12 Jan 2010 Coop (4) Ok, I was exaggerating a bit on the $500 egg. It will actually be quite reasonable, well under $200 for that first delicious huevo! And that's including chicks, feed and coop materials. It does not include the 20-hours of labor (max) to build the coop, but it was labor of love, so that would never count anyway.

Honest, that's what he told me. I'm going with it.

You, too, can have such a fine coop. Design is simple, here's a materials list:

  • 25 1×2 @ 4 varas* each
  • 3 shutter doors (that we had laying around from another project)
  • 1 sheet 1/4 plywood
  • 6 6×2.5 plastic roof panels
  • 2 lb drywall screws
  • 15' 1x1x3 chicken wire
  • 50 roofing bolts with washers
  • 50 concrete nails
  • 1000 staples
  • 1 Qt wood sealer
  • 12 or so corner reinforcing brackets
  • About 85,000 colones for all materials
  • Chicken feed 4 kilos/month @ 400 colones/kilo and 3.5 months = 5,600 colones
  • 3 Chicks @ 1,500 colones each = 4,500 colones

Total: 95,100 colones or $168. See? Infinitely reasonable for all this fun. And, someday maybe, food.

The girls have adapted beautifully to their new home. They are in there at dusk, all snug in their boxes (it's been too chilly to sleep on the perches). They are ready to come out of the coop at dawn.

Yesterday afternoon, I went out and did a little cleaning and rearranging in the new coop. When I was done, I turned around and all the girls, Eva, Ethel and Lucy – who had been on the other side of the yard scooping up bugs and stuff – were right behind me, standing quite still, eyeing me suspiciously. When I stepped away from the coop, they raced in to see what I'd done.

It didn't look like, "Hey, wow, what did la gringa vieja do that is new and cool in here?" It was more like, "Ok, what has she messed up NOW? We had everything just perfect and then SHE comes along and starts messing with it. Goodness…" They were clucking and flapping, checking it all out, making sure I didn't screw up their new home too badly. Those girls are pretty funny!

*When you buy wood here, it's sold in "varas." A vara equals about 80 centimeters, about 31 inches. When you see the price on the shelf, that is for one vara and each plank is 3-4 varas so you have to do the math before you know how much each plank costs. Wiki says vara is an obsolete Spanish/Portuguese unit of measure. Clearly not yet obsolete!

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