Monday, April 27, 2015

The "Urban Feel" Chicken Coop

So I got Chickens a few weeks ago for my Birthday.  My dad helped me to build the Chicken Coop as his present for me.  He had just done a renovation on his house plus he works other construction jobs, so he rounded up all kinds of supplies to build my coop! It is not only functional but reclaimed materials so I can feel good about my chickens living in a re-purposed coop. 

We started out with the base.  We used 2X6's as the corner posts and a band of 2X4's so we can set the floor onto it.  We also added a band of 2X4's at the top too to set the roof onto but I don't have an explicit picture for that (although you can see it in the second picture). 

Getting Started!

We used 1/2in plywood for the floor, sides and roof.  We made three roof joists with an angle of 22.5 degrees at the peak. 

Taking Shape

Originally I wanted to build the nesting boxes out like most coops I've seen but since the square footage of our coop ended up so large (20 sq feet: 5ft wide and 4ft deep), we decided to build them on the inside.  We added a ply-wood roof so that the will not try to roost on top of the nesting boxes.  We made three of them each about 12 inches deep and 16 inches wide.  The dividers don't go all the way up because we didn't have a piece large enough but also when the chickens are bigger they will not be able to get on them.
Nesting boxes
We used a smaller board for the roost.  It is about 13 inches off of the floor.  I haven't seen the chickens use it yet so we might have to make a ladder for it.


The roost
All framed in and ready for the siding
My dad had left over closet cedar lining so we decided to make the coop look real classy with that as the siding. We started in the front and moved to the nesting box side.  We did the front door and the nesting box door separately but they match each of their sides.  We ended up running out of the cedar but Lowe's has some so we bought a few more packs!

Cedar-sided Chicken Coop

We covered the roof with extra ice and snow guard that my dad had from the roof on his house.  This protects the wood from ice creeping up from the edges.  Hopefully it will also keep the coop warmer in the Pittsburgh winters.  Then we shingled it with, you guessed it, extra shingles from his house.  We added the doors with black hinges and bolts.  I even added a little round knob to the nesting box door that I found in my dad's truck! We added two vents to either side of the coop, high enough so that the chickens don't get a breeze while sleeping.  They are just ac/heat vents from Lowe's.  The one is adjustable on the side of the coop that will get the most wind, so I'm hoping that will be a good feature for the winter.  We just fenced in the bottom of the coop with poultry wire.  We dug a trench about 10-12 inches down and laid the wire in there covered it with bricks then the soil on top.  This will hopefully deter any predators from getting in.

All read for Chickens!
The Chickens are in!
For the feeders, we used some extra PVC pipe lying around and strapped it to the corner.  We haven't designed any fancy water system yet but that will come! 

Eating food right away!

My dad calls it the "Urban Feel" coop because he doesn't know that urban means city haha.  I think he meant to say the rustic feel but my sister and I kept teasing him so it has become the "Urban Feel" Style Chicken Coop.

All finished with the run added and some of the chickens checking it out

Here is one extra picture with evidence that my dad was building!

Check back for updates and the addition of the run!

With His Love,

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Backyard Chickens: Oakmont Edition

I turned 25 a few days ago and all I wanted for my birthday were Chickens!!! So about a month ago, I told Sam that's all I wanted for my birthday.  We drove out to a Farm in Kittaning and there were loads of Chickens to choose from!! I ended up choosing some 4 week old pullets so that they will start laying eggs in about Mid-May.  There are four different breeds that lay 4 different colored eggs so that I will know who is laying!

When we brought them home, it was still too cold to be outside so we set them up in Layla's crate on our sunporch.  It's heated so they could be warm until the weather was not freezing to be outside.  They will be able to winter outside next year because they will be full grown. 

Layla is the best chicken guard!
From top going clockwise: Cuckoo Maran, Hamburg, Speckled Sussex and Easter Egger
Getting Bigger!

The Hamburg (black and white speckled) will lay white eggs, the Americana/Easter Egger (light brown) will lay green/blue/pink eggs (one of the three colors), the Speckled Sussex will lay (speckled brown) brown eggs, and the Cuckoo Maran (black with some white) will lay dark brown eggs.
Then I told my dad that all I wanted from him for my birthday was a Chicken Coop.  So over the past couple of weeks we built one!  I will post the tutorial because we basically built it for free from all of his scraps from his renovation.

Moved out to the Coop on Saturday

Exploring outside for the first time!

I will post the Coop Plan and updates once they start laying!  I'm so excited to have fresh and nutritious eggs so soon.  Plus the chickens can eat kitchen scraps and help me in the garden.

With His Love,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Crocheted Baby Blanket

One of the women at Church is pregnant and so we threw her a small baby shower after the Service on Palm Sunday.  I had been wanting to start a bigger crochet project so this was the perfect time!  I decided to make a baby blanket but also sew a piece of flannel cotton fabric on the back so that it would be warmer and softer. 

I hemmed the fabric so that it would have a nice finished edge
I pinned the fabric to the back of the blanket so that the sizes would match up when I sewed the two pieces together
The finished project!
I also made two pacifier clips

Baby Blanket Pattern

I Hook
Lion Brand Pound of Love in Bubblegum
piece of fabric as large as blanket

Step 1: Chain approximately 100.  Depending on the yarn and hook size that you use, I just chained an amount that would equal 38 inches (I bought by fabric before I made the blanket so I would recommend crocheting the size of blanket you want then buying the fabric to fit)

Step 2: Start at 2nd chain from hook and Single crochet the entire row, Chain 1 and turn

Step 3:  Double Crochet in 2nd chain, then Single Crochet in 3rd Chain.  Repeat alternating Double and Single crochets until the end of the row, chain 1 and turn

Step 4: Depending on the last stitch of the previous row, you will do the opposite.  For example if you ended the row on a double crochet, then the new row will start with a single crochet.  Just keep alternating double and single the entire row.  You will always double crochet in the previous row single crochet and the opposite for single crochet.  This creates a nice textured pattern.

Step 5: Continue alternating until your blanket is a square (or any size you want).  You can check to see if the blanket is a square by folding adjacent corners together.  If they fit together, then the blanket is a square.  If is it hard to get them to fold nicely, you need to make it larger.  You can also measure it!

Step 6: Finish the blanket with a row of single crochet. Then a row of single crochet the entire edges of the blanket to give a smooth foundation row to sew to. Weave in the ends

Step 7: Iron and Hem your fabric to a size that will fit the blanket.

Step 8: Pin the Blanket and the fabric together.

Step 9: Hand stitch.

Step 10: Admire your work and take plenty of pictures, then give your project away and enjoy the reaction of the recipient.

Notes: I used one whole skein of the Pound of Love and needed just a little bit more of another to finish a few rows and the edges.

Let me know if you try this pattern out, I would love to see pictures.  Look forward to more crochet projects!!

With His Love,