Finishing the Coop

Why am I suddenly reminded of Stephen Sondheim's lyrics for Sunday in the Park with George? It's a little out of context, but just as George Seurat (in the show) says, "Look I made a hat/Where there never was a hat!" That's how I feel. We made a coop, where there wasn't one before! And this is a big-footprint item; it has height and heft and presence in the garden. It looks like an accomplishment.

The accomplishment is definitely mostly Tom's. I helped in certain stages and I can say I had a hand in creating it, but Tom is the star of this show. He continued on, weekend after weekend, working every spare minute on the construction. All the bits that were one-person jobs, he did, and did brilliantly. Have a look at our finished building:

The egg collection door

Ladder going up into the hen house

Nesting boxes

We have a couple things left to do. One is to buy locks for both doors. This is to keep the raccoons out, as they can open latches. The other is to make some sort of corner braces to hold roosts, both in the hen house and in the run. I cut some branches off one of our trees last week, and we'll use those for the roosts. And I'll need to buy some straw for nesting; I already have bags of sawdust from Dad for the run. 

The chickens have been ordered and are arriving next Sunday. We'll be getting two Rhode Island Reds, two Barred Rocks, and two Easter Eggers. They will all be older chicks, ready to live outdoors in the coop. Eggs will not be forthcoming until summer. But I think this age is the best of both worlds: They're still young enough to bond with us, but old enough to live outside and take care of themselves.

This was a challenging project and we again thank The Garden Coop for their excellent plans. We had never built anything of this size before, but we learned a lot of new skills and feel confident about building again in the future.