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Author Topic: Finally finished the Chicken Coop  (Read 2610 times)

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Finally finished the Chicken Coop
« on: July 26, 2023, 08:04:05 am »
Well after a long haul, a bit here, a bit there, I am finally getting towards the realisation of getting my own chooks established after many years of not having any since I lived in the suburbs of London. This was an old dilapidated shed we inherited in the veg garden. I took it to pieces, cleaned it all up, added the nest boxes each side, three compartments each, put in windows in the door and eaves and the roof vent and door vents. There is also a vent in the back wall eaves and of course the fancy flourishes, couldn't resist doing that after all the effort (pallet wood was used for those!). The whole thing is insulated with polystyrene sheets and foil polystyrene membrane on that inside and then lined with OSB board, It gets pretty cold here in winter, I hope it gives the protection. It has pop holes each side. We've just bought an electric net fence, the idea being to move it from one side to the other every few weeks to rest the ground. My first batch of 12 hatching eggs only produced five young, two cockerels and three hens so in a week I have another batch of 20 in the incubator which should be due for hatching. All Australorps. OK we'll have to wait a bit for eggs but the plan is to fatten the cockerels up and they will be for the freezer, I haven't told them that yet ;D
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Finally finished the Chicken Coop
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2023, 03:49:46 pm »
Looks like you've put a lot of work in. One thing to mention though, before putting hens in, if you can creosote the INSIDE of the hen house thoroughly to deter red mite, that would save a lot of problems in the long run. If you cannot creosote then use liberal amounts of diatomaceous earth (Diatom) puffed in all the corners and joints.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Finally finished the Chicken Coop
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2023, 05:55:15 pm »
Electric nets don't work very well [member=214716]NickRJ[/member] because they sag and short to earth. We use that to our advantage and use the net as the earth then put simple posts with a couple of wires for the high voltage around the outside set at 8" and 18" in height and about a foot out from the net. Growth into the net aids the earth circuit. Just strim under the bottom line regularly. We bought a little Stihl battery strimmer for just that job.

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Re: Finally finished the Chicken Coop
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2023, 07:38:38 pm »
Hi Richmond,
I've given it a couple of coats of limewash inside as I wasn't sure about being able to get creosote any more. I don't think the substitute stuff I used to get in the UK, Creocote I think it was called, was a patch on the real stuff for effectiveness. As hydrated lime is cheap, that mixed in water with a little salt I understand is effective against red mite, if not I've got some mite powder and I was going to add the DE on the floor, corners, perches etc. I have also got an old book which recommends liberally applying grease, I assume a paraffin type wax, to the perch sockets as it forms a barrier for the mites. DE wasn't "a thing" when I used to keep poultry before so I'm keen to try it.

Hi Chris,
We have just taken a net back that we bought recently for that very reason. The poles were PVC and completely useless, the net just sagged everywhere and I just felt it wasn't on to have to go out and buy supplementary posts to bolster the inadequate ones I had paid for. We've now taken delivery of a Wiesenfield net from Germany. It looks to be a whole new ball game in the quality stakes and the posts are fibreglass and quite rigid  and there are more of them for the same length of net so I'm hopeful it will perform as it should. My only experience of electric fences have been the Hotline Shrike, I now use one around the rabbit hutches at night having just replaced the very old one I brought out with me but it was old and basically the plastic switch parts all died a death. The replacement is a vast improvement on the old design. The single D cell battery is very convenient too and lasts an age when the fence is only on at night or when we go out. I find them very convenient and effective and never any sagging but the area I use them for is much smaller than the intended chicken run. The advantage though is you can regulate the height of the wire without hassle, it makes them a very versatile solution for various installations.
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Re: Finally finished the Chicken Coop
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2023, 11:32:20 am »
Well as I was a little more successful with my second batch of egg hatching, 19 out of 20 my initial chicken house wasn't going to be big enough so needed something to house the initial five birds which hatched out a few weeks earlier as they were getting bigger, I know from past experience mixing batches is never stress free! Here is the Mk11. Much smaller than the first but fully insulated against the weather. Roof hinges back completely so that I can get a broom in and the hatches on the sides will allow me to literally sweep everything out. The birds seem to be happy in it. If anyone wants to see pictures of the roof, inside for ideas I'll happily post more pics. I know myself that sometimes it's good to see what other people have done when looking for ideas.

 I also include in the picture the new electric net fence we bought from Germany. It is good, nice stiff posts and stands nice and erect. I mention it because I know from another forum user, Hi ChrisMahon, how's things :wave:, that a lot of poultry netting is pretty floppy. I can thoroughly recommend this one from Wiessenfield. The posts are fibreglass not PVC and they can be bought separately so if anyone is looking for more effective posts that might be the answer. I'm not suggesting they are cheap but they do what they say, they stand upright.
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Finally finished the Chicken Coop
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2023, 06:46:31 pm »
Looks a top quality net [member=214716]NickRJ[/member] , but the coop will need far more ventilation I think. Aim for at least 15% of the floor area, ideally with sliding shutters for when it is cold and windy. Cover the apertures with fine weld mesh to stop predators getting in.

DippyEgg

  • Joined May 2017
Re: Finally finished the Chicken Coop
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2023, 08:55:37 pm »
That's a good idea for the roof Nick. Although I would raise the house off the ground if you can, just to deter rats from tunneling underneath.

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Re: Finally finished the Chicken Coop
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2023, 06:41:44 pm »
Hi Chris,
For the vent's I was following a formula in an old book on poultry house design, all the holes are 1inch and go around the three sides, I didn't put any in the back as that will always face the prevailing wind, well that's the plan. I was minded to put more in but it was a juggle between insulation and ventilation as the winters here can be pretty harsh and it was a bit of a rush build as the birds were desperate for something a bit more permanent than the cardboard boxes they were spending the night in in an outbuilding. At present it houses two cockerels and three hens but the cockerels will be taking up residence in a pot eventually. I am finding that the two of them seem very tolerant of each other, I know they are brothers but they frequently seem to spend a lot of time in each others company, it is probably early days though, they are twelve weeks now. Despite going to the trouble of putting in a perch all five birds snuggle into one nest box every night! I should probably discourage it but it looks so funny and they seem happy enough!

Hi DippyEgg. Thank you and for the constructive comments. The house is moveable and at present it has just been "plonked" in a position while I am doing work in other parts of the garden. When building it I fully insulated the underside of the floor/nest boxes and then stapled chicken wire underneath both to deter anything trying to dig in from below. The white "pad" under the roof is an insulated box to keep warmth in in winter and all the walls are insulated. It can get REALLY cold here in winter and I didn't feel the wood would be adequate protection alone. The house will actually be raised up  slightly more when I next move it as I felt it was a bit low when I put it in position but the birds are stepping in and out comfortably so I didn't want to disturb them  for the moment. What I am actually hoping to do is merge the two groups of birds I have as the cockerel numbers go down. Looking at the 19 youngsters There appear to be around half of them cockerels so the bigger house should be adequate for all the remaining hens and one or two cockerels and it has a lot more ventilation and is sighted under trees where it'll have a bit more protection from the weather.
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

 

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