Friday, May 2, 2014

Chicken Coop Finished + Spring Asparagus

Chickity Chick Coop
From the front: coopity coop.

Precoce d'Argenteil asparagus.  French heirloom variety.  Yum.  

The chicken coop is done.  Thank goodness.  The chicks are no longer little babes, they are big ol babes ready to move on out of the basement.  They will be 7 weeks on Monday.  So, their planned migration outside is tomorrow morning.  The weather shouldn't be bad and the night low will be in the 40's.  I want the coop to be largely open air in the summer, but I've added heavy duty plastic sheeting onto the front to block wind while they are little and its still chilly.  Not the most attractive but, hey, it works, I hope.  I admit, it was a case of "They need to go outside, NOW!  What can I cover the front with to block wind?  Plastic!  Let's do it!"  The good thing is the hardware cloth really supports the plastic so hopefully their will be no ripping in the wind.  Once that comes off, I will be working out how to make the front flexible as either opened or closed, perhaps with polycarbonate or plexi that could be attached or removed as windows/windblock.  

If I had had more leisure time recently, I would have been marching all 26 chicks outside into a chicken tractor or pen so they could get used to outside but, time has been short.  This will be their first time out of doors.  

The coop plan is modified from plans.  Coop bits:

- Coop is on a hillside.  Cinderblock piers of different heights make it level.
- Hardware cloth completely covers it in addition to a 2' apron all the way around for digging predators.  If the electric fence fails or we take it down for winter, the coop is still predator proof.  
- 6' x 20' heavy duty vinyl tarp with brass grommets composes 3 of the walls.  The idea is I can open it a bit to increase ventilation when its really hot in summer.  It took me quite awhile to find such an odd size of tarp but I found one at  I'm happy with the quality and it was made in the U.S.  We may add extra insulation measures in winter.  
- Bottom of coop is soil.  Their is no floor.  The plan is deep litter over the poops.
- Roof is fiberglass corrugated panels that transmit light but not enough to make it extra hot in there. 
- Jason pretty much built this single handedly with some extremely helpful and intense workdays from our friend Jeff.  Thanks Jeff!! 

I'm sure we will realize problems and have to come up with solutions in this plan, but that is half the fun.  I hope they like their new home!

 In other news, we have been picking asparagus at Garden Dreams for a few weeks.  We have 3 varieties: Precoce d'Argenteuil (delicious), Purple Passion (sweet), and Jersey Supreme (productive).  

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