We bought some property in Como, Colorado two years ago. One of the goals was to fix up the coop that was already on the property and make it more secure and more hygienic.
We feel were are close enough, so this weekend, 9 of the chicklets were moved in. They are 8 1/2 weeks old.
The bones were there. But it took some significant work. First, we removed the existing roof, which was made up of 24”x24” glass window panes. Why they used repurposed windows like that, I have no idea, but they had to go. So, I removed them and put in the clear polycarbonate roof panels that I have used on my coop/run in Aurora.
Welded Wire – The previous owners put in welded wire for the first four feet up, which is incredibly strong. The main issue with using welded wire is that the holes are fairly large and many predators can get in through them, like weasels, rats, and other small vermin. The benefit is that dogs, coyotes, and such will not be getting through the welded wire without working on it for a long time and will likely leave for easier pickings. At least, that is the hope.
Chicken Wire – Chicken wire is not for keeping predators out, but works very well for keeping chickens in. Chicken wire is run the entire length and width of the exterior walls, and it will keep out predatory birds, and most other wild birds that might carry disease, while keeping the chickens in their run.
Solid Coop – The coop, inside the run, is incredibly well built, and is draft free. It does need some more ventilation, so we will add some more venting this coming weekend. By the way, I love the old wood. You can see the coop to the right and in the back of the run, in this picture. Well, you might not be able to see it very well.
Secure Entry – The door is large, but is well built and secure. No predator is going to get through the exterior door to the coop/run.
Polycarbonate Roof – Lots of metal roofing screws were used to lock the panels into place, with good overlap. I expect the roof will keep out the rain and snow, except that blows in the sides. We have had great luck with the polycarbonate roofing, but I am a bit worried about the high winds we get up in Como, and them being ripped off. If that happens, I will replace it with metal roofing.
Predator Apron – This is the term that I have heard used, and I like it. Basically, rather than digging into the ground a couple of feet and burying welded wire or hardware fabric, you just bend it and secure it against the side of the run and run it along the ground and out a couple of feet away from the exterior walls. Most digging animals will try to start digging closer to the wall, and will give up if they can’t get through. Of course, the rocks also provide some protection, too. So, we combined them.
Electric Fencing – Yeah, we went way above and beyond. We put in two lines of electrified wire. The first is about six inches off of the ground. The second is about eighteen inches off of the ground. It is hard to see the two wires in the picture, but they are there. The lower wire should be a nice shock to smaller predators and the higher wire should be about the right height for dogs and coyotes. I may change the height, but I think it is a good start.
Waterers and Feeders – This is my first attempt at doing my own side nipple and bottom nipple waterers. Hygiene is pretty important, and using these nipple waterers will make a huge difference when it comes to a clean water supply. So far, the chicklets love these waterers and needed no training in using them. The feeders are PVC feeders. I will have to get some good pics of them. They don’t work too well for crumbles in that it is easier to “bill” the feed out onto the ground, but this isn’t a big issue for the crumbles. It is almost a non-issue with pellet feed. I will get some good pics in the near future.
Diatomaceous Earth – I know many people are against its use, but with the wild birds in the area, I feel the benefit outweighs any negatives. I feel DE is great at keeping mites and lice at bay, so it gets a good sprinkling in all wood joints, perches, and nesting areas. Of course, it also gets a sprinkling in their dirt bath areas.
I think this will be a good secure run and coop. However, only time will tell.