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Author Topic: Your ideal hen house?  (Read 3652 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Your ideal hen house?
« on: February 09, 2017, 04:50:23 pm »
As per the green roofs thread, I'm currently designing a new hen house, so I'm thinking about the features I'd ideally like it to have. So far, I've settled on:

  • Wooden Construction
  • Up on stilts (to provide shelter underneath, and so there's nowhere for rats to hide)
  • Green roof (just because)
  • Automatic door opener (own design)
  • Creosoted inside, for red mite prevention
  • Lino floor and lift-up perches, to make cleaning easier
  • Side door for shovelling muck out into a barrow, or possibly straight into a strategically placed compost bin
  • Nest boxes with external access
  • Serious ventilation area (experience tells me that you need more than you first think)

And, given that the current bird flu restrictions are likely to return in future years:

  • Attached run
  • wild bird proof feeding and drinking area

Any other thoughts folks?  What features does your hen house have that you (or the hens) really like, or what do you wish you had?  :thumbsup:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2017, 05:22:51 pm »
Put nest boxes into darkest corner/side of the house (as away from the entrance and out of direct line of sight of crows (from peeking into the entrance), and some kind of tunnel at the exit, again to stop crows going in and stealing eggs.

Door away from pre-vailing wind/rain. Electric light (ours is just an outside light from B&Q run out from the garden shed and tied to the meshed window).

All screwed together (rather than nailed) so can be taken apart and moved if necessary, and/or damaged boards replaced easily.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2017, 05:38:20 pm »
The ideal hen house is currently on with no hens in it!  :innocent:

DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2017, 05:46:13 pm »
I covered my entrances with bits of sacking. Stops the crows. Chickens dont seem to mind

ColinS

  • Joined Dec 2016
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2017, 06:52:56 pm »
Badgers will, I understand, rip off ship-lap cladding if they want to get inside. Might be worth considering some metalwork (badger-proof mesh perhaps) if they are in evidence near you.
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Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2017, 08:31:09 pm »
Onduline is less red mite friendly than felt, and also permits ventilation.  A slide out floor makes cleaning easy, or stockboard, being smooth, has fewer hiding places for red mite.  We have a variety of run designs, but all have a roof flap to permit drinkers and feeders to be put in the run, and the rest of the run is roofed with twin-wall polycarbonate, which keeps the area dry, lets in light and is also very light to carry.  Hexagonal wire is more likely to bulge but is much stronger than the lightweight square sort.  A 15cm board around the bottom of the run prevents mud splashing up from around the run and prevents spilled food being thrown out and attracting wild birds and rats.


Celli

  • Joined Jun 2016
  • Fife
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2017, 10:34:14 pm »
The longer I have my coop, the more I appreciate it, I've found the carry handles very usefull, they can get in the way a bit as they stick out, and it does take four people to lift it, but you can unscrew them if they are a bother.
Only thing I'd add is a hinged extra ventilation flap so it could be closed in the winter and opened in warm weather, this is in addition to the ventilation it already has.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2017, 06:52:03 am »
Your design sounds very like ours Womble. Our coops have 12% of the floor area as vent area arranged equally front to back, so 6% either side. They have sliding covers so that the windward side in cold or wet weather can be closed partially or fully.


We have plywood felt covered roofs and have never had a red mite problem because we have lift-out perches for daily inspection. The perches are 100mm wide x 38 deep with rounded corners and they drop into plywood mountings. Helps with cleaning if you can take the perches out as well. Height from the floor just 12", which suits heavy birds.


Build them in sections and then screw together. It makes construction, treatment, storage and transportation a lot easier.

ellied

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Fife
    • Facebook
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2017, 06:56:08 am »
In an ideal setup and given the restrictions likely to continue I would think about popholes back and front with 2 runs meeting at the coop.  That way you can rest one area eg to dry off mud or get in and clean/repair etc.  Trying to get in a barrow of straw or shavings in when birds are restricted is open to escape bids and if I manage to get my run back where I started, that's how I'd want to do it. 

Two pens also gives option for introducing new pullets gradually in better times, with a temp smaller coop in the side closed off from the main one's pophole short term and a fence between to prevent bullying.

If only I could build the runs myself I'd do it like a shot.  Wondering if true free range will ever be permitted again for more than 3 months in the summer :(
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Charlie1234

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Powys
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2017, 04:42:42 pm »
For me wheels are a must so I can move it around the paddock,so I can rest the ground.
Not been moved much lately though all birds are currently in my stables.  :fc: this ban gets lifted soon.
5 Dogs,5 cats,40 chickens,2badger faced sheep + a full freezer

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2017, 06:19:56 pm »
Ourbest henhouse is an old caravan. Cost us 50 to buy and about 150 to renovate, including 4 plastic nest rollaway boxes. Takes 40 birds comfortably; we could improve the ventilation a bit yet.

It's mobile, up off the ground; the birds dudt bathe under it and shelter there if the weather's bad.

It's no braw but hoping to paint it this summer.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2017, 10:02:25 am »
 I think that sounds pretty good and well thought out Womble.

 At our local livestock market we often get apparently well made hen houses for sale. They always look nice but I've yet to see one that is truly functional.
 Invariably the perch is none removeable and sited just in front of the nest box so the birds cannot help but soil the nest boxes overnight.
 The other major flaw is the difficulty in cleaning out. It is either difficult to actually reach inside for cleaning or there are numerous obstructions, like the fixed perch, a high ledge or a small doorway with no other way of reaching inside.

Yours appears to well thought out.
As an engineer I presume you will be patenting the design.
Will you be taking orders?
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Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2017, 10:11:22 am »
Thank you for your thoughts, everbody.


My one concern with all this is red mite. We had them once, right after we got our first hens. I think they arrived with them somehow, and they weren't hard to get rid of, by using Diatomaceous Earth.


I know others haven't had it so easy though, and I do worry that it might be impossible to eradicate red mite from a wooden coop with a living roof, as there will be so many places for them to hide.


Will creosoting the inside to begin with be enough do you think, or am I about to make a terrible mistake?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2017, 10:31:40 am »
We paint all the exteriors with Cuprinol Shades and then creosote the interiors using a 50:50 creosote:paraffin mix Womble (the paint won't stick to creosote). Red mite love clean wood, as we found out many years ago. Doesn't keep them at bay for more than a year though and if re-treated you will need to dry the panels out for at least two weeks before putting the chickens back. We never creosote the perches, only the very ends. If you check regularly for red mites under the perch you will never get an infestation of the whole coop. Simply re-treat the perch ends (which traps the red mite coming off the birds) and kill all the mite found underneath for a few weeks until they have all gone. Did 5 coops like that last year with complete success.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Your ideal hen house?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2017, 12:06:07 pm »
Smiths Sectionalo Buildings have some good designs.  We have one we call the Tumbril, because that's what it resembles, which has lots of practical features, including two pop holes, a big door for cleaning out, flaps each end of the perches and wheels.

 

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