Chickens!

For those of you who don’t follow my boring daily life personal blog, one of the big things this spring/summer is that we got chickens! We designed and built our own chicken coop after perusing lots of examples online, special-ordered some vaccinated chicks from a local feed store (an Australorp, Rhode Island Red, and Black Sex Link), and jumped feet-first into the world of urban chicken owners.

Here’s the link to my chicken flickr set, but I’m posting some of the better photos below…

My original sketch:

The framed coop, below. Not all the walls were quite square, but you can’t really tell in the photo how much frustration was involved in trying to get them kind of square.

The framed pen, which juts out at an angle away from the house wall because of some uneven ground next to the house. We didn’t think about how this might cause problems when it came to putting on the roofing material…

First day with the chicks! We named them Mrs. Jones (top black), Ela (“Egg Laying Animal, bottom black with white patch), and Tamale (brown).

The completed coop and run, after much sweat, tense moments, and bruised fingers (but no blood):

Our two-month old chickens enjoying their “range”:

After many months, I finally sat down to tally up our Very Expensive Chicken Coop. I can’t find the receipts for the 5 gallon and 1 qt of paint, but I don’t care too much about that because we barely used up any of the paint!

28 2x4s $77.04
9 discount 2x4s $4.99
2 siding panels $40.11
2 1x4s $7.70
4 1×3 trim $13.60
3 OSB $20.80
fiberglass roofing material $96.33
poultry netting $15.59
nails $36.90
screws $9.07
corner braces $6.05
wire staples $3.24
hinge hasp $3.69
t-hinge $8.68
t-hinge $8.68
hinges $16.29
hinges $15.20
sliding bolt $5.75
door pull $3.03
door pull $3.03
gate hook/eye $1.62
gate latch $7.06
gate latch $5.75
paint – red and white ?
painter tape $4.34
Chicken Coop Costs
$414.56
thermometer $3.58
heat lamp $12.95
heat lamp bulb $7.53
shavings $6.34
poultry feeder $3.79
chick waterer $3.24
chick waterer base $3.24
chick starter feed $15.39
chicks $9.59
Chicken Starter Costs
$65.66
Total Cost $480.21

Whew! That’s a lot. We went $180.21 over my original $300 budget. This wasn’t exactly an exercise in thriftiness — we didn’t scrounge for material, didn’t have much on-hand to use other than a couple 2×4’s in our garage, and didn’t shop around. It was more of a training exercise for Steve (he practiced his newly learned framing skills) and a marriage-building exercise for both of us (working on communication and patience). Plus I learned how to use a Skilsaw and other fun power tools.

Let’s set the price of free range eggs at $5/dozen, which means (if my math is correct) we’ll “break even” after we get 1152 eggs from our chickens. (Well — probably more in the 1300 range, because every bag of feed is another 28 eggs or so.) Let’s hope our chicken-keeping experience is more long-term than short-term!

3 thoughts on “Chickens!

  1. I find it quite funny that the chicks were only $9.59 of $480! It is a great coop, though, and I think your chickens are very safe in it!

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