I went through a short phase of reading homesteading books from the library, not really sure how I got into that...I think I wanted to learn about baking bread, so I picked one up and then another, and another...can't really remember but anyway...I found this one book that was marvelous and since my memory comes from my mom's side ( love you mom) I can't remember the title either. It was by a 26 year old girl who was from a city apartment and she moved to a house in the middle of nowhere. She quickly realized that she wanted to have chickens, and 2 husky dogs, and a small garden, and bees, and learn how to make her own bread, and other things. She had less than an acre I believe out in the middle of Idaho (nowhere). This all inspired me to do the same. Here's a little psychological background on me. It's short, don't worry...I'm a dreamer. I dream BIG and outrageously...the words practical, reasonable, and logical are not included in my dreaming schemes. I don't consider money, time, or logistics in my plans...I just envision them and want them to be a reality :) no matter the cost. So, that's how my chicken coop idea came about. I wanted chickens. 3 of them to be exact...3 black silkies to make backyard organic eggs whenever I needed them. I didn't care that chickens get diseases, they cost money to raise, and eventually when they get older and stop laying eggs, you have to do something with them...you know...kill them or something. Ugh. Yuck. Anyways, my dream went from reading it in a book, to researching it online, to drawing up sketches of what the coop needed and I wanted, to my wonderfully supportive husband building it. That's right...he built me a chicken coop! Yes, there were arguments, disagreements about the structure, he even might have told me to call and find out if we could even have chickens in the city but I didn't. I didn't care...I had gone all over town finding free wood (pallets and plywood) to make my dreams come true. (Let me tell you this, we have a small 4 door car with a very limited trunk...it does not hold pallets or plywood, anywhere. So my loving husband called a friend, borrowed his truck and hauled the wood home). I told you...logical is not part of my dreams! So, within a few days, the coop was built, except for a few minor details - caulking and painting, that sort of thing. But my coop was built! I was so excited and my husband was proud of it...he showed it to everyone that came over, even though it wasn't finished :) Here are some pictures of the coop...
The front...the doors swing open to be flush against the sides to make it easier to clean out.
The windows slide open/off to be able to let a breeze in in the summer and to peek in on the chickens. They were made out of the plastic floor mat under your computer chair. Clever, yes?
The back lid opens up to collect eggs and put in new nesting materials.
There's a trap door that opens so that through the day (since the bottom half (all around the legs) would have been enclosed with chicken wire) the chickens could have a small run to eat fresh grass and get some air and sunshine. Yes, that's linoleum on the floor...it makes it easier to clean!
I took all the elements that I liked from other chicken coops and designed my own to what I wanted. There would have been hanging feed and water dishes on the right side and 2 perches through the middle.
Now it's a dog condo for The Dooge (George, our rat-dog).
We have yet to put it outside since it is supposed to have insulation put in the walls but since it's been warming up, I think I'll urge Dom to put it outside anyways. We could use the garage space! It is 4'X3.5' I think. It's not small, or light!
One funny thing we didn't account for is that we're not sure how to get this into the backyard...we hope it will fit through our back fence gate since it doesn't fit through the garage door that leads into the backyard!
We spent about $50 on hardware, sticky linoleum squares and a couple pieces of wood that we couldn't scrounge up and everything else was free! Even the exterior paint was found on freecycle! Not the color of my dreams, but hey, it was free! I decided to call to see if chickens were legal I think 3-4 days into the project...you know, after the thing was built. I was so mad to find out that both my neighbors could have dogs the size of ponies but I couldn't have 3 little chickens. They are quieter and cleaner than any dog. Plus, they serve a purpose! They produce fresh, organic eggs...what does a dog do but produce doo? Lots, and lots of doo. *sigh* I guess I'll just have to stick with my garden and then maybe bees? They're legal, I checked!