As you may recall, the Chicken Chateau was based upon the dog house that was originally with the property when we purchased it. Re-using the dog house roof was a way to use what we had on site, and save some cost, as well as recycle materials. This made a good, but narrow chicken coop. Here's how it looked when it was in the initial construction phase, nearly completed.
Over time we acquired a few more chickens (now 22 adults and 6 nuggets), and watched their behaviour, especially on rainy days when they didn't really want to be outside, I decided it was time for a bit of an expansion.
My helpful local builder came and built out the side of the coop to the existing perimeter fence, using the fence as part of the new wall.
He installed a new roof portion as well. This part of the renovation opened up some space for more indoor comfort, and space for another roosting bar.
This picture shows the renovation partly completed, but you can see how it opened up a whole new area. We used a lot of old barn boards and pallet wood that we already had handy.
On the weekend, he came to complete the renovation and add an outdoor exploration area. Having lost two birds to hawks in our initial chicken days here, we knew that keeping them protected when foraging was critical. The new chicken yard uses some recycled material from a metal barn structure, which holds up a plastic mesh cover material. There's also a gate for me to go in and out. The sides are wood and hardware cloth, which is more sturdy than chicken wire.
It allows for sunlight and air (and those yummy bugs) to pass through, but prevents hawk or owl activity. The base of the outdoor area also has wood around the base to prevent raccoons or other predators. There is a hatch door with a ramp on both the inside and outside for the birds to use to access the yard.
The outdoor foraging area will only be accessible in the daytime. At night, they are inside the coop with the door firmly closed.
There is also a brand new Mummy-and-baby suite for Whisp and her little ones, which can be used when needed for birds who need time to rest, recuperate, be mothers, or otherwise be separated but "with" the flock.
On their first afternoon in the foraging area, after some initial discovery of leafy plants and grubs in the dirt, they all selected an ideal dust bath location and dug out a shallow bowl-shaped area. Everybody seems to get into the dust bath at once. I am hoping it won't get too muddy and nasty when it rains, but for now, they are all loving it!
Buttercream goes bug hunting.
Jellybelly has a rest in the leaf litter and looks like a queen as always.
Shadow shows her fluffy pantaloons while foraging in the wild blueberry bushes.
I'm so glad that they have more space to roam and enjoy their environment while remaining safe from birds of prey.