Bonafide Farm

Cooping in a heat wave

June 25th, 2010 § 1

We got started on the coop midmorning last Saturday, at the beginning of our area’s first summer heat wave. The coop will be 8′x12′ and have a shed roof and a storage room.

First we nailed together the presure-treated base and studs. The whole contraption sits on skids and cinder blocks lest my new house make this country property look too classy. I leveled the base, and then we added floor joists 16″ on center.


Then came three sheets of pressure-treated plywood nailed into the joists.

Over that went a layer of OSB, overlapping the pressure-treated plywood joints for stability. This floor is rock solid! As the light was fading, we mocked up the positioning for the front and back walls, tinkering to get the right proportion and roof slope:


Both Dad and I had worked right through the heat until 10:00 p.m. at night and made ourselves sick. Working in full sun on an almost 100-degree, humid Virginia day is no good. We learned our lesson and planned Sunday’s work day to start at 7:00 a.m., with a break during the heat of the afternoon.

The next morning started nice and early, but already the temperature was in the 80’s. We laid out and framed the front and back walls, using the newly built platform:


We tipped the walls into place and temporarily secured them in order to frame the door and window openings, which aren’t shown below. And that’s when the weekend ran out, at 10:00 p.m. Sunday night.


Monday morning I got up and got ready for work. On my way out, I stopped by the garage to feed and water the guineas. I knew something was wrong when I tried to open the garage door and was met by brief resistance followed by a flurry of feathers. You guessed it. Another jailbreak. So there I was, powdered and perfumed and the clock rapidly ticking toward 9:00 a.m., when I was due in the office…and I was again chasing guineas around the garage.

I got them all caught, one at a time because they are so big they need two hands to secure, and hit the road. Walking into work, I was still picking guinea feathers out of my hair.

Well, my dad sprang into action that evening and when I’d returned from work, he’d whacked together an interim housing solution for the birds using two sheets of plywood framed into a bottomless box set on thick plastic in the garage. These expansive new digs, 8′x4′x4′, were just what the birds needed. He made access doors at both ends for easy cleaning, and I stapled chicken wire to the top and filled the box with pine shavings. The birds love their new home, and are enjoying the chance to stretch their wings and fly from perch to perch. It was really a great idea because they’d definitely outgrown their last cardboard box, and were obviously wanting more space! Plus, it takes some of the time pressure off getting the coop proper finished.


It was very late when I shut the garage up Monday night and headed back to the house. I heard a rustling in the field and with my flashlight discerned two green eyes coming toward me across the field. Some animal, with its head held low, was headed right for me. I got ready to do battle with my Mag-Lite, but when it came into view I saw it was a tiny fawn. Once the creature realized that I was most definitely not its mother, it turned away and slunk around the driveway and off into the night.


§ One Response to “Cooping in a heat wave”

  • [...] For the past week or so, the chicks’ new trick is to fly out of their broody coop when I open the lid to feed them or fill their water. At first they were shaky and tentative, but now they explode up the second the lid’s lifted, and fly from rim to rim, occasionally overshooting their landings and meeting the concrete garage floor. It’s cute, yes, but it makes a pretty ridiculous scene as I try to grab each chick and toss it back into the coop before another flies out before I can shut the lid. It makes me wish I still had the big garage brooder my dad put together for the guineas. [...]

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