Saturday, July 17, 2010

Let's Plow!

This is our makeshift chicken tractor. It was quick, easy, and practically free to make! Plus, most of the materials were upcycled.

We did the silly thing of ordering our chicks back in March before a coop was built, thinking that we had a good four to six weeks to build one while the peeps brooded inside under their heat lamp. Well I really should have known better, nothing ever goes as planned and too many other things crop up here and there. Before we knew it, our six weeks were up and we were still coop-less.

Now, we had every intention of building a really high class cottage-style coop complete with nesting boxes that had an exterior hatch to retrieve eggs, we just didn't have the time to put it together in a weekend. The chickies had certainly outgrown their brooding box and were trying out their wings at every given opportunity. I had to do some quick thinking. Also, we had just gotten done catching up on bills, so most of our funds were temporarily drained. I had to think of a way to find some cheap or free lumber, or come up with a building plan that didn't require a lot of lumber. What I ended up doing was both.

I stumbled upon an old twinsize IKEA boxspring mattress in the garage that was headed for the trash. The exterior frame was the perfect size for the bottom of the A-Frame that we built, and it was reinforced and really strong. Viola, no hammer or nails needed for that part.

The first thing I did was take the boxspring apart. I removed every staple. Next, I took off the canvas lining and padding, which I later used as a cover for the perch side. Then Lee and I popped off the cross boards, which were used to build the A-Frame. We didn't use a saw, just a hammer and nails to put it together. We bought a roll of chicken wire for about $12 and used a staple gun to attach it. The whole project took less than a day and the chickies were in their new home by the evening! Even though it's not much to look at, it's worked well for us the last three months. With a bit more time we could have made it look prettier, but we only intended this to be a temporary coop.

We have loftier plans for a chicken coop cottage inspired by some fancy bunny hutch cottages I saw at Fairyale Town in Sacramento:
I've already gotten the plans drawn up, but we aren't going to be able to put it all together in one go, or in one pay period.  We decided to spread the cost out over a few weeks so that we could actually make it the way we really wanted it.  I'm going to build the skeleton out of 2x4's first, then add the siding, the roof, and at last the decor bits.

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