Monday, July 25, 2011

The Evolution of a Hen House

Almost 2 weeks ago now Shelby, Sherwin and I were on Skype late one night.  We were picking Shelby's brain for the ideal present to give Kim for her upcoming 40th birthday.  We wanted it special so we tossed ideas back and forth for a while until Shelby said, You know what she would really, really like?  A chicken coop!

We three all did some research and we came to the conclusion that we could build it...nothing to it, right?  We set aside a couple days last week for the project and away we went.

Notice the equipment and tools in the back of the truck.  While we waited for the ferry in Seattle I caught Sherwin making sure his tools were riding safely.  Notice the 2x6 board he planted from side to side to hold the gear in order for the trip.  Ingenious...

The first order of business was clearing the spot where the hen house would stand.  An area in the upper corner of the vegetable garden was chosen and Kim got out there and clipped away like mad removing large amounts of greenery.  On the left hand of this photo there had been a small coop/hutch that was old and not adequate that I had removed board by board.  Two posts stand there in the front that were needing a manly helping hand.

While Kim and I performed the clearing duties the fellows went shopping for more supplies and tools. And they came home triumphantly laden with necessary lumber and tools happily carrying lunch for all from the Subway shop.

Sherwin caught a snap of Kim and me removing one more load of clippings.  Kim had so much fun pruning that she looks at her whole yard now with new eyes and a pruner in her hands.

Of course, we had a great cheering squad who came around to bring us drinks and cheer and some light-hearted entertainment.

Now that Sherwin and Shelby had their tools and supplies in hand they went to work with a vengeance and started getting the place in order to build.  Levelling the land and digging holes for foundations were the first order of business.

Tah Dah!!  Here we have one of our Mayne Island left-over saddles on a concrete block being set in concrete.  It hardened over night and...

before breakfast the next morning Sherwin had some major work already done.

Kim and I went running errands for a couple hours and while we were away the fellows had to put up rain protection and started the wire installation.  Every aspect of this project was done with great thought and care.  If it wasn't Sherwin having a perfection moment it was Shelby but with good humour it began to take shape.

Notice the ends of the 2x6 headers...even they were shaped to match the arbor where the grape vines grew.  This place was going to be lovely and completely free of all predators.  More than once I heard either Sherwin or Shelby say that those *^%$& chickens better really appreciate their deluxe environment.

While the rest of us worked on finishing the mesh screening Sherwin started on the house itself laying in the floor joists.

The walls and rafters were barely up when one of our resident 'chicks' had to try out the place...

By the end of day 2 the house was ready for finishing.  

Sherwin had hung the door on day 2 but on day 3 Shelby took it upon himself to finish the door with screening.  Isn't it gorgeous?!

Next the plywood sheeting went on all around the house.  Those chickens are going to have a lovely spot to supply our kids with eggs.

Sunday morning Sherwin and Shelby took off for Home Depot with a final list of supplies necessary to the completion of the project. 

When they returned Shelby went at the roofing as soon as Sherwin and I completed the facia and soffits and sheeting.

Our little 'chicks' had to try out the inside of the house as soon as Grandpa got the pretty floor down.

By the end of Sunday we had the roofing, siding done and vents in the side walls to complete the house.

Notice the hinged hatch at the back of the house where the nesting boxes will sit for the lady egg producers.  We are expecting great omelettes from these girls.

It was getting dark as the front wall was being completed.  The piece de resistance was the double-duty window Sherwin is installing.  He put hinges on the top of the window so it can lift up for ease of clean out.  Then he put siding on all sides to hide that fact and make it look like a regular window.  If you look closely you will see the hinges on the top of the window.  He did an extraordinary job on it and we all rejoiced as he came to the end...and it worked!!!

To the right is the little chicken door where the ladies will enter to go to their nests.  The door is also hinged with a lock/handle to hold it open during the day when they are out and about.  He also set up a ramp for the hens to walk up to get 'home'.  

It was getting so dark by this time that no more photos were taken but Kim has promised to update us with final shots when the chickens take possession of the house.  They may even have a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Next morning (today, Monday) Sherwin and I were on the road by 4:18 and at the border by 8 a.m. so we could catch the 10:20 ferry to home.  All in all it was a great week.  We had a lot of fun and laughter, good food and good companionship.  

Wishing you all a lovely week...God bless and be well.


  1. Wow. The Chicken Taj Mahal is the eighth wonder of the world. Or maybe it's more like the Colossus of Rhode Island Red.. What a week -- much fun!

  2. Now that is what I call a hen "House" ! Those chickens should be laying golden eggs!!