So, I’ve taken a bit of a break from the house for a minute. This is because we saw a rat in our woodpile. This is… not something that we felt positive about. We’re aware that Oly has a rat…issue. Apparently we’ve arrived at around the time the city has got big enough and dense enough to start supporting a significant rat population. Hence our house’s previous existence as a service station on the rat highway (now subject to a bypass).
We hadn’t seen any rat action under the house since we dried it out down there and also made it so we weren’t pumping warm, moist air into the void (the lack of maintenance from the previous owner extended to the dryer vent just venting under the house). We also blocked off one of the routes in (next to the sewer pipe) with a mixture of rocks and pebbles, which apparently is not a thing they love. There are, however, snap-traps under the house for the purpose of preventing rat-ingress.
So that’s all good. But when we wandered over to the compost pile a while back, we noticed… a rat. Which prompted a rather more urgent building of the chicken coop, for which the wood was being saved. This lumber had been pulled out of the house with the original intention that it’d go back in, but having de-smelled the house we decided we didn’t really want that grotty lumber making up our nice new clean walls – and also, it was quite often split or holed…which made deciding not to use it for that much easier.
Unfortunately, that meant it sat outside under cover for… years.
About 2 and a half of ’em.
Fortunately, it actually doesn’t look terrible, because we were pretty good at keeping it dry. And uncovering it revealed that I think that the rat was just using it to access a hole it’d made; it doesn’t look like they’ve tried to make a nest there.
So I ran out to Hardel and got some 4×4 cedar chunks, some concrete mix, some hardware cloth and some utility grade siding. Annoyingly they only had shiplap, but it’s amazing what you can cover with trim.
That same day I dug out the patch where the coop was going, threw the poles in the ground with some concrete, and buried the hardware cloth.
Then over the last 3 days or so I’ve built a coop – which I’d planned out roughly, but not knowing exactly what wood was there, I didn’t want to be too specific about which lengths of wood I should use. That did, of course, lead to some rather…interesting decisions (some would call them ‘mistakes’) when cutting as I tried to model in 3D the final result. Fortunately, it’s amazing what you can cover with trim.
It does still need a coat of paint, although I’ve thrown some primer down on the inside. Unfortunately, our only ‘spare’ paintbrush is basically a solid lump. It’s sufficient for painting the inside, because I don’t think the chickens are going to be deeply concerned about the quality of paint finish, but won’t work for the outside I don’t think. Pleasingly, we managed to use literally all the trim wood, and nearly all of the 2x4s.
It also needs some locks (the doors are currently screwed closed, which is a short term solution), and a latch for the egg box. Especially since we saw raccoons, I don’t want to find them in our coop.
Oh, and I keep forgetting, but it does also need a roof. That means getting hold of some of the finishing strips for the metal roofing, which is a bit tricky. It also means buying some non-deforming metal shears.
In a little job on the house I put up the plywood in what will be our pantry, which is pleasing. I need to cut some pieces to be the base, and the back; then we can mount our pull out pantry. There is about 2 sq ft of wasted space… but in the entire house, that’s the only area we can’t use… which isn’t too bad since a lot of that space was scattered around in the old layout. Originally I planned to make a custom pull out for this, but the amount of time / reward for it doesn’t seem worth it…