Today, I am sharing my final post on how we built our chicken coop. So far I have shown how we built the coop and how we built the chicken run. Now, I am going to share what we used to stain all of the wood, as well as how we set up our food and watering stations.
I connected with Thompson’s Water Seal at Snap in 2014. I talked to them about how we were in the process of finishing up our chicken coop and needed to do something with the wood. To give you a little background, we live in northern Arizona. Our climate is hot, dry, and windy in the summer. We get snow and ice in the winter. Paint and stain do not last around here. We discussed our options for what we can use to protect the wood on the new chicken coop.
They recommended the solid wood stain. You only need one coat, and it lasts for up to 5 years on decks and up to 15 years on fences and siding. It only takes 2 hours to dry. You can use it on freshly cleaned damp wood or dry wood. The solid stain shows the least grain in the wood. Since the sides of the coop are particle board, I didn’t really want much of the grain to show through, so this was the best option for us.
We started by using our pressure washer to thoroughly clean off the entire coop.
We were working on this project in June, so in about a half hour all the wood was almost dry. But since you can use this stain on damp wood, we didn’t worry about it drying completely. We poured stain into small cups and used large paint brushes to apply the stain to all of the exposed wood.
We only had to apply one coat to the entire coop. We had such good coverage without having to go over it multiple times, which was so nice after working on this project for so long. On areas where there was chicken wire on the wood, we simply stained right over it.
We chose a stain that matches the deck off the back of our house. It looks beautiful now and ties in so well with the rest of our backyard!
We originally stained the chicken coop in 2014. It is almost exactly two years later. We will probably have to do some touch ups with the stain this summer. However, I am very pleased with the stain. Most stain only lasts one year here in our harsh climate, so I am pleased we were able to get two years out of it.
Next, I want to share with you how we set up the food and water for the chickens. Part of the reason we altered the original design of the coop was to accommodate our feeder and waterer under the coop itself. It stays shaded throughout the entire day and our dog cannot access it with the door of the coop closed.
Note: We tried propping the door open so only the chickens could fit through and our yellow Labrador could not enter. She is very clever though and was able to still gain access to the chicken food. We have since added a small door that can be opened and closed next to the main door at the bottom that she cannot fit through. She is so persistent!
To create the food station, we started with a large 2″ 45° elbow bend PVC pipe fitting.
We cut out the chicken wire to allow it to fit through the opening. We added a small section of PVC pipe to the top of the elbow next to the side of the coop and attached it with a 2-inch metallic tube strap.
We did not attach the screws flush into the side of the coop. We left a little bit of a gap, so we could slide a large cup over the top of the tube so no critters or rain could get down in the PVC pipe when we were not adding food.
We purchased a chicken feeder from a local supply store. We placed it on some old cinder blocks to keep it up off the ground and to allow the chickens to reach it without bending over as much.
Next, my husband cut a length of 2″ PVC pipe with our reciprocating saw to extend from the 45° elbow fitting into the top of the chicken feeder .
We keep the chicken food in a large plastic tote with a locking handle lid. To fill the feeder, we use the cup and pour food down the tube. This also works great if we are going to be out of town. We can fill the entire feeder, plus the tube so they have plenty of food while we are gone.
We also created a watering system for the chickens we could fill from the outside using our garden hose. We started by adding chicken nipples to the bottom of our five gallon bucket. We drilled holes in the bottom of the bucket, and screwed the chicken nipples in the holes. We sealed them with silicone to be sure no water would leak out.
Note: The way these work is the chickens simply peck at them and water comes out. The great thing about having a system where you hang a bucket rather than place one on the ground is that it stays clean much longer.
The manufacturer recommends one chicken nipple for every three birds. We started with 8 birds, but planned to add meat chickens as well, so we felt like 4 was a good amount to have on our watering system.
Then we hung the 5-gallon bucket with a lid and handle from a large hook that we attached to one of the wood beams under the coop.
Note: For the PVC feeding tube we didn’t use pipe cement, but just pushed the pieces of PVC together tightly. For the watering tube, we needed the fittings to be sealed completely since water would be running through it.
Again, we cut the chicken wire with wire cutters to make room for the PVC pipe.
We attached the PVC to the chicken coop with a 1-inch conduit strap.
We added a long piece of 1-inch PVC pipe to the elbow and then attached another 90° elbow pipe fitting facing down towards the bucket.
We drilled a hole in the lid of the 5 gallon bucket that was slightly larger than the 1-inch PVC pipe.
We attached the PVC pipe to the 2 x 4 so it wouldn’t move around.
Once it was secured, we tested a piece of PVC pipe that would go from outside the coop down into the bucket, before we secured it with pipe cement.
To get everything to fit properly you will need to move the lid around the bucket until you get a nice snug fit with the PVC pipe and to be sure everything is lined up.
We used a small empty pill bottle to cover the opening of the PVC water pipe. This keeps any debris and rain water out of the tube.
Both of these systems have worked really well for us. We almost never have to go in the actual run if we don’t want to. The chickens caught on to using the watering system right away!
You may also like: