Time for a new rooster coop I decided, as once more I found myself crouching on hands and knees persuading reluctant, sleepy cockerels into transport crates. It was the night before freezer camp and I was crating up 2020’s first batch of winter chicken dinners.
The bachelor coop was still perfectly comfortable for its inhabitants, who stood an average of eighteen inches tall. For me though, at five foot seven, it was a little tight, and hard to clean, and after three years, starting to come apart at the seams. It had lasted pretty well for a recycled boxspring floor with plastic pipe studs and chicken wire walls, but I was ready to upgrade.
After conferring with Resident Gardener and Dear Husband, I decided that the rooster coop should stay in the secret field but move to the other side, tucked under a hedgerow for shelter, with its back to the rising sun (to help keep them quiet in the mornings). It should be big enough to walk upright into, for ease of cleaning and handling birds. And the doorway wide enough for a wheelbarrow.
A new fence and gate would let the young cockerels free range over the whole bottom half of the secret field, snacking on bugs and grazing, turning the secret field’s output into chicken. A new pen, attached to the coop, would give them somewhere to stretch their legs when they couldn’t free range.
With that vision in mind, I picked up 30 eight foot 2x4s and a role of half-inch hardware cloth on my Wednesday feed run, carried it all down to the job site on Thursday and Friday using the “grab a couple and take them with you every time you walk by” strategy and started construction Saturday morning. A quick couple questions to my carpentry mentor DH and I began putting together the base. I only had a couple hours to spend on it though, Saturday is coop cleaning day and I had my regular chores to get done.
Today I had no competing priorities, and was able to spend the bulk of the day down in the secret field, working on the coop. So much fun. I used up all but two of the 2x4s, and finished up most of the framing. My new rooster coop is looking pretty good so far if I do say so myself…