Day 10 – Chicken House Challenges – Part One

It never ceases to amaze me how impossible it is to think of every eventuality when you are trying to plan a project. Like, say, a chicken house. How hard could it be to come up with the perfect design to meet the needs of our hens? We need the house to be movable and, for this version, we wanted the girls’s eggs to be collected away from the girls (we’ve had some recent problems with egg-eating) and, because we’ve found this to be incredibly handy in another chicken coop, collectible from outside the house. We also need the house itself to be attached to a portable pen so they have access to a fresh patch of grass every day. And all of this moving and rearranging needs to be doable by me working on my own. Oh, and the house needs to be a decent size so I can fit 36 birds or so inside without anyone feeling crowded. Because of our climate, the structure needs to be waterproof and, because of our location, it has to be raccoon-proof by night and the run has to be birds of prey proof by day.

chicken house - chassis with floor

Ease of moving was a major consideration. Our previous design (watch for a future post) is really tough for me to move on my own. I’m no spring chicken, you know…

With this list of requirements plus a few more (needed to be able to hang the feed hoppers inside, interior needed to be big enough for me to move around in and clean the place out, perches – two long ones, both the same height needed to be set higher than the openings to the nest boxes, floor of a material that can withstand some moisture and be swept clean) we did a series of sketches and make some lists and then, after a whole lot of discussion, Dad (with a bit of help from T. and me when we had a few minutes to pitch in) started to build.

Because we have had so many issues moving our current chicken house around (that one built with smaller wheels and axles we mounted ourselves to a sturdy frame) we invested in a great pre-made, adjustable chassis. What a difference! With turning wheels, a long tongue, larger wheels and a sturdy basic chassis to which we could bolt a 2 X 4 frame to support the floor, we were off to a great start.

Interested in learning who else is participating in the 30 days agriculture blog-a-thon or the five things Holly Spangler will be talking about this month? Head over to Prairie Farmer to find out!

Basic framing of walls and roof  in progress.

Basic framing of walls and roof in progress.

Another shot of the walls being framed - starting to fill in with plywood.

Another shot of the walls being framed – starting to fill in with plywood.

Plywood basically on and salmon-pink undercoat mostly done. No particular reason for the salmon colour - it was a mis-tint, good quality, and perfect for an undercoat.

Plywood basically on and salmon-pink undercoat mostly done. No particular reason for the salmon colour – it was a mis-tint, good quality, and perfect for an undercoat. And cheap… because who would actually want to paint something that colour?

Nesting boxes were built separately inside - then mounted at an angle on the outside of the hen house.

Nesting boxes were built separately inside – then mounted at an angle on the outside of the hen house.

Weather being wet here, a good roof is essential - here, cutting the roofing felt off the bit roll.
Weather being wet here, a good roof is essential – here, cutting the roofing felt off the big roll. [At this point in my blog-post writing, I can’t seem to add more photos down here at the bottom … I will do another post tomorrow with another set of images of the rest of the building.]

 

3 responses to “Day 10 – Chicken House Challenges – Part One

  1. It looks wonderful – great design that meets all your criteria (which are also my criteria – I’m no spring chicken either :)). It does look heavyish to my eye, though – will you be able to move it?

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    • It is heavy and I haven’t been able to test it on the mostly flat field where it will ultimately live, but the chassis is so much better than anything we have built I am hopeful I will still be able to shift it along each day.

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  2. It looks good! Hopefully it works out like you need it to. I know what you mean about not being able to ever plan perfectly. No matter how much time you spend planning, there’s always something you didn’t think of!

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