It is 6 months later and the framework is holding up great. No reason it wouldn’t. Even though it is more of a “Motel 6” style coop, we built it sturdy just like our Ritz! The 100$ tarps, yes that is the good quality ones, are beginning to show wear and tear already. Several places have pretty good-sized rips, which is rather disappointing. If you want to use cheap tarps and replace them often or use the expensive ones until they are nothing but shreds, hoop houses are a good choice for you. Now don’t get me wrong, we love our hoop houses! We are just rethinking the type of roof. We built the hoop houses sturdy so they will be a lasting permanent yet movable home. Our next step will be to let the tarps continue to wear and then replace them with something long-lasting, perhaps tin. All in all, the hoop house is an inexpensive easy to make a coop. Our girls love it. The ones that sleep in it do anyway. The rest of them, the majority, sleep in the trees so I’m beginning to wonder why we even build the coops! My favorite part of the simple hoop coop is probably the ease in cleaning the dirt floor. We just scoop the poop daily and add it to the compost. No wood chips needed. The girls have also stayed both cool and warm enough in their house. It just needs a better roof.
Now that the hoop house is finished, it is time to introduce the little and middles to their new home! They have been in a temporary little dog house converted into a coop. This makes a great first outside coop. Both coops are enclosed in fence to keep them safe.
We had hoped to have their bigger home ready before now, but things usually take longer than we think for one reason or another!
Night one: It is nearing dark so we begin taking the girls one by one into the new coop. We sit them on the perches, talk sweetly and try to get them to stay. Some do, some try to leave immediately. One acts like she is trying to break out of jail! We continue taking them one at a time in and they keep running out, lol! We decide one of us should stay in there with them and one get the others so we can keep the running out to a minimum. We get about half of them in. The other half have cooped up in the old coop and are not happy when I move them so we call it a night.
Night two: Earlier I closed the fence door to the old coop so they can’t head into it. At dusk an entire flock of chickens is poking their heads through the fence and whining. We take a few of them in one at a time and sit them on the new perches. They are not real happy to begin with. We continue this process until at they are all are in the new coop. Three or four are still fussing and act like they aren’t sure about this place. Jailbird is still trying to break free. But they settle down finally and all is well.
Night three: Fence is closed to old coop again so as dusk approaches over half head to the new coop by themselves and jump up on the perches. We stand quietly in the background and watch. Slowly more and more head in and out, in and out until all are in except two! Make that one. Only one is left, all alone perching outside the old fence. So sad. I scoop her up and hold her. I think this is Jailbird. She is beginning to panic a little. Finally I take her in the coop, kneel down with her on my shoulder and she steps off onto the roost. Success! At last. All are in and settled for the night. Maybe she will go by herself tomorrow.
Night 4: It is just barely dark. All the girls are in the coop quiet as can be. Everyone is perched. We have passed this course of coop training. All is well in our chicken world.
We are still working on the big hoop houses. The first one is ready except the door and adding the tarp. The second one is nearly complete. We made a few changes in the second one. One change is the arch for a little extra stability. Here are a few photos of work in progress. Hopefully soon there will be photos of work completed and inhabited by little chickens!