Le Maison d’Anvers

Finally, welcome to the coop!

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As some of you may already know, I enjoy a good pun using breed names. Hence the coop’s name. It translates to House of Antwerp.

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The double doors open up into a nice roomy coop.

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We painted the interior bright white. You may be wondering why anyone would paint a chicken coop white. That’s definitely a valid question, and sometimes I even ask myself that. The paint not only seals against moisture damage and extends the life of the coop, but the bright white shows any grime on the walls. Which sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not. When you can see the grime, you know it needs to be cleaned off instead of being missed and left to damage the walls. The paint also smooths the wood and makes it easier to sweep cobwebs out of the coop.

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We also installed a sheet of flooring to help protect the wood from wear as well as make cleanup easier. Most of the chicken’s droppings don’t stick to the flooring, so a quick sweep with a broom and it’s good as new. For grimier messes it can also easily be scrubbed down with soapy water.

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I didn’t necessarily plan on getting a fancy pattern, but who could really say no to this lovely woodgrain? It looks so fantastic peeking through the shavings as they get kicked around.

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On the right is the entrance to the nesting box.

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Or more accurately, the nesting room. Instead of building two divided boxes I built one extra long room for them to build their nests wherever they want. Hens generally like dark, private locations for laying their eggs, so the girls can pop over to the far side of the room and be completely enclosed.

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On the left is the door to the run and their ramp. We cut both doors a few inches above the floor to keep the amount of shavings being kicked out to a minimum.

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The entire coop is encased in 1/4-inch hardware cloth, making it 100% predator and rodent proof. Any opening larger than 1/4-inch is covered, right down to the ventilation holes at the top of the wall.

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Nothing is getting into this coop. Even the bottom of the run is closed with 1/4-inch hardware cloth over a base of wood slats. Going back I would have opted to set the coop down a base of stone pavers instead of wood slats, but I guess that’s for the next renovation. We then filled the bottom in with half a yard of washed construction sand.

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In addition to the hardware cloth everything is locked up. Regular latches should work against predators like coyotes, but raccoons can learn to open them. While we don’t generally get raccoons around our house, the best offense against predators and pests is a good defense and I opted to not take any chances.

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Their food and water is tucked in under the sheltered area beneath the coop. Instead of a regular chicken feeder and waterer I chose ones designed for piglets. They can be pushed up against the far wall so they take up less floor space.

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This is a feature we added at the last second, but it’s definitely one of my favourite things. On the outside is a tiny little door.

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And when opened, it leads directly to their dining area. Cleaning and refilling their food and water is an absolute breeze now.

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We also created this optional screen using the old 3/4-inch wire. Now even when the chickens are upstairs I can see what they’re doing, and at night I get to watch them march up to bed and jostle together for the best spot on the roost. I really like it, so there’s a good chance I’ll update it with 1/4-inch this summer.

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I heart my coop, and I think the chickens heart it too.

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