After strengthening the entire framework with screws at every joint, it is now time to begin the exterior. There are several steps involved but the first is to cover the windows with this 1/2″x1/2″ hardware cloth.
Before I installed the hardware cloth, I cut a 4′x4′ piece of plywood for the exterior, clamped it in place, then used a pencil to trace the windows and the chicken door. I now know exactly where to cut with my jigsaw. Using my staple gun and air compresser I secured pieces of hardware cloth over each window.
Back in my shop I drilled a starter hole for my jigsaw then cut out the openings for both windows and the door. After that, it was a simple matter of positioning the plywood again and screwing it on.
The back wall uses the other half of the sheet of plywood. (Amazing how that worked out so perfectly, isn’t it?) There is no chicken door but this side is a little more complicated because I want the bottom half of the wall to hinge up giving us access to easily rake out the chicken…stuff.
I used the same technique, clamped the plywood, traced the windows, removed the plywood, added the hardware cloth. But then I cut the plywood in half. Installing the upper half was easy. I simply positioned it and screwed it in. The bottom half I clamped on again where I wanted it, then installed the hinges.
Here the bottom half is attached. I will eventually add some clasps at the bottom to secure it down, but they will go on after the bottom trim. Notice that I added the hinges before the shingles. I’m hoping I can notch the shingles in such a way that the hinges will rotate freely, but the plates of the hingles will be hidden. I’m either brilliant or this is going to cause me a lot of trouble later.
Jess was out running errands with Wally and Abby was napping so I figured I would keep going and do as much as I could. I cut another sheet of plywood to a little over 6′ for the “front” of the coop, clamped it up, traced the window and human door, and installed the hardware cloth. Right as I was about to cut the opening out, Jess came home WITH OUR CHICKS!
We have them all set up in our dining room with a heat lamp, food, and water. The black one is mine, Teri (short for Teriyaki). The yellow one is Abby’s, Chip (short for Chipotle, Abby picked the name herself). And the grayish blue one is Jess’s, Ina (as in Ina Garten). It will probably be about 8 weeks before they are big enough to transfer to the coop which gives me a lot of time but also gives me a deadline. Wish me luck and check back soon for the next update!