Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chicken Coop Project - Part III

If you have no idea where this started, check out the first post, Chicken Coop Project - Part I. This week (Day 3, just 1 week after our last work day) will complete the actual building of the coop! See, there became a little bit of a rush because my egg / chicken lady friend was suddenly needing to re-home some of the members of her over-sized flock. I was itching to do the roof, but...

Brent was already building fence panels when I got outside. He had these 1½ inch square posts he was saving to use on his porch, but they had just been sitting in a rotting pile of wood. We also used a 2 x 6 (from my fence panels), split down the middle, to make the top and bottom. I had picked up several 10' sections of wire fencing (for free!) from a guy outside of town when he had to downsize from his 200+ flock. Elmo had also found a random roll of new fencing in the woods while geocaching! (The roll turned out to be over 20' long!)

Based on the length of the used sections, we made the fence panels 2 inches shy of 10 feet. One post was used at an angle to brace the panels so they would stay square. We made 4 panels and stapled the fencing onto them. These will be mobile, so we'll have the option to change the chicken run around a bit.

We had some random sized sections, too. Brent stapled fencing onto the front of the coop and under the nest. We only closed off 2 sides. I picked up 2 pieces of cheap sheet metal to use for the roof, total cost $20 from a local building supply (that has used and new materials). He used 2 boards from our scrap pile, nailed inside the coop, to support and attach the roof.

We set one panel right behind the nesting box. It connected (in an L) to another fence panel, which we wired to the fence post already in place. The placement was perfect for strong support, despite the old fence being in major disrepair. There's my li'l chickadee, testing out the half-done chicken run.

I didn't get pictures of the roosting bars yet, but we wound up using those same 1½ inch posts from Brent's pile. We used scraps of them to make a U shape on the wall. The roost bars (one high across the back, one low from front to back) slide down into the U support shapes. This makes the bars easy to remove for cleaning or in case I need to get into the coop. I had planned to use branches, but didn't have one the right length to go across the back.

We wired a fence panel to the existing chain link fence. The girls we're getting have been free ranging in a yard with a similar chain link fence. The other panel connects to the coop and overlaps for a handy gate into the run. To make it stay put better, we simply screwed another post scrap next to the panel on the coop. This was very helpful since this panel gets swung in and out so often.

We also installed a new security hasp to lock the coop door closed. I wish I could have found a used one, to match the hinges we used. The hasp cost $3 at the same place as the sheet metal. Brent threw together a temporary cover for the chickens' door (using fence planks) that I'll use a rock to hold down overnight. The nest cover is made with scrap sheet metal from the roof. It isn't completed with hinges yet, we're watching for the right scrap to support it. I just hold it down with rocks for now and its tucked under the fence planks so its still safe from rain.

After this last five hours of work (and less than $60 in supplies), the coop and run are usable! I talked to my connection and... hens would be delivered the next morning!! She also planned to bring enough pine shavings for our coop plus a little feed and scratch. I'm sure I'll write another post about welcoming our girls!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mamatography 2014 - Week 42

Day 285 - Sunday - October 12

Final work day on the chicken coop.
Lovely fire burning some of the extra scraps.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chicken Coop Project - Part II

If you have no idea where this started, check out last week's post, Chicken Coop Project - Part I.

We hosted a couple of birthday parties and were generally busy, so we didn't have Day 2 on the coop until almost a month later (October 5th). During that time, I also gathered some more free supplies:

My neighbor/helper, Brent, gave me the idea. Fence panels are much easier to dismantle than pallets! My little brother brought over a truckload and dumped it between our houses.

I actually enjoyed pulling these apart!

There was enough wood to do the chicken coop, a small project for the neighbor, a play house and maybe even a small fence for us! Let's not get off point, though... chicken coop...

I purchased a pre-cut piece of vinyl flooring for about $25-30 at Lowe's. We just cut a chunk off the end of the roll, laid it down on the floor, and tucked under or folded up where appropriate. Since we decided to put walls on the inside, we weren't worried about gluing the floor down. The flooring will make for much easier clean up of the coop.

I actually got to do some of the construction on Day 2!

Its coming along! The nesting box was covered in tar paper left over from another job (to keep the touching wood from rotting). Fence panel pieces all over the inside and outside of the coop, except the inside of the nesting box.

