As the snow begins to melt, my mind is turning towards…chickens. We raised 20 broilers last year, and have been enjoying eating home-grown poultry over the winter. But the boys and I really would like a few laying hens as well. We’d definitely use the eggs. Between bread crusts, veggie trimmings, and old leftovers, I think we’d have the most well-fed chickens around. Additionally, Ashlee has informed me that I may not raise the chicks in the crawlspace like I did the first few weeks of last summer. This means I’m in the market for a chicken coop.
Because our summers are so short and our winters are so long, I’m going to need to have electricity in the coop for heat lamps and keeping the water from freezing. I’m thinking of building a 8′ x 12′ coop, with 4’x8′ dedicated to the laying hens. The layers will not need much space, and the additional room I’ll use for storage and raising broiler chicks in the spring.
I learned how to use Google Sketchup over the weekend, and used it to create my framing plan. Pictures are below. The program took a little bit of effort to learn, but it’s a nice (and free) drafting software for these kind of projects.
There’s only one problem. This chicken mansion is going to cost me. Between framing, wiring, insulation, vapor barrier, etc., I’m guessing it’ll cost around $2,000 in materials. If I build it this summer, I’ll report on the final costs. These will be some very loved, expensive chickens.