Another fun home adventure is upon us! We embarked on backyard chickens. This is all new to us, but we hope to have a flock of 5 hens. While we are not starting with chicks, but young pullets that are about to start laying eggs.
As I learned, a pullet is a young female hen, usually a few months old. We are going to have hybrid hens, of the Rhode Island Red varietal. But, one show chicken, like a silkie, in the flock.
Originally, I ordered a coop on-line. However, after a few setbacks and concerns about the quality of it, I canceled that order. A few days ago I made a trek up to Shrewsbury Pennsylvania where they have a market with lots of Amish built sheds and coops. It was more than I wanted to pay, but I went ahead and purchased a coop that can hold up to 12 chickens.
Hauling this baby back to our house was quite an adventure. I was told it was 5×9 and never measured it. I had an open trailer from U-Haul, but it wasn’t wide enough. Next, I rented a trailer from Sunbelt Rentals, 6×12, which gave me plenty of room.
Shrewsbury is about 30 miles north of us, taking a major highway, I-83 with speeds in excess of 70mph by most. This certainly wasn’t going to be my route. Instead, I took back roads the entire way, trying to keep my speed below 50. Even on these roads, people speed, so I got a lot of angry looks.
Once I got it home, I drove it into the yard. I used my tractor with a strap to tow it to the end of the trailer. Once at the end, I laid half of it gently on the ground using the bucket of my tractor. I put wood and brick blocks under it, with less than half an inch gap. I gently drove the trailer forward, letting the rest slide off and onto the blocks below:
Next, I lifted it up, removed the wood and block, and let it fall back onto the ground. Now I could use my tractor and straps to pull and move it into place.
Prior to moving it, I did a bit of leveling of the ground. This was done directly in front of a storage shed, with some space between, for access.
My goal is to have a fully enclosed, predator safe, automated coop. I want enough clean water, food, and automated coop door, so I can leave for 3 days with no worries. To achieve a predator safe coop, I wanted to dig a trench about 8 – 12 inches out, and about 7 inches deep, and line with wire. That way, if someone wants to dig under, they will hit the wire. Here are pictures of the process:
I did this around the entire coop. Covered with dirt, and grass with grow over it. I hope this will keep critters out!
Once done, here is how it all looked:
I plan to install a fully enclosed run, directly to the right, that will allow for semi-free ranging. I have a contractor I work with coming by tomorrow to quote it and if affordable, I will enlist Jose to do it to save me time. Our hope is to have a flock by end of this upcoming week.
Stay tuned 🙂