A new chapter

It’s been ages since I updated this website (I feel like I post that opening sentence a lot!) but I have a valid excuse. In the last year, my wife Ruth carried and gave birth to our beautiful daughter, who is now a mere 4 months old!

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster and we’ve just reached the point of sleeping through the night – I can’t describe how good that feels!

It’s still an incredibly hard job for Ruth in particular and I can’t lump enough praise on her for how well she’s doing as a new mother. You go through pregnancy knowing it’s going to be hard, and plan as best you can, but as much as it’s a cliche to say it, nothing prepares you for having a child.

Anyway, since the focus in my life has changed, this will probably be reflected in the blog. I’m going to be writing a few more posts in the coming months and they will probably be focused on fatherhood rather than the usual work out in the garden. Purely because I have no time for being out in the garden at the moment!

I’ll post the occasional update, as we had some problems with the chickens we had to deal with, (but they are still OK and doing well), but by and large don’t be surprised if I post about some different topics as time goes on. Here’s to the new chapter!

Chicken Coop

This post has been a long time coming. We’ve wanted chickens in the garden for a good while, but a lot of things have got in the way of getting around to it, not least the fact that we didn’t have a coop to keep the chickens in!

That’s the big thing too – you hear a lot of people tell you that chickens are great because it’s free eggs, but no one ever factors in the cost of the coop itself! After looking online, estimates ranged from £100 to £300+ Obviously, the only way forward was to build it myself!

For the moment, I have screwed the door on until I have some hinges!

I got my idea from the Tangled Nest blog, and copied the outside very closely. I found the plans for the inside a bit lacking, so did a bit of reading up and made sure the roosting area and nest boxes were the right dimensions. In the end, I went with one nesting box (should be OK for four chickens), 30cm wide, 30cm deep and 24cm high.

I created a roosting ladder in the coop, which was the opposite corner to the nesting box. This was 30cm deep made from 2×4 timber, plenty of footing for the chickens. In line with the plans on the website above, I also installed a trap door for a ramp underneath the coop, and added two windows for some natural light.

The coop with all internal things in position. Just before I screwed the front on.

For materials, I was fortunate enough to pick up a load of plywood from the local wood recycling store down the road, along with a stack of 2×4 timber. Additionally, my neighbour had her roof re-tiled the week I started building the coop, so I got 4 nearly-new pallets from her skip which I dismantled and used  to create the roosting bar.

After a weekend of decent weather, I was able to put the coop together. I’m just waiting for my wife to pick the colour before we add the finishing touches such as windows, and hinges for the door. Then we can go ahead with getting chickens!

A couple of points:
For the windows I ordered A4 acrylic to match the plywood thickness. Ordering in A4 sizes was cheaper than specifying a size, so I cut the windows to match.
The roosting bar and nesting box dimension recommendations were gathered from a bit of googling. There are lots of points of varying positions, so I’m going to see how these work and can change them accordingly in the future.
Finally, I had a bit of tanking left over from a wet-room project before, and I heard that it would be good to tank the inside of the coop, making it moisture resistant, so that’s what the light blue is in the photos of the inside of the coop. I’m hoping it should make cleaning easier, we shall see!

Just getting the base and back done before adding the rest. You can see the roof frame waiting to go on.

I added the skeleton of the roof before the boards.

I’ll post more photos when it’s up and running!