Thursday, 20 March 2014

The new coop

Some time ago, probably in Country Smallholding, I read about a new product called Ecosheet. Made of recycled plastic, it was marketed as being ideal for farmers to make pig arks, hen houses, and various other things out of.

The selling points were very good, including resistance to mites, and I searched for it locally without success. I could get it delivered, but we needed several sheets and the delivery cost made this prohibitive (unless we were prepared to buy a pallet lad of sheets)/

Eventually, it became available at a wood yard about 20 miles away, and we decided to go for it.

We spent quite long time designing the new coop.  One of my concerns was how long the wooden coops take to dry when I clean and poultry shield them. This new material is non absorbent, so I should be able to wipe dry.     We wanted plenty of nest boxes (3 each side), which needed to be accessible for egg collection from the outside.   Access from the back for easy cleaning was essential.  At the same time, a set of Cube wheels appeared on Ebay, and we bought those to use as a base, which meant the coop would be a reasonable height from the ground (making access for cleaning straightforward) and there would also be an area underneath for the chooks to shelter. 

DH used a CAD program to work out a cutting plan which then told us how many sheets we needed.  My DB2 collected the sheets for us in his van.

I'm not sure what I expected Ecosheet to be like, but whatever I expected, it wasn't what he unloaded from his van!

Still, it was here now, and so DH started work.

I was a little concerned when DH made the first cut.    I couldn't see how something like this could be mite resistant (and it wouldn't be possible to make a coop - or an arc - out of uncut pieces).
I contacted the company, and they said if I was concerened, we could just use a sealant over the cut sides.  That's what we did in the end.

Gradually the coop took shape. It also took over the kitchen for a while.

 The nestboxes are internal, which is why the floor area is so large.    We debated and debated whether to have a centre pop hole or a side pop hole.  In the end, as you can see, we went for a centre pop hole.

I can't find the photos of the rest of the build. Next time I go to the allotment, I'll take some pics of the finished coop so you can see it.

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