The "H&B" used to stand for Hal & Brian, but it evolved into Heavy & Bald. (Guess how.) It also stands as a testament to how long something will last, which is forever. These boys don't spare a screw. "Overbuild it!" is their motto. And that extends to chicken coops. If there is room for another corner brace, why not?
Hal is building without Brian these days (as is Brian without Hal – a sad state of affairs!) And he's no longer heavy or bald. Still overbuilding, though, and my chickens are going to have the nicest coop in Costa Rica! The effort maybe wasted on Ethel, Eva and Lucy, living in a chicken palace and all, but such a fine coop will make my life as a chicken tender very easy. Here's the scoop on the coop:
- On the right will be the perches. I'm leaving my options open for keeping it clean under the perches: either newspaper and straw, changing once a week, or just straw and deep litter. I'm thinking newspaper will be the best choice because, as soon as this coop is ready (after paint and gingerbread, of course) and the grown-up birds are moved in, I'm getting 10 more chicks. Once those chicks are big enough to live in the new coop, that's gonna be a lotta poop under those perches.
- The new chicks will live in the old coop until they are about nine weeks old. That way, I can keep them warm, plus the old and the new will be able to see and get used to each other before moving in together.
- On the left will be three levels of shelves for nesting boxes. I figure I can easily fit 9, maybe more. I should have plenty: La Gringa's chickens often share a nesting box.
- The panel on the left end lifts out to gather eggs (if they ever actually produce any….)
- The floor of the coop will be screen with straw on top. I'm going with the deep litter method – the chickens spend the year making our compost!
- The middle screened-floor section will be removable, so, when I need to give it a good cleaning, I lift out the floor and walk in.
- Handy double doors
- Raised floor for easy cleaning underneath
- The ground underneath will be covered with gravel and straw. I can hose it down if I need to.
Remember how cute those chicks were three months ago?