Saturday, March 13, 2010
Make vs Buy, Take 2
My current chicken coop (really, it's a chicken playhouse) is too small for the chickens I've got, and besides, it's not a "good" coop. Good coops are well ventilated but not drafty, and the playhouse, due to it's lincoln log-type construction, is open on the corners and extremely drafty. I had no idea when I bought the thing that it would be a bad long-term choice, since I was such a n00b. But it allowed me to get chickens in the middle of February, and me and the fresh egg in my tummy can't complain about that!
I've been keeping an eye open for a better coop on craigslist for a few months and ... nothing. I've considered making a coop from scratch, or buying a new coop locally. New coops are really expensive and still too small, and aren't movable. So I decided to make a coop to save money (ref our discussion earlier this week about making vs buying).
But then I started thinking about how I would actually do this making of a coop. I don't have a ton of tools - my saw inventory runs only to jigsaw and sawzall, pruning saw, hacksaw and chainsaw. I don't have a workshop, or even an outside flat area to get things square and straight. And, I don't have the skills or experience to do something like this well. Making a chicken coop from scratch is just not something I can do without a huge amount of effort.
So I decided to buy the one you see above! Actually, it's a kit that I'll assemble. All the pieces are there, cut and predrilled. I think I can do the rest. It's got some characteristics that I like over other coop kits. Wind won't tear off the roof or flip it over. It can be moved by one person. It's big enough for about 10 birds if I decide to be-big the flock. And, it's cheaper than other coops, while giving me more of what I wanted, space, wind resistance, movability.
What I'm Making
First off, my midcentury outdoor furniture is a different size than current outdoor furniture. Meaning that cushions on the market don't fit - at all. Not even close. Second off - this is something that I do have the equipment to do properly. I also have the knowledge and experience to do this pretty well.
I found an outdoor fabric at JoAnns that I don't hate, but did not find a matching blue piping to buy. So I'll have to make the piping, even though I complained mightily about it earlier. I've estimated that I'll need about 16 yards of it, so what you see here is the cushion fabric, piping fabric and all 16 yards of piping. It will be a long trudge, but rainy weekends are tailor-made for projects like this.
I'm happy with the make-buy decisions. I'm going to be spending time on something that's a relative strength of mine and outsourcing what I'm uncomfortable doing. Its possible that I could go all the way to starting up this little goaty enterprise without building a single building myself. I'm OK with that.