The 7-Day Chicken Coop

Well, folks. It can be done. You can get a chicken coop in 7 days! Just maybe not the way you think.

Day 0.

Cut up all the pieces and start building. In this endeavor you learn that a 6- by 8-foot side will not fit out your basement door and up the steps out of the cellar. You will dismantle what you built, realize there is a nail hole in your six-month old flooring, and throw in the towel. Tomorrow will be the new Day 1 with progress, you say.

Day 1.

Put together the failed piece from yesterday by nailing everything back into the holes. Do this in the backyard so you know everything fits. Success! Next, bring the other 6- by 8-foot piece outside–you have learned it is not part of an inside building project. Build the last two sides inside and head outside to put everything together. Everything goes well, barring that one time you put a side in upside down and the fact that you cut 6 4-foot pieces too short.
Dismantle and reassemble. Don’t trust the rain, because you see the clouds coming and feel the fat droplets on your arms. Just a few more nails, some craftiness for the roof and there you have it–you’re done for the day. Start to believe that this will happen. You can finish a 7-day coop.

Silly human, chicken coops are for professionals.

Day 2.

It looks like it may rain. The weather channel says it won’t, but it looks like it will and if there’s a chance, it will rain on you. Forego painting for planting corn and beans. There are things on the homestead that aren’t chickens, dontcha know.

Day 3.

The other you will go outside to paint. One coat is done before they have to head out to help a friend. It’s getting late and you don’t feel like painting. “One coat is enough, right?” you say. You plant squash and pumpkins instead. Squash and pumpkins need love too.

Day 4.

Your better half will paint a second coat while you work 11 hours at the day job. You go outside in time to see the paint dry. It feels chalky, you think. It feels dry, you think. You convince the other you to put up hardware cloth. You can be done, you think. Start to feel panicky, because it’s going to rain. The chickens won’t have a roof or walls. But they will have wire.

You staple all the wire in and realize that this coop isn’t square. Everything is crooked, but you used spare wire and hardware cloth you pulled off an old rabbit hutch.

When all wire is up and the coop painted, you consider this a success. The 7-day coop is at risk, but walls can be done inside. Roof can be done in the rain.

You don’t take a picture because you think, “It will still be there tomorrow.”

Day 5.

The weatherman was right. It is raining. Big heavy fat droplets you avoid except to let the chickens out and in. Avoid your chicken coop as it’s just a reminder of the bad weather.

Day 6.

Another day of rain and the big coop smells like mud and chicken poop. Ponder ways to clean it and dream of the second coop for new Rooster-less chickens.

This is when you realize that the paint is getting washed off the sides. The entire coop and run is composed of yellow-streaked, white-painted wood.

Curse the world because this is impossible. You recognize you may not get chickens to quarantine because there is nowhere to house them.

Vow to never buy cheap barn and fence paint again. Perhaps you missed the memo where the paint can said this was for a vintage option. “Weathers in days rather than years!”

Day 7.

Wake up with a groan and the realization that your coop isn’t done. Think of ways to get around this and still replace your roosters. Make a mental list of everything you need to do for Day 8 but don’t write it down because you have a chicken swap to go to.

Go to your chicken swap and stare at the pre-built coops. Try not to look at the price as you think, “I could bring one of those home.” Resist, though. Buy chicks because they can sleep somewhere else while you fix the coop. (Really, this is: Buy chicks because they have the breed you wanted all along.)

And then, by some sort of miracle, the 7-day chicken coop will happen. At the swap they will raffle off a coop and shout out your better half’s name and before you know it, you will be loading one of these in the back of your better half’s truck. You did good, kid.

So there you have it. Our new chicken coop and we can even use the kennel panels that we were going to use for the ducks. At the Maryland Poultry Swap they raffled off a coop (made by Designer Coops in Sharpsburg, MD). Mike’s name was called and he almost missed it–but luckily he didn’t and we got to drive back roads with our new coop made with beautiful red barn wood. Erin and her husband were super generous to do a coop giveaway at all, and I’m so thankful this worked out for us. But it’s beautiful, and to think it came full circle–the whole reason why I knew about the Maryland Poultry Swap was because I found their coop site months ago when looking at coops!

A real post about our second chicken coop build will come in the future once we dismantle, repaint, and fix some design flaws that occurred in the first round of construction. And tomorrow: More about our haul from the Maryland Poultry Swap!

6 thoughts on “The 7-Day Chicken Coop”

  1. Haha.. great post! I love how these things just work out! We spent “way” too much on our first coop. It was built by a local guy who was just starting out in his coop building venture. (That same guy is now selling his Saltbox Design coops through Williams-Sonoma) Who knew!! Our second coop we found on craigslist, modified the roof.. and tada, the coop that gets the most ooohs and ahhs.. for a pittance of what the big coop cost. The duck hut is a modified dog house. I think we have realized we are completely unable to build a functional coop on our own!! Cheers!

  2. So amusing – I’ll have to follow your blog to find out about the 2nd coop – I gave up looking at the calendar when my husband built ours – and yes, a similar experience – one step forward, two steps back, but still, we have a small coop and our 3 chickens seem happy! I daren’t suggest we get more hens as that might require an extension …

    1. You have restraint, congratulations!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Our first coop (a monstrosity weighing in at over 800 pounds) wasn’t perfect but it looks nice and we are mostly happy with it. The biggest issue was learning you can do it MUCH cheaper (we probably spent as much as buying one -_-), the ventilation could be much better, and it is so heavy that when the county told us to move it and we tried, the thing almost toppled (did topple) over. I’ll have to do a post on that one sometime.

      Anyway, point is we have 24 chickens already… But I figure 4-7 of those are roosters and we only want to keep 2 roosters. So doesn’t it make sense to replace them? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And thanks for the follow!

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