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GaryD

The Ideal Chicken House

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Hi,

During our recent heavy rain, our chicken housing has become a stinking mess.....so we're going to revisit the whole design.

Some of the things that I think are important include:

  • The ability to service the housing (feed, water, egg collection, manure removal) without having to enter the house.
  • Roosts
  • Ongoing access to clean, cool water.
  • Protection from predators.

What, in your view, are the features of the ideal chicken house?

Gary

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http://www.margaretrivereggs.com.au/freerange.htm

you could try there

Kim started small, won a Churchill fellowsip award and went on to do BIG things.

Interesting Bloke, right into his hens.

What, in your view, are the features of the ideal chicken house?

Air flow, trees accessable, easy access to eggs,

and able to drop-litter out of bottom of nests...

into bins for composting or for making sludge for topdressing.

Net over top. to keep crows OUT!(they steal eggs)

I have the water container plumbed into My automattic irrigation system here,

(sorry about your flooding) so dont have to watch too closely the water supply.

Another idea is a conc floor falling to a drain for washdown

and run the piped effluent into the Fruit tree zone.

And a Light, so at Night you can see what you're upto

in the moonlessness.

lol

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A timely discussion, as I am considering building my first Chicken house (I used a carport last time I had chickens) shortly - have you made any progress, Gary?

I have thought that the requirements would be:

  • Easy access to the eggs - so placed not too far from the house with external collection of eggs
  • A raised, wire floor under the roost area, with external access for easy manure collection
  • Good security from foxes and other predators at night
  • Easy to maintain water and rations (for the portion of their rations that aren't free range)
  • Good ventilation
  • Multiple, separate runs - so that I can let the chickens run on an area, then change their run, dig up the other and grow quick-grow veges and herbs, then swap again. Maybe three runs would be good.
  • Have shaded areas for the hot days and wind breaks from our terrible winds.
  • And last, but an important one to save the marriage - be able to contain the rooster, and muffle his calls until a decent hour (our last rooster used to crow at 4am outside our bedroom).

I haven't started on a design yet...

Ken

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Hi Ken,

We've listed our design criteria and I'm just waiting for our surplus layers to find another home.

We only want to keep 6 or so (we've currently got around 25).

I've decided to convert our Quail Hilton to a night quarters. Interestingly, that's what the frame was originally designed for. When we cranked up our quail operation about three years ago, we retrofitted the frame for use as a quail house. Now, we've gone full circle.....and the frame will be made into a chicken house.

I'll post the full design feature list as soon as I can lay my hands on it again.

Gary

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We've listed our design criteria and I'm just waiting for our surplus layers to find another home.

I thought a slow simmering pot was a good new home for old layers! ;)

I've decided to convert our Quail Hilton to a night quarters.

Didn't you just get more quail?

I'll look forward to seeing your plans, and progress.

Ken

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Hi,

These aren't old layers.....they've just begun their first season......but Jan and I can only eat so many eggs.

We have just got more quail but building a new home for them is part of the plan. I'm still looking for the list.

Gary

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Hi,

I finally found the list of design criteria for our next Chicken pen. They include:

  • Adequate air flow
  • Protected from extremes of heat, cold and wind.
  • External access to laying boxes.
  • Automatic waterers and waste-proof feeders - serviced from outside of the pen.
  • Pests and predators (including crows) excluded.
  • Mesh floors – to enable quick and easy recovery of manure – from outside of the pen.
  • Concrete/paver base and mesh barrier - to prevent chooks from spreading the manure and for easy harvesting of manure.
  • Night light
  • Roosts

I don't need yards and runs because our chickens roam at large in our half acre back paddock.

Gary

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The chicken house project took a further step forward when we culled about ten of our surplus layers (the only big thing about them was their appetite) and processed a further eight for the freezer.

We now have eight layers left......and they will fit into our new chicken house nicely.

Gary

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Hi,

Prior to processing the most recent batch of chickens, we had begun to purchase chicken meat again.

Notwithstanding the fact that we buy organic chickens from Aldi, I found that the meat contains a huge amount of fat. After eating our own free range chicken, biting into a thigh was enough to make you gag. You just don't realise how much fat there is in store-bought chicken.

We found that home-grown chickens are not so tender (largely because they get more exercise) but the taste is so superior that I'm happy to move to slow-cooked dishes if it means that we don't have to eat supermarket chicken......in any form.

It was a timely reminder that continuous production of our own chicken meat should be a priority. It contains much less fat and has much more taste.

Gary

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I was looking at my AP system last night, and thinking. I'm going to have 3 tables, with GB on top, nothing underneath, 4'X16' 3 foot tall. I was thinking of wrapping chicken wire around the bottoms and putting about 4 or 5 chickens per table area. The tables are going to be wrapped with screen and the top a frame will be greenhouse plastic.

So the idea is having no bugs and easy access to plants, with a bit of greenhouse/shade house for the plants, with chickens underneath pecking at the bugs that do come by.

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Hi Gary

Years ago I built a movable chicken house made out of pvc, chicken wire, and bamboo. It worked really well for years. It is basically a dome.

Make a circle of pipe (3mdiameter)This is the base. Then cross pvc from one side to the other in a dome. Repeat around the base so you have dome roof. Put chicken wire over the lot. At just below shoulder height put in some bamboo roosting posts.Right across in a grid. With space for your head to fit through. Then when you get in through your door and stand up straight the cage lifts a couple of inches off the ground and you walk it to a new bit of pasture without the chooks escaping. Leaving the eggs on the grass behind.

It was great. Light, stable, I put some shade cloth over the top. It was enough protection from rain and allowed breezes through.

If foxes were going to be a problem then we would have run a portable electric fence to a low wire around the outside (but our dogs kept em away).

The chooks had new pasture everyday. No diseases and dominant chooks had no corner to bully weaker ones into.

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Hey Gary,

I started to make chicken coops after I got my first chickens 2 years ago. Check out my design: http://aquaponicsinparadise.com/mychickencoop/

see the barn type coops (#3). its lifted so i can compost the poop. the egg hatch is either internal or external. you could build a longer/taller one for 6 chickens or mutliples as these are only meant to hold 2-4 chickens.

The chicken treadle feeder (#1) isnt my design, its from backayrd chickens. I also use watering nipples so I dont have to change the water very often (#2).

You could also install wheels and wheelbarrow-like handles to make it moveable and/or make a pen out of 2x2's and chicken wire.

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Matt......I've seen similar chicken tractors over the years. I think they have their origins in various permaculture magazines. You're right, they do have some nice features.

Albert.....love your designs. I agree that the mesh floor is a "must have"......life is too short to spend any of it cleaning out chicken pens.

Gary

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