Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Making of the Coop

The Making of the Coop

Wood, Screws, Glue and a Saw

19 April 2011

The coop is built. It even contains three (3) chickens. Well, they aren't exactly chickens in the sense that they're still peeps (they still make the "peep peep" sound) but they are of the chicken variety, despite what seems to me to be three very distinct and rather fun personalities. I never knew chickens could have such fun personalities! I grew up on a farm and we had plenty of chickens but I suppose I didn't pay much attention to the nuances that were part of my flock back then. But yes, they are finally in the coop. Currently, I have them locked in the actual coop itself (to be sure, there is a different part of the overall structure called the run and it is not accessible to them presently). I'm told they need to be in lock-down for a while so they know that the coop is there safe, new home.

So I have contemplated the completion of the coop and I'm not yet ready to show the entire thing… yet. It still needs some sealing and paint to protect it from our highland sun and rain-- I don't need wet peeps (plus the smell would be horrible). Plus, there are things that have yet to be finely tuned-- like the egg door and the ventilation door. When making the egg door, I wanted the option to open it to retrieve the eggs but I also wanted the option to leave it open to improve air-flow, or conversely, to close it completely so that during the colder months, I could offer some extra protection from the cold and wind. I've re-used and re-purposed all the wood for this coop and so I used wood from some shelves I made for the house to make the doors-- big mistake. The wood was weak in the sense that it split easily when screwed or drilled into when the pieces were of a smaller size. After three very frustrating attempted to attach the hardware cloth to the frame, I turned to the glue-- Gorilla glue.

Gorilla glue is strange. It looks like maple syrup and has a slightly thicker consistency of the same. It's really easy to apply a bunch of it to your project and while it cures, it bubbles, filling gaps and solidifying and making a holy mess-- so a little goes a long way! It is also supposed to be extremely strong-- hence the menacing Gorilla on the label. I know real gorillas are big and strong but I doubt they could do as good a job on my door than glue can so the metaphor doesn't go far. Thankfully, and despite my lack of tools, I did have clamps on hand and it was easy to clamp everything together while the gorilla juice did it's thing. This longer and slightly irritating method of fashioning the doors, though, created a delay, meaning the coop is not yet finished if for no other reason than the doors being glued together.

As mentioned before, the coop was built using left-overs from the house when it was built 36 years ago. Having now built a coop out of this stuff I can say with a fair bit of surety that our house is heavy as hell-- and it is no wonder to me now that house does not even budge when the winds are fierce. Tongue-in-groove construction, I'm now convinced, is unbelievably strong. But yes, it is heavy as hell, too. I built the coop with it in mind that I'd like to keep it moveable. Not moveable in the sense that the wind could relocate it, but in the sense that my wife and I could move it. I now know this is unlikely. And I'm not entirely sure how it will be moved from our garage even now, with the exception of maybe enlisting the help of more people. It isn't immovable, but it will require a slight change on the idea of what portable means.

Finishing the coop enough to safely house the peeps, though, was very important. Feathers, legs, wings, bodies-- all were growing at an amazing rate and the brooder (a large recycling bin) wasn't cutting it. These peeps were escaping and creating one helluvah mess for me and my family-- not to mention the dust that comes off them from the feathers growing. So though I'm not ready to say the coop is complete, yet, here is a teaser…

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