The Chick Inn has expanded, and it's bigger and better than ever.
Our chicken coop is a prominent feature of our backyard landscape. The coop sits almost in the center of our backyard and is easily viewed from the house and all the backyard seating areas. I wanted the coop to blend with the surrounding woodlands, so I selected paint colors that mimic those found in the nearby post oaks.
The original coop is an 8 X 12 foot structure with a high roof and open floor plan to keep the space cool in the summer. The expansion consists of an additional 12 X 24 foot space that we added to the back. From the front, the change is hardly noticeable.
A side view of the addition, shows the open run area and entry door. The run is accessible to both the original coop and the smaller coop at the back. All of the walls and the roof have been made predator proof with 1/2 inch welded wire secured with screws and fender washers. The white limestone block and river rock foundation have been continued around the building to discourage digging predators.
The roofed portion at the back is a smaller coop and run combination. Green shade cloth is currently protecting the western exposure. Additionally, I've planted a weeping bamboo and some fruit trees for protection in this back area. The weeping bamboo was purchased recently at Vivero Gardens.
We've had a lot of trees die off due to the drought and the area is now very exposed to sun. Next summer, I will need to evaluate the area and add additional shade cloth on the south facing wall, which is currently open.
The smaller coop/run is a 6 X 12 foot structure designed for Pansy and her babies. The space can accommodate chicks from babyhood through grow-out. They can safely live here until they are ready to be merged with the existing flock. This will not happen until they can defend themselves and fight for a spot in the pecking order, which happens at about 4-5 months.
I know it's just a chicken coop, but that solid wall is screaming out for some art work. I was initially thinking of painting a mural, but honestly, I'll never have time with all my other projects. I think some simple outdoor wall hangings and maybe a window would be a huge improvement.
Pansy, who is an excellent forager, has been doing a great job of showing her babies how to scratch and find food. You can tell when they've found something good because the babies make a very high pitched, excited peeping noise.
One day I heard the babies sounding a little more excited than usual and I knew they must have found something good. Curious, I headed over to where they were, but my walk soon turned into a run when I heard Pansy make a loud, shrill warning noise. The babies had found a coral snake.
Red and black, friend of Jack, red and yeller, kill a feller... apparently, even chickens know the rhyme. This little guy is lethal, so he's collected into a bucket and taken to the far backside of our property. It's good to know Pansy is teaching her babies such valuable lessons.