Fyi, for those of you who use a blog reader, check out this post on the blog - I made a new banner and it is oh so spring!!!
So we have two chickens. They live in a pathetic little tiny “chicken tractor” that is about 3 feet by 6 feet and 3 feet high. I would like a huge flock and would like to convert our unused horse stall into a chicken coop, but the Logger wants to just get two more hens and cram them all in the tiny ‘apartment’. This is a regular debate for us, resulting in “moments of intense fellowship” as we like to call them. ;) So, the Logger finally said that if I do some research and visit three coops and “report back to him” on the pros and cons of each one, and come up with a design based on my research, he will let me build it. How nice of him, right?
I’ve had this assignment for some time now, and had not gotten it done. The Logger keeps commenting that chickens are “obviously so important” to me. Finally I decided, hey, the laundry’s not done, the sink is full of dishes and I don’t know what’s for dinner, but I won’t have him telling me the chickens don’t matter to me! Ha!
My first visit was right down the road, to see Dee Dee’s coop. I love Dee Dee. She is a BFFs mom and she’s a nurse and she lets me bug her with medical questions all the time. And her coop should be a good comparison because it is about the same size as the horse stall that I want to convert into a chicken stall.
So above is the general layout. The run is about twice as long as it is wide, and still, I see it is dirt… been thinking about this. I wonder if I could create four runs as big as the one Dee Dee has, and rotate the chickens around, using one run at a time, and keep the grass from dying… Or maybe not have a run at all and just let them out every day and pray the the rouge neighborhood dog doesn’t like chicken. =)
Inside the coop, I was pleased to see pretty much the same floor plan I was envisioning for my chicken stall…
So we have 3 nesting boxes, a hanging feeder, wood shavings for the floor, feed handy in a bucket and a heat lamp for warmth.
If memory serves me, you only need 1 nest box per 4 hens, since they don’t all lay their eggs at the same moment. Dee Dee built this coop for 12 hens, so the ladies have enough room, though she says they all prefer one certain nest! She used old milk crates for nesting boxes, and I have thought about doing the same.
The big feeder is great – hanging is a must to keep shavings from covering the food tray (which results in the chickens scratching all the feed out and wasting it) and I like this style because you just keep adding food by dumping it in the top and it dispenses down to the tray. Dee Dee has a bucket out in the run for water… this is what I always wanted to do but I heard they would drown themselves if their water was too deep. Dee Dee says none of hers have died from drowning, so I am totally using a bucket from now on.
Keeping Chickens, by Ashley English, is my favorite chicken book: tells you what you need to know, doesn’t tell you what you don’t need to know. In the book she recommends 4-6 inches of wood shavings for bedding on the floor. She says if you rake it around every day the chicken poo won’t stay on top and get matted and the bedding will only have to be switched out about once a month. Dee Dee confirms that is what she does and it works great. The dirty chicken poo/shavings make a great addition to your compost heap!
The ladies obviously approve of their situation…
On my way back to the house I noticed this which prompted me to add one more thing to my to-do list…
I really need to get a fence around my garden before I plant! The ladies annihilated my corn sprouts last year! This fence actually might be to keep the dog’s paws out of the garden, but I need a fence around mine, just the same.
So that was Dee Dee’s coop. Thanks Dee Dee for letting me tour it, and for watching the kiddos while I ran back home to get my SD card. =)
I will have the Logger read this report and see if it is sufficient or if I need to continue my “research”. I will keep you informed of my progress.
I know it is not spring for a couple more days but the kids enjoyed a dose of (filtered) sunshine and some fresh air today…
Mark took his Cars out for some racing action and Susie watched from the open slider door. She still doesn’t cross thresholds. I know it is a little strange, but convenient for now. =)