There is a major twist to this story!!
Here we are, first time chicken owners, and we are literally winging 90% of it! In January of this year, we decided to take the plunge and get chickens for the very first time. Being new to the game, we decided to tag along with our friend and add to her order. Check our,First Time Chicken Owner, blog to get the story!
Once we purchased our chickens, I knew we had some time to buy/build a coop. I did some research and decided to buy a certain coop at tractor supply. I was so excited because it was on sale!! Originally it was over $200 but I got it for $150! I was super excited to snag a good deal like that!
I went up to Tractor Supply to actually make the transaction, and then I was going to put the coop in the car. I get there and my coop is the last one! Gosh was I excited or what!! The first wrench in the plan, the coop didn’t fit in the car, OOPS! Luckily our amazing friend Crawford, who is Sarah’s boyfriend, was able to help me in a pinch with his truck. PHEW crisis averted.
After he got off work, I met him up at tractor supply, we throw the coop in his truck and get it back to the house. Luckily he mentioned a major pro tip: set the coop up where you plan to leave it!
Later that evening Kevin informs me that Farmer Erica, with Hayfield Farm, is willing to sell us their old coop for $125, and its bigger! Well initially I was a little deflated because I was so excited to have a brand new coop! However, after thinking about it, I decided it made WAY more sense to buy her coop because it’s cheaper, bigger, already set up, and they were going to deliver it! I would have been foolish to turn that down.
Now I had to figure out how to return this coop that we had purchased. Luckily with the help of a trailer, we were able to return our first coop within the “30 day return” window. We got to back to the store on the 28th day!
In talking to Farmer Erica, there wasn’t a rush to get the coop. We had the chicks in the brooder in the basement, and it wasn’t like they were going in the coop anytime soon. So after some back and forth, we finally decided on Friday March 22. Which was perfect because meanwhile I was being super sneaky, and secretly order 2 polish chickens as a surprise for Kevin!! (Erica placed an order for a bunch of chickens and I just added 2 onto her order.)
The reason Friday was going to be perfect, was because I was going to get my 2 baby polish chickens in addition to the coop. That way, I could put my original 7 chickens in the coop outside, and the 2 new baby chicks in my brooder.
Of course Thursday and Friday, there was wicked rain so the ground was SOAKED and they couldn’t get their truck to the coop. Which was no problem, we just pushed it to Sunday. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!!
Late Sunday morning, Erica gets the coop loaded up and they’re in route and then the unthinkable happens.
THE CHICKEN COOP FLEW OFF THE BACK OF THE TRUCK!
Yupp. That’s right. The chicken coop flew off the back of the truck and into a ditch on the side of the road!!
Before we found out, we ran out to grab lunch, and luckily Murphy fell asleep in the car. We get back to the house, and I immediately start tending to the baby polish chicks. Meanwhile Erica had texted me but my hands were gross. She then started calling me, Kevin answered on speaker and we heard her spill the news.
My mind instantly starting going in a million different directions! How on earth were we supposed to get a coop, set it up, and wrangle a toddler all before bedtime?!
So first, we decided to make good use of our time and we made a quick trip to the dump! We recently replaced our toilets with brand new ones! So we threw the old trash toilets on the trailer and set off.
While on the way to the dump, Kevin instantly started googling coops, prices, and locations. At this point it was about 12:30/1pm. So we quickly ruled out Walmart, Rural King, and Southern Estate because they didn’t have ANY in stock, in our price range. Fortunately Tractor Supply had a bunch available.
After dropping toilets off at the dump we quickly start thinking of anyone who can watch Murphy! We called my dad (Murphy’s Papou), and see if he’s free to come play with Murphy. Luckily he was able to clear his schedule, and he and my brother Nick headed our way! The two of them were absolute LIFE SAVERS!! It couldn’t have worked out better.
We pulled up to Tractor Supply, and quickly looked through all of their available coops. They varied in prices, but the cheapest one available was $300. OUCH!! The good thing is it is very good quality and surprisingly sturdy! Buy the same coop here!
We purchased the coop and got it strapped to the trailer and quickly headed home. Once we get home we started up the lawn tractor so we could tow the coop to its destination in the backyard. Not too long after that, my dad and Nick arrive!
I cannot stress enough how much the two of them saved the day. There is no way we could have completed the coop while also trying to watch Murphy. Or we would have ended up just killing each other.
We quickly got to work because we needed to get our chicks into that coop so we could get our polish into the brooder!
It’s very surprising how simple it was to assemble the coop. The instructions were definitely better than IKEA instructions!! Its set up in two parts. The first part you assemble the coop. The second part you assemble the run. The third part, you attach the coop, the run and the roof.
Once we finished setting the whole thing up, Kevin and Nick did the “skirting” around the bottom of the coop. The skirting is added protection against digging predators such a raccoons. I understood that we were going to burry chicken wire (aka hardware cloth) around the edge of the coop. In my mind, the wire was going to go straight down into the earth. In reality, the wire was going to go down a few inches, and then go out away from the coop like a skirt. So we attached two by fours all around the bottom for stability and to better attach the wire.
When I was thinking of a skirt, I was thinking of a pencil skirt or a maxi skirt. I was not thinking of a skirt that flares out. Needless to say we were not on the same page, so I had to walk away. When I returned, he and Nick were basically finished with it! Once I could visualize what Kevin meant, it made wayyyy more sense.
There you go! We completed the coop, Murphy got to play with Papou and his Uncle Nick, Kevin and I didn’t kill each other, and we had hot pizza from our favorite pizza joint for dinner! It was a great Sunday! Added bonus, the weather was absolutely FANTASTIC.
We got our 7 chickens in the coop, the baby polish in the brooder, and Murphy put to bed all before 7:30pm!
As you can imagine I was so nervous having my birds in the coop OUTSIDE for the first time. I was so worried I’d wake up in the morning and a predator would have managed to murder my entire flock!
On the inside, you can close off the coop from the run. So at 9pm I went out into the yard with Zoey, and on the phone with my sister in law because I was scared I was going to get attacked by who knows what, to put my chickens to bed! I grabbed each one, and threw them up into the coop and shut the little door.
The next morning, Murphy and I went out there right at sunrise, 7:09am, and opened their door. I know I don’t have to do that, but it gives me peace of mind and helps me sleep at night.
Additionally, I’m really glad it played out how it did because having to build the coop, gave me a much better understanding of everything. I literally know the coop inside and out! Also it was a fun chaotic adventure!
EDIT TO ADD!!!
Checked the link to the coop, and now it’s on sale!! So I went to Tractor Supply and they refunded me the $100 difference!! WOAHOO!!!
Lesson learned, always check to see if something you’ve recently purchased is on sale. As long as its within the 30day return window theyll honor the price!!