A-FRAME COOP/RUN WEEK 7

This week we wanted to finish adding the wire on the sides of the coop and try to get the roof on. We have a lot of long and dry weather here in Texas.. but I wanted to get the flooring protected as soon as possible to avoid any wood damage. Since I did not get the last of the supports under the coop last weekend, I need to get this done as well. I also need to get the nest box done as that needs to be added to the end so we can get it closed off.

Since we had the 4 x 4 post we will use for the additional support in last week’s shopping list, all we needed to get this week was the plywood and lumber for the nest box. We still have screws we can use to put it all together so thankfully, we got off pretty cheap this week.

This weeks materials list

Nest Box

I had the pieces of  the nest box all cut at Lowe’s. I got everything out of one piece of plywood. The width of the top and bottom is 18″ so I had them cut down lengthwise at 18″ and then cut in half at the 4 foot mark. The next horizontal cut was also at 12″. Then I had them cut it at 18″ intervals to get five pieces I used as the dividers. Then I had them cut again horizontally at the 7 inch mark and then cut it in half. These are the pieces I used to enclose the back. One piece will be permanent and the other hinged to allow access to the nest box.

When I got home after work I started to assemble the nest box.

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I marked one side of both the top and bottom boards at 12″ intervals. This allowed me to line up the divider boards. It is also the line I put my screws into. I put two of the dividers under one of the boards for support until I could get things lined up. With a divider supporting towards one end, I started at opposite end and  Lined up a divider board with the end. When I got it into place I ran screws from the top and into the divider board board below.

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With one end anchored I did the same to get the opposite end in place and put in a couple screws. After we got both ends done we started to work on the middle ones. For these center dividers I lined up the line on the top with the center of the divider board then put in some screws. After we got all the dividers attached on this side we flipped the box over.

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Then, one by one, we lined up the centers of the dividers and ran screws down into them from the top of the board.

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I couldn’t believe sitting in my car for a few hours when I was at work cause the top and bottom boards to warp some. Though I wrestled with it some, we ended up with a slight bow in the box. Hope I can get some of that out.. but if not, pretty sure the chickens will not care.

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I cut the 1″ x 4″ the width of the box and attached it at the bottom of the nest box. This is the front of the box and the board will keep the shavings I will put in the nest in the box from falling out.

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This photo is a little further along.. but you can see where I took two boards and put them on the back with a hinge in the middle. I lined up the top board with the top edge of the box and screwed it onto place because I did not have the latch to keep the top closed. I actually put a lot of weight on the bow in the box then screwed the bottom board into place. I added the hinges and am hoping by screwing the back to the box I can pull some of the bow out of the box before I get it added to the coop.

The height of the box is 12 inches and the width of the two boards is 14″. That is giving me a little lip on the bottom side of the box.

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The next day I took the nest box outside and painted it both inside and out. After we got the painting done we set it aside then worked on getting those final supports under the coop.

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I used a jigsaw to cut the 4 x 4’s. With a square I made a mark all the way around the 4 x 4 post. The jigsaw cut through most of the thickness of the post. Then I flipped the post 180 degrees. Being careful to put the blade in the cut already done, I then cut along the line to finish cutting the post.

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The one eight foot post gave me three supports that I put right down the center. I used some three inch screws and went from the top plywood floor, through the 2 x 4 support and into the 4 x 4 support post. Adding these support posts really made the base a lot sturdier and I don’t have to worry about the weight breaking one of the angled support boards and the coop crashing down. I sure wish I had thought about this earlier, but better late then never. With the supports in place it was time to finally start working on the roof.

Hindsight

During my long commute to work the past week, I got to to thinking about putting on the roof. I realized I would not have any place to stand to secure the metal roof with the wire on the top part of the coop that I had going under the metal roofing. My initial plan was to have a lot of air flow through the coop. With the wire on the coop and the end left open I would have a lot of fresh air flowing through the coop at all time. So after some thought I realized the original plan was not going to work and I needed to do something else. So I started on my roof by taking down the wire I had put on the sides of the coop.

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You can see above the space between the metal roof and the wire along the coop side. It would have been a great idea for air flow, but with the ends of the coop and top open and covered with hardware cloth, I will have plenty of ventilation. After removing the wire we set it aside. It was not going to go to waste as I would be using it instead of the filed fence below the metal roof to enclose the area under the coop.

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After the wire was down we cut boards to fit under the roof to close off the opening. See in the photo above the added board between the metal roof and the frame board. When I got them all cut and in place I then painted them.

Getting the roof up by myself was a bit of a trick. I used clamps to get an idea of where I wanted to put the panels. Original thought was to have both sides meet at the top but there would not be a way to seal the top.. and it was really difficult to get them to meet at the top as I wanted. So decided to still leave a space at the top and would come up with a cover ro put over the top that would still give me air flow but keep out the rain.

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Once I to got the first roof panels where I wanted them with clamps, I put a screw in the top of this side. By only doing one screw it allowed me to use it as a pivot if needed to fine tune the placement of this first panel. I realized at this point I needed to attach the wire on the bottom as the top part of that wire would be under the roof panels. So I took the staple gun and attached the edge of the wire along the top side board edging the coop floor. Because I have to get my step ladder up next to the coop I did not attach it along the bottom of the coop. I just went down the side a little where the roof would cover the wire and make me getting it anchored difficult. After getting the wire in place I put screws in the bottom and middle of the metal panel. Then I went back to the top and added a second screw  up there as well.

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To get the panels in place, from the ground I used my knee to support the panels where I wanted them. I then put one screw into the bottom to hold it into place. Then, using my step stool, I would get up into the coop and put the screws into the top and middle section of the panel. Then I would get back on the ground and put another screw in the bottom. Each panel has two  screws in the top, middle and bottom. I continued this until I had the one side done.

With the roof panels in place I then pulled the wire tight and stretched and stapled it into place. I will be coming back with the the larger poultry staples to anchor the wire here and around the entire coop more securely.

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As I got to the end of the first side, I realized it was difficult to reach the top because of the wire on the coop run. I needed to stand on something since the coop was now close off and with the angle of the wire I could not reach the top from this side. I lucked out by not having to redo anything and ended up putting in the top screws from the other side and reaching over the top of the coop. So, when I started to roof the other side of the coop, I started at the run end and worked back towards the end. This allowed me, when I got to the end, to stand on my step stool and put in the top two screws.

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Almost done with the roof and you can see the open top for ventilation. With no rain in the forecast for days, I am good with this and will come up with something next weekend to cover this area. I have an hour commute to work and home every day and it is these long drives where I work out my construction problems. I am sure I will have a plan for keeping out the rain by next weekend. My plan will still allow air flow but keep the rain out. If worse comes to worse and rain is predicted before then, I will stop at Tractor Supply and get a tarp to cover the coop to keep everything dry.

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What a long day. I was up early and worked until it started to get dark. I had a few other things to do before we started on the coop and spent about 8 hours on it today. Though we  did not have to spend much this weekend, we still had a lot in the labor and we still have a ways to go. But we can now see the end of the tunnel. Next week we get the nest box added to the coop and come up with something to keep the rain out. The chicks we hatched out are getting big and I am about ready to get them out of my house and into theirs.

See ya next weekend ..

Running Total

COST: $534.44

TIME:  27.75 Hours

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