Last summer we made the venture into the chicken world. We spent a month building our first chicken coop. I found a picture online I loved, we added our own touches and had built my very first, very own chicken coop! Our coop was on wagon wheels, so every couple of days we would move it across the yard, and then back again to allow our chickens access to fresh, clean grass. While this worked great for us last summer, this summer we decided to switch things up a bit.

We  have since built our second coop and are up to a total of 22 chickens between the two coops. Moving two coops around the yard seemed a little out of the question, and I wanted to give my feathered friends a little more room to roam. I ran the idea of a chicken enclosure past Dan, and a month ago we got started!

20160513_155628We started by using sucker rods which Dan got through his work, cutting them to 12 foot lengths and pounding them into the ground so they stood 8 feet tall. With a coop on each end, we made a rectangular area of  30 x 50 feet with the rods and then used stucco wire to close it off. The stucco wire was stuck down into the ground several inches to help deter predators, but thank goodness for our guard dogs, this never really seems to be a problem. Along the top of the rods we made a frame from 2×4 boards, which sit in holes on top of the rods to help stabilize the walls of the enclosure. We then purchased netting and strung it over the framing and top of the enclosure. Thank goodness we had a few extra hands as the netting liked to catch on everything! We attached in down the sides to the stucco wire and used zip ties to hold it all together. Voila! We had our chicken enclosure!IMG_20160507_173817.jpg

Inside the enclosure, we built what we refer to as the “chicken gazebo”, a 6×6 covered area where we put my nicely decorated tires for dust and sand baths. This will also be where we attach the outside feeders and waterers for the chickens. We also built a 10 ft tall perch out of a tree for the chickens to roost on inside the enclosure. It has turned into a real chicken playground!

The past two days have been so exciting as we have finally been able to let them out of the coop to explore! Albert of course, being the man of the coop, took the first steps outside onto the grass. It wasn’t long before his ladies followed. They found a corner of dirt and got down to business digging and rolling around.  My heart was so happy watching them all interact outside on the grass.

While we haven’t let out our Spring chicks yet, they need to be a little bigger, they seem to be curious about the big chickens wandering around past their coop. Pierce even tried to let out a crow, which in comparison to Albert, was a little pathetic but absolutely adorable. I can’t wait to see everyone out and about exploring!

I think I’ve also found my new reading spot for the summer!