Chickens in Alaska have it tough. Not only does it drop well below zero degrees every winter, but they are also on the bottom of the food chain for black bears, fox, grizzly bears, ermine, eagles, hawks, coyotes, wolves, owls, and the good ol’ neighborhood dogs and cats. Our chicken coop is now on the level of Fort Knox. Come join me touring the chicken coop!
My parents’ house is on the side of the mountain at the end of a well used game trail. Chickens would have been “sitting ducks” at their house. So we’ve decided to go in on chickens together and keep them at the homestead. We get the chicks; Dad built the coop. It may or may not look just like a miniature of his garage/ wood shop…
As Dad grew up with chickens in Alaska, I’m thrilled with the design he came up with and loved that all I had to do was help move it from his house to ours and paint it. The coop is completely insulated and will have a light bulb in the winter, along with a heated water dish; with this, the chickens will be perfectly warm all winter. The inside is lined with vinyl, which makes for easy clean out. Five nesting boxes make sure there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Dad also added a built in feed bin.
Now for my favorite part. I’m not a bird person. Never have been. A sparrow got caught inside the greenhouse the other day (by way of an open window). Freaked me out badly enough that the hubby had to be the hero and guide the sparrow out the open door. “Aren’t we getting chickens?” was the hubby’s question, to which I explained chickens are different. I really have no clue, but am going to force myself to make it different. With that said…
For me to get my wonderful, delicious, fresh eggs every day, all I’ll have to do is go around the back of the coop and open up the door to the back of the nesting boxes. To refill the feed bin, there’s another little door on the back. No having to enter the chicken run or the coop to get what I need or feed the girls. My mom will occasionally be helping too, and this is her favorite feature too.
My uncle has and has had in the past chickens, turkeys, and other birds. He’s also had a black bear inside his chicken coop (he made the newspaper!) and a grizzly bear snooping around. On his suggesting, we’re using a chain link dog kennel for our chicken run. As much as I would love to have totally free-range chickens and let them run the yard, it’s just not safe or practical. The coop and run are inside our garden fence, so our girls are double fenced. Today we finished it off by laying chicken wire across the top of the kennel, to protect from the predators overhead. Like I said, Fort Knox.
I know the girls won’t be 100% safe. That’s pretty hard to do, but we’ve done our best. Our chicks are hatching this weekend and will be coming home with us and into the brooder box for several weeks. Once the feathers all show up, the coop will be occupied.
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