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Fort Knox Chicken Coop

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Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby USMCWife2010 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:35 pm

So while the DH has been unemployed, he has spent his time improving our garden and livestock situation. Behold our Taj Mahal/Fort Knox coop!


WP_001933.jpg


View of the chicken yard and gate.


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Large rocks line the inside of the yard and will be covered in dirt. This will hopefully help prevent a subterranean attack on our brood. It will also keep our dumb chickens from scratching away their own earthwork protection.


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Two windows for ventilation and an opening to access the laying boxes, under the assumption that the next batch of chickens will be smart enough to use the boxes and not lay them wherever like our current ones do!


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Roof is papered and sealed with tar. May or may not consider that sufficient, depending on our funds. No leaking detected, though! Have an access door to muck out the crap.


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The unfinished inside. Just need some crossbars for roosting and leftover vinyl from the kitchen upgrade to make the mucking out easier.


Might not be the prettiest or straightest coop, but it's pretty darn good for cutting down and scavenging most of the materials!
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
-Edmund Burke

Fortune favors the well-prepared.


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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby zazzu » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:40 pm

I'm sure your girls are going to love their new digs :)
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby mombear » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:42 pm

WOW, that looks very impressive, and I am impressed!!! congrats on the scavenging work. Looks like, its well build and nothing will get in or out.
Your failure to prepare, does not make it an emergency for me!!
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby USMCWife2010 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:50 pm

Thanks, y'all! Unfortunately, the greatest threat to the safety of our chickens is this little girl:

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Our Aussie hasn't yet learned her lesson about messing with chickens.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
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Fortune favors the well-prepared.


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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby oldasrocks » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:22 pm

I used a fiberglass satellite dish above a circle of a horse panel to create an outside run for the chickens.
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby anita » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:08 pm

Sadly, I can tell you that the rocks won't prevent digging of rodents. I have found that rats would dig under about 3 feet to get into the chicken run. I have cement block (solid) that are about 8"wide and 3" high under the wood around the run. I also had about a foot of chicken wire around the outside of the coop (laid horizontally). Neither stopped the rats. (The rats went right through the chicken wire.) They also started on the far side of a rain barrel, which was next to the run, and went under it, about two feet, and came up a good foot into the run. They will also climb fencing.

To prevent them, I have now dug about a foot deep around the run and coop (which is beside my garden, which they also got into) and put hardware cloth vertically in the hole.

I am also going to put 3' of hardware cloth horizontally around the run, garden and coop. It will at least get up to the coop, and I may even take it a bit up the sides of the run, although I already have hardware cloth around that (the fence openings are already 1/2" x 1".

When we were building our run, someone told me he dug down about a foot and put broken glass and wire in there to keep out digging animals. I thought that was overkill at the time. Now I don't.

Hardware cloth seems like it is what you need to keep them out. Chicken wire and larger size holes in the fencing won't.

I am not looking forward to it, but I am probably going to muck out our run this spring and put down hardware cloth, then put in some dirt, sand, and pine bark mulch, or something along those lines to cover it. That sounds like fun. Not.
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby ForwardPreppers » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:40 pm

Nice digs. They will love it.
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby Shebow » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:22 pm

Love the coop! Monique and Unique ( my hens) would be envious. Their digs are much smaller.
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby USMCWife2010 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:29 pm

anita wrote:Sadly, I can tell you that the rocks won't prevent digging of rodents. I have found that rats would dig under about 3 feet to get into the chicken run. I have cement block (solid) that are about 8"wide and 3" high under the wood around the run. I also had about a foot of chicken wire around the outside of the coop (laid horizontally). Neither stopped the rats. (The rats went right through the chicken wire.) They also started on the far side of a rain barrel, which was next to the run, and went under it, about two feet, and came up a good foot into the run. They will also climb fencing.



That is impressive and disheartening at the same time! I've not seen any rats in our area - we've had a few fox attacks, one of which was successful. Thanks for the tips, as we still have time to add the hardware cloth before the chicks come in Feb/March.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
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Fortune favors the well-prepared.


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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby anita » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:56 pm

It s much easier to prevent than stop. This spring, I get to dig out my chicken run and put down hardware cloth underneath, as well as try to tilt the coop to slide some under it. Should be interesting.
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby FussyOldHen » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:18 pm

Keep in mind that even galvanized hardware cloth will rust out eventually. Keep an eye on it.

If the dog keeps away the other predators, and you're just wanting to keep the dog out, you can lay down fencing wire on the ground around the pen to prevent digging like the drawing a bit down on this page http://mountainlion.org/portalprotectfences.asp and here http://www.louispage.com/blog/bid/8511/Versatile-Apron-Fence-17-gauge-1-1-2-hexagonal-woven-wire-mesh Just attach it to the very bottom of the vertical wire and let it lay on the ground. Be sure to extend it past the corners so it overlaps, don't leave a gap there.
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby terrapin » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:15 pm


A simple and inexpensive solution.

A hotwire about 1 foot outside and about 4 inches off the ground will stop most varmints
including poochie.
If that don't get the job done, add another wire about 6 inches above the first one.

Works for me.
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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby USMCWife2010 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:08 pm

Well our Fort Knox had a deadly break in. I came home from work yesterday to find two dead chickens, one of which was being pecked at by the other chickens (YUCK!). They'd eaten enough of it that I could even see the egg still inside. I would've felt a little weird keeping the egg, so I pitched it - times aren't that tough... yet!

I'm guessing that between 3:45a when my husband left for work and daybreak, a raccoon or weasel climbed to the top of the enclosure and squeezed its way through a previously unnoticed hole between the wiring of the sides and the wiring of the top. We'd grown so confident in our enclosure that we'd stopped locking the chickens in the coop at night. Now that we've lost two, it's back to locking them up and time to tighten up security around the coop some more.

Of course "evil chicken" (she's a mean sum'bird!), which is out in the middle of the yard in solitary confinement (a dog run with no roof, no coop), wasn't touched. The mean ones always live longer!
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
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Fortune favors the well-prepared.


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Re: Fort Knox Chicken Coop

Postby oswegoscott » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:37 am

USMCWife2010 wrote:Well our Fort Knox had a deadly break in. I came home from work yesterday to find two dead chickens, one of which was being pecked at by the other chickens (YUCK!). They'd eaten enough of it that I could even see the egg still inside. I would've felt a little weird keeping the egg, so I pitched it - times aren't that tough... yet!

I'm guessing that between 3:45a when my husband left for work and daybreak, a raccoon or weasel climbed to the top of the enclosure and squeezed its way through a previously unnoticed hole between the wiring of the sides and the wiring of the top. We'd grown so confident in our enclosure that we'd stopped locking the chickens in the coop at night. Now that we've lost two, it's back to locking them up and time to tighten up security around the coop some more.

Of course "evil chicken" (she's a mean sum'bird!), which is out in the middle of the yard in solitary confinement (a dog run with no roof, no coop), wasn't touched. The mean ones always live longer!


Weasels only need an inch of space to get in. Watch out---it will return. Half inch hardware cloth is the only solution
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