time they were able to get back into the coop without assistance.

I will post a photo of the "accessible" ramp. This photo incorrectly shows the ramp.
I had popped it up on a block so the ducks would stop trying to go up the ramp and stop falling off it.

So here is the view from the road.   Garden and coop.

I am also experimenting with growing squash out of bags, so the garden area is very colorful right now.

All this activity has made Mavis a very tired dog. She is also a bit upset that her "room" has been given to the flock.

I am trying to save up to get some electronet and a charger, but its gonna be awhile before I am able to actually order it.  

Are any of you using poultry electronet?  What kind do you recommend ?  Size, length, heavy duty posts?
Premier makes an e net. Anyone like it?

Tell me what you are using for your poultry and what items or design you feel are the most helpful in your coop.


  1. We use Premier1 fencing exclusively here. But none of it is electrified where the hens can get to it. This is because we have cattle chargers, not poultry chargers.

    It situations where they won't be able to touch it, it's connected to the perimeter fencing.

    We have 3 different nets:

    Here in no rocks land we use all double spikes, as it stands up better. This one is 164' long and I mostly use it to get the hens out of their permanent pen.

    By leaning the posts in, so the base is 5' wide and the top no more than 2.5' apart, it provides hawk protection.

    This next one is 80' long and is just the right size to surround the Salatin pen. It has a dedicated charger and is on 24/7:
    (Same page but is the 80' one.)

    These posts don't need to lean, as the Salatin pen is hawk protection.

    The last one is used around the mobile coop inside the 40' pen. It's 50' long and has very heavy posts:

    I don't have a picture of it in place, but it surrounds this coop inside the chicken wire fence, at night, once the birds are all inside and is tied to the perimeter fence.

    Designs helpful:

    Being able to raise the waterer and feeder to the correct hieghts. For waterers, it keeps the water cleaner, if it's level with the hens backs. For feeders, same height, and helps stop feed waste.

    Deep bedding during the winter: if done correctly will provide some heat, compost the manure, and you won't need to clean the coop as often. It also will eliminate ammonia, if done right.

    We also used these posts for the 40' pen:

    There are 2 of them in this picture:

    and one of these:

    used to guy the sides and corners.

    We've been very happy with all Premier's products, and have a lot in use for the cows and pigs too.

  2. I have two sections of Premier enet but haven't electrified it.My first section has just one point to put into the ground but I prefer the second section which has two. I hold the netting to the ground with landscape staples. Works really well. I have my birds on my septic field which is fenced in two sections. I can rotate them between the two so neither gets horribly beaten up.

  3. That chicken coop looks fantastic. It's great that the old barn has a new life. Those ducks have grown so quickly, I cannot believe how big they are already.

  4. I am so impressed with your new chicken coop and the fact that the majority of building materials were recycled from that wonderful old barn. My girls free range, no fencing here. Don Juan and Ramon take good care of their girls. If I could afford fancy fencing I would certainly use it.