Sunday, November 2, 2014

the chicken manor

Almost two years ago (Ethan was just a baby) Nathan and Tia dreamed up what we call the Chicken Manor. After loosing a few chickens to hawks and animals Tia wanted the ultimate fortress for her chickens along with  drought resistant key hole gardens. A few days before we moved Nathan put on the final touch and finished the chicken coop. I think there is still some scraps and mess that need to be cleaned up and out of the coop (sorry Tia). Anyways, here is a few pictures of the progression of the coop.

Digging the holes for the posts.

The posts are up and cemented in. This process took a lot longer then expected because of uncooperative weather.

Caleb and Ethan both LOVED being at the chicken coop and "helping" out. They also loved and miss the endless supply of candy at Tia's house.

The roof goes up!

Now that the roof is up there is some shelter from the scorching sun and the actual chicken coop gets started.

After most of the coop was finished Nathan started on the key hole gardens. The layout works like this, the coop is in the middle and there are two key hole gardens and planter boxes on each side of the chicken coop. There are two growing seasons in Corpus so you alternate planting. The first season the chickens will roam one side of the gardens, eat bugs, fertilize and live while on the other side Tia will plant lots of veggies. The next planting season you move the chickens to the other side (where you previously planted) and plant where the chickens were living. 

These round stones are the key hole gardens. They are large gardens that originated in Africa. You build them up with stones about 3 feet high. Then you fill the inside alternating with layers of dirt and cardboard leaving about 6-8 inches of dirt at the top. You also fill the entire thing with water as you are building it. 

We start painting the coop. Just for timeline purposes I started painting this while I was about 7 months pregnant with Molly.

After the planter boxes and key hole gardens are built everything gets screened in. Nathan (with help from some others) trenched about 3 feet deep all the way around the coop. He then filled the trenches with heavy duty plastic so animals couldn't get int. After that wire screens were connected to the plastic and those go up about 3-4 feet. Nathan then used bird netting to completely screen in the remaining open area. It was a major project.

The boys loved using the spare wood as tracks for their hot wheels cars.

A front porch was built from pallets. Those doors open up to the nesting boxes at the bottom to retrieve the eggs and then the shelves above are for storage.

Inside the coop there is an automated water feeder, feeder and solar powered doors.

Pipe had to be run from the house all the way out to the coop so the chickens could have water and there would be hoses to water the gardens.

Putting on the final touch, a weathervane.


The boys loved watching the chickens and it was so much fun watching them in their new home.

This was a little bit of a crazy project. Way more time, effort and money then I think anyone suspected it would take but we are grateful for the opportunity and all of the wonderful people who helped out to make it happen. We are so excited for Tia to have chickens again and hope it holds up and is a wonderful home to her little ladies.

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