Category Archives: DIY

Chicken Coop in the suburb

A few years back, at our old house, we were allowed three chickens per city ordinances.  So I decided to build a coop and have chickens.  This is what I came up with.  I have no idea why I came up with the design I came up with, but it worked for us for that time.  I knew I wanted a small footprint coop, something that could ideally be put into the back of a pickup truck if necessary to move it.  I wanted it to be tall enough for me to walk into comfortably,  and I am 6’3″.  If I remember correctly the low side was 6′ and the high side was 7′, so I was able to walk into the coop/run without hitting my head inside of it.  I used pressure treated lumber for the frame on the ground, and looking back I should have used pressure treated on the uprights as well, since they end up coming into contact with grass, wood chips, and chicken stuff.

After getting the initial frame built, I attached hardware mesh around the side, I just used a pneumatic staple gun to attach it.  Then it was on to the roof.  I used 2x’s here as well, and covered it with a roof panel from one of the big box hardware stores over top of more hardware mesh.  I also made a door of 2x’s and flat brackets.  I used outdoor hinges, slide action bolts to close the top and bottom, and a clasp for a padlock in the middle of the door to keep kids out.

Next up was creating my flooring “joists”.  2x’s here again.  I felt comfortable that if it would hold my weight without problem, it would hold the weight of chickens and their paraphernalia.

I then used some scrap 1x wood to make three sides of the coop.  I used spray foam to fill in the gaps.  The floor was made of plywood.

I used more 2x’s for the interior door and I found a couple windows on craigslist, so I put one in the door.  I had intended on putting one on the opposite wall but I never got around to it.  After the window was installed, the door received spray foam insulation as well.  I cut a whole out of the door and created a wind barrier with two layers of shelf liner cut into strips, it worked well.  I created a little ramp system for the hens to be able to get up and down easily, but so that I could remove it when I needed to clean out the run.

When I was convinced that the coop was safe, but before I was done building it, I had the chickens start staying out there.  It worked pretty well for what I needed.  The hens had 32 square feet of run and 16 in the coop which for the three of them was enough.  When we moved and I sold it I was able to help the two guys who bought it, lift it up into the back of their pickup.  The lower frame of 2×8 pressure treated lumber bowed a little between the wheel wells but it worked out just fine.

Home made firestarters

I got this idea off of Pinterest and was more than happy with the results.

What you need:

  1. Cotton make-up pads
  2. Candles, the bigger the better
  3. A pan you don’t mind melting wax in
  4. Wax paper to put the fire starters on to cool
  5. Tongs or tweezers to remove the fire starters from the pan (I used tweezers)

I got all my supplies at the dollar store and used two candles and about 3/4s of the cotton pads so total investment was $3 and tax.  If you didn’t have a pan or tweezers you could find those at the dollar or discount store as well.  The only prep is to take the packaging off of the candles and take the cotton pads out of the packaging and place some wax paper on the counter near the stove for the cooling process.  Put the candles in the pan at low to medium heat.  As the wax starts melting add a cotton pad at a time and let it soak up the wax.  When the pad is full, use your tongs or tweezers to move the pad from the pan to the wax paper.  I used two of the chunkier candles I could find and was able to make about 65 fire starters with two candles.  Be careful in moving the pads from the pan to the wax paper as drips are likely.  Also, be aware that if you use scented candles, your house is going to smell.  I used cinnamon apple and the whole house reeked for the rest of the evening, driving my wife(whose sense of smell is much better than mine) a little crazy.  It was a cold fall day so our windows were closed and I am sure that didn’t help either.  After they are done cooling peel them off the wax paper and put them in a zip top bag for storage.

I wanted to test them to see how long they would last and what kind of flame they would produce.  I made a small tear in the pad to make it easier to light.  The flame itself lasted 6 minutes almost to the second, but even after that, the pad still had embers that could probably have been used to start some good tinder.  It gave a good high flame that should easily start any kindling.  I used a regular long handled lighter to light the pad, but I need to try a flint and steel to see how easily it takes a spark.

The images above are as follows;

  1. The finished fire starters
  2. The fire starter after 1.5 minutes
  3. After 2.5 minutes
  4. After 4 minutes
  5. After 5 minutes

I can see how these would be helpful if you were out camping, if you had a fire pit in the backyard, for throwing in a go bag, or a bunch of other uses.  Go out and make a couple, they are easy and cheap.