The last time we were out visiting the farmhouse, I took some measurements of the chicken coop. It’s exactly 10′ x 23′ on the interior. I’m currently working out some sketches of what I’d like to do to it, because it’s completely bare bones right now. It’s not insulated at all, so one of the things I would like to do is tighten it down, so to speak. We’ll probably end up using heat lamps out there anyway, but I’d like to at least plug all the cracks that I can so there isn’t a draft inside. It’d be great to be able to insulate it all and toss up some cheap walls over the insulation, but that probably won’t happen for a long time.

Next on the list is to build a suitable nesting box. I’ve already drawn up plans using materials that are available at the farmhouse for a 10-nest structure (two rows of five boxes) with a slant roof and room underneath for broodies and their young to be caged off. Right now there are a bunch of cabinets lining the wall between the coop and the smaller barn, but we’ll be able to easily remove most of those. I’d like to leave in one set of cabinets to store food, lime, grit, and other pertinent chicken supplies.

After the nesting box and cabinets, I have plans for a couple roosting areas. There are a few big windows, and I thought it would be neat to put a roost right in front of one of them, so the gals can look out whenever they want to. Then I’ll use some scrap lumber to build a few roosting ladders in the far corner. As the “piece de resistance” I’d like to debark a section of fallen tree, shine it up a bit with some polyeurethane, and install it in the middle as a fun place for the chickens to climb. It’d also be a great conversation piece.

Murray McMurray starts filling chick orders February 1st, but I don’t know if we’ll be ready for them that early. My dear hubby and I are still discussing which breeds to go with. I like dual-purpose birds (ISA’s, Buff Orpingtons), but he has fallen for the showy birds (Sumatras and Phoenix’s). While someday I would love to be able to breed show birds, I just don’t think now is the time to start. He’s used to getting his way, so I might have to draw my proverbial sword for this cause. I also want a few ducks for eggs and meat, and I’m not too sure he’s sold on that one yet. Mmm… he just hasn’t tasted duck yet.

One of these times that we go out to the farmhouse, I’ll have to take some pictures of the chicken coop. It’s going to be a very fun project, and I’ll even be able to work on it in the winter, as it’s connected to one of the barns, although most of the installation work will have to wait until warmer spring temperatures arrive.

I’ve never been more excited for Spring to come… and it’s hardly even Winter yet!

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