Meanwhile, inside the hen house, the girls were completely confused about where to sleep.
“You mean I’m supposed to jump up there?”
The first night, in fact, the girls couldn’t figure out how to walk back up the ramp, so they all piled up right at the bottom of the ramp, outside. By the second day they had figured that part out, but judging by the amount of hen manure in the nesting boxes and completely lack of bodies on the perches when I peeked in during the night, the girls hadn’t figured out that perches are for perching.
The next day, several of the hens had sorted out the perch situation, but nobody had laid an egg inside the nesting boxes, Instead, they are using the two back corners of the main area of the hen house. The next modification we’ll make is to add a low board across the bottom of the open side of the nest boxes. This will (I hope) accomplish two things: a) they won’t be able to shovel quite so much litter into the nest boxes when they are digging around in the shavings and b) they will feel more secluded, contained, and secure if they are behind more of a barrier.
Stay tuned…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!
Here’s a shot from the stage when we were gluing down the roofing felt on the nest box roof. The plywood is over the top of the roofing to evenly distribute the weight of the heavy objects placed on top.
Posted in Blog, Chickens, Uncategorized
Tagged 30 Day Farm Blog challenge, agriculture, chickens, chooks, coop design, Dark Creek Farm, farm, farm life, hens, movable chicken coop
In honour of National Hug a Chicken Day…
Well, why not? Have a peek at some of the many chicken-hugging photos over on the official Facebook page.
We’re going to replace the small wheels with larger ones to make the house easier to move.
We’ve been playing around with chicken house designs for a while now. The first version was low-slung with two wheels at one end and two handles at the other. It can be moved easily by one person as long as the terrain is reasonably un-bumpy.
The whole roof is hinged and inside there’s a single perch and four nesting boxes.
The whole roof lifts open for ease of egg-collecting and cleaning.
We found it was the perfect size for bantams, though we have also used it when we needed to segregate a few Light Brahma hens with Bill during breeding season. This solid house has a locking door for security at night. That door opened into a wire chute, which led to one of our hoop-house design wire runs. The whole thing (house plus attached portable run) is easily moved and, for a few bantams, provides lots of protection from birds of prey (we have trouble with eagles, ravens, and hawks). They get fresh grass and safe outdoor living while being protected. But, it was really too small for full-sized chickens on a long-term basis.
So, we built a bigger chicken house and a larger attached run-out, which will be the subject of a future post.
Pippi standing beside the chicken house for scale – not that this helps if you don’t know how tall she is! If you haven’t met her in person, she is just a bit taller than my knees. If you haven’t met me, that’s not particularly tall. So maybe putting the dog in there wasn’t very useful at all!
Because we don’t have a lot of land, I rent various nearby fields so my creatures can graze and forage. This means I rely on having portable pens and shelters to keep everyone safe at night no matter where they happen to be camping.
This new chicken coop is pretty fancy! Built on a chassis we bought on sale, it can be moved by one person on level ground or hauled around by my riding mower when the terrain is a bit trickier or the distance longer. Recently, we’ve had some problems with egg eating hens, so the nesting boxes in this coop have sloped floors that lead to a covered collection trough. Dad has been busy, busy, busy working on this creation which should be ready for new residents very soon!
Posted in Blog, Chickens
Tagged chicken coop, chickens, chooks, coop, coop design, farm, hen house, hens, laying boxes, nesting boxes, portable coops, Salatin