Brent built a cute matching door (with more fence panel pieces) and framed in the entry (with scrap from a job). I stapled the flooring around underneath. We made the ramp out of an old waterbed sideboard that was in the yard when we moved in and chunks of branches trimmed around the yard. The branches are just stapled onto the board, which is screwed into the doorway. (It was later moved down a bit to make it easier for the chickens to use.)

I got it covered for upcoming rain using those same trusty fence planks. Once again, we put about five hours of work into the coop. Isn't that door the cutest?!

Stay tuned for Part III! Its nearly finished!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mamatography 2014 - Week 41

Day 278 - Sunday - October 5

After almost a month, we had another work day on the chicken coop!
This pic is just a sneak preview. Come back Friday to see!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chicken Coop Project - Part I

So I got interested in keeping chickens. I did a LOT of reading. I studied and then I drew up my very own plans for what I wanted! I also collected some pallets. Every time I read a site where someone used re-purposed materials, they had something from a spouse's job or some other personal connection. My coop is no different, but I hope what you take from this is that there are materials in your area that can be gathered and re-purposed for minimal (if any) expense. As I gathered my materials, my husband worried what a hunk of junk I was going to erect in our back yard. I promised him it wouldn't be junky...

Without further ado, Day 1 (September 7th):

My neighbor is a contractor. He had this long pallet (for holding siding) laying around. He also had scraps of 4x4 long enough for what I wanted: elevate coop 3' off the ground.

We wanted to keep the coop small enough that we could roof it as easily as we did the floor in it. So he cut it down to about 7½' long. My friendly neighbor also bought the floor piece of OSB, which cost about $8 (but was free to me).

Floor is attached, hole in floor cut for door. Sasha provides our first chicken test... she likes it!

Walls going up with a slope for the roof. Its starting to look like something!

Brent built out a nesting box on one end. I had not even dared to dream of a nesting box because I felt too clueless to figure out how to build one!

This is what our coop looked like at the end of the day; five hours of work.
Sasha was very excited with the progress and can't wait to share it with chickens!

That lovely neighbor? He recognized that with no experience and no tools... I was going to be at it for a very long time! He is a good guy, so he volunteered to help me with the project. I think I'd be lost on this thing without him! He actually did all the work on Day 1. I got to hold some boards steady, that's it.

Stay tuned for Part II!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Updated Review: Making Mama’s Milk Lactation Cookies - GF!

Back in May 2012, I wrote a review of Making Mama's Milk and More lactation Cookies for a joint giveaway with Natural Parents Network. At that time, I was having to give Spencer donor milk because I couldn't keep up with his demand. Oatmeal had been enough to help with Sasha and before that I had never had a problem. Nothing was working with Spencer... until this. Following the instructions and drinking water with my cookie(s), I immediately saw improvement! I never supplemented Spencer's breastmilk again. I have since recommended them to any and all that have had a supply issue.

Then Spencer was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I realized that I'd have to stop eating my amazing cookies. It may be noteworthy to mention, too, that I had the hardest time only eating 1-2 cookies per day. They're good, people! Anyway, I had to stop eating them. I started donating my sleeves of cookies to local struggling mothers. Then I mentioned the gluten thing (Celiac Disease) to the mom behind MMM&M. She informed me she had added GF cookies! I was shocked! Elated! Why hadn't I thought to ask?! Please send me some of those!

She just got new labels, so this is low tech right here.

As I mentioned, I've always enjoyed these cookies. They're good quality and they taste good! However, I have been gluten free for over 6 months and I know the reality - Gluten Free is just never quite as good. Imagine my surprise when my Gluten Free cookies arrived and... they were somehow even better than the original cookies! I could hardly believe it!

I feel a little bad for local moms that will no longer receive my sleeves of cookies, but I'm very happy to have my cookies back, too! I believe in and use this product! I believe in the company, too. Before giving up, please try these cookies. They are so worth your time! Please check out her site for more information. Like the Facebook page to catch her giveaways!

Disclosure: I did not receive any free samples for review purposes.
I already have a subscription for monthly cookie delivery.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find relevant and useful
to your life as a natural parent. If I don't like a product, I won't be
recommending it to you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mamatography 2014 - Week 39

Day 264 - Sunday - September 21

These 2 love to roughhouse these days.
I both love it and hate it.

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