Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Palace Fit For A Chicken

When we bought this little forested property, we found an abandoned child's playhouse built by the original owners. It was in pretty good shape, only because no one ever tread upon it. We decided to turn it into a chicken coop and with two adults using it several times a day to collect eggs, the foundation started to slip. The original owners had constructed the foundation using only two 4x4 posts and some sort of creative "header" made up of a warped 2x6. The whole coop made the structural engineer in me cringe.

The coop the day we moved in. Abandoned for 15 years.

Right before we got chickens. Not too crooked... yet.

In addition to live load, this baby supported some snow loads.

Prior to rebuild. Right fore is collapsing.

With all the recent rains, the coop was in very real danger of falling down the hill, so we decided to rebuild the foundation. For this project, I uses poured concrete piers, 6x6 posts and a sistered 2x6 headers. Designing the foundation was the easy part. The hard part was lifting the coop off the old foundation to level it and build the new foundation underneath. Lucky for us, our downhill neighbor happens to own everything you could ever need in life. And this weekend, I needed two 2.5 ton jacks. And, of course, my neighbor had them so I was able to borrow the jacks for the heavy lifting of the coop.

Jacks holding the coop up while we rebuild the front right column.

New foundation.

Like all major projects, it took twice as long as it should have, but the finished result is very, very stable. We could not get the coop perfectly level or square because the decade of falling downhill had changed the entire frame. In fact, once the new foundation was in place, we had to rehang the door latch because the whole coop had moved so much. We also added a roost underneath the coop so the ladies can hang out someplace dry on rainy or snowy days. We filled in the base with sand, so they can bathe when the rest of the ground is covered in snow. In short, it's chicken heaven.

Elevated coops are wonderful in the north. The chickens always have a nice place to hang out, regardless of the weather.

Once the pasture clear and logging is complete, we will reseed the grass at the base of the coop and plant some nice chicken-proof shrubs. I am glad to get this particular project out of the way, and glad that our lovely ladies have a safe place to live once again.


dp said...

That is SUPER nice!

Funder said...

Yeah, well done! Nice chicken-friendly touches, too.

JeniQ said...

wow !!!! Very big project so glad you saved that nice building

AareneX said...

Not gonna show this to my chickens. They would be too jealous.

Marie said...

A chicken palace indeed! Nice work.

Lytle said...

I found your blog today and I have basically read prob 3/4 of it. I really enjoyed reading your posts, they are very useful. I plan to do exactly what you are doing, I was scared that 5.6 acres would not be enough for a small farm and want around 30 acres but it seems that 5 acres would be perfect, and enough work. HAHA
Why have you stopped posting?