Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Coop Delisle!!!

So now the story of our chickens and "Coop Delisle" (as we call it). We live in a area that was majorlyaffected by hurricane Katrina. In the community that we live, it was estimated that of the approximately 8,000 homes, all but 500 were damaged or destroyed. Most of the historic mansions along the beach front road were severely damaged, and many were completely destroyed.  We were fortunate because we live further inland and sustained less damage. We did lose many trees (at least 50) and some damage to our house and cars.  Yet compared to the neighbors in our town we can't complain. We have to admit that once you have been in the heart of a major disaster, there is no way you can really describe it to others.  The eastern eye wall of the storm went over our county.  

When the winds started it never stopped for hours and hours. The winds stripped all the leaves off the trees and even the shrubs. Many of the limbs of the trees that were left standing were broken. It made the property look like a barren waste land. Because of the amount of damage we had, there was no way we could clean it up by ourselves. So the "Corp of Engineers" came in and helped clean our property. When it was all said and done, we had to start with property that was literally stripped. So where to start? Before the storm we had just built our home. In fact we moved in only a week before Katrina. The house was still not finished, and the man who did our site work scraped most of the top soil off. Not realizing what he had done and the damage from the storm, we were at a loss as to how to pick up where we left off, wanting to create gardens for food and beauty. The more we learned about our plot of land the more we realize what damage the contractor contributed. We now think he did way more than the storm.

Because of the storm and the contractor, the ecology was all messed up. The grasshoppers and crickets came out strong looking for anything that was green and still growing. After searching the web, we found that chickens are one of the best bug controllers and natural fertilizers to be had. So we got hooked on the idea, which was not that hard as we love animals. We began to realize that all we had ever known were people that gardened with chemical fertilizers.  The more we read and researched, the more we wanted to build our gardens on natural principles.  We started with chickens.  Chickens need a shelter.  More research.

 The platform was an old wooden screen room project that never got finished. We were about to burn it when we got the idea to use it as the base of what you see here.

As the building started to come together, and the more we read from ones who were sharing their experiences, we realized the coop was too small for how many chickens we were getting, so we had to add on to the back. This made the coop 11ft. X 8ft. on the inside. The back section was lowered an extra 2" for extra pine shavings under the roost to help keep it contained there.
The windows and door were some old ones we picked up in our travels. They were cheap and they had been stored in someone's old barn and were covered with rat droppings, and had a few chewed up areas to boot. We re-worked them and they turned out great. The windows are tall so the coop gets great ventilation when they are open and the chickens can see out.
We sprayed the inside with gloss paint for ease of cleaning and installed low cost vinyl flooring for cleaning. We also used plastic shoe molding along the edges because it cleans up quicker.  Wish it still looked this pristine!
Next we added steps and the run.
For the run we used landscape timbers because they are only a few dollars a post.  Plus we kept the walls at 6ft. because the hardware cloth was the 36" wide type. We then covered part of the run with tin so the chickens would have shade.
Then we made a private entrance for them
so as to enter the run..
Finally, we finished it with some paint and added lattice to keep other animals from going under the coop. Then we built the nesting box off the side so as not to take up space in the main part of the coop.
nest boxes
After all this we are greeted every morning with a friendly bok!!!
Now we enjoy our return with fresh eggs, great insect controllers and hot fertilizer.

The photo's are from a couple of years ago. We are in the process of redoing the coop with some fresh paint. At least you have a glimpse as to our beginning stages of "Sweet Pickles Farm".
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  1. Thanks so much for the compliment. We looked at your new coop as well. We are sure you will enjoy yours as much as we do ours. Thanks for visiting our blog!