Chook House Build

Steve

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Due to a certain someone putting the hard word on (thanks @stevo), I thought I'd better get some pics up quick-smart of the new chook house.
So lets go....

Bit of an overview, the idea was that it's up off the ground but also tall enough that I can stand up in it. I researched till my brain went numb and i really tried to incorporate as much as I could.
I'm probably gonna paint the timber ramp or install steps as it looks a little out of place.
The loose plastic on the roof is a protective coating that I should have pulled off before installation. Now I need to get up there and pull it all off but it doesn't come off in one nice sheet. I found this roofing on a scrap heap on a construction site. It's thick foam with tin on either side. Should keep some heat off the ladies.....
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Here's a little ramp for the girls to use. Theres a slide-in door that one day I hope to have auto open/close system. I found a gadget online but it cost $200.... I dont think so.
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Here's a shot from the rear. The window is just covered in plastic for now till i decide what I'm going to do with it. I couldn't be bothered constructing an awning so I had to seal it up for now to keep rain out.
You can see above the window there is ventilation at the top which is all wired up to keep nasties out.
You can also see the door on the back wall that I'll be able to open up to sweep out the straw/crap to compost.
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And here's that rear door open. She's a bit rough bit it should do the job! :thumbsup:
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...and the egg laying pod. I still need to put something on the hinge area to keep the rain from running down into the boxes but it should do the job.
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and this is from the inside where the ventilation ducts are. The wire is to keep nasties out.....whatever that might be....:pig::cowmoo:
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This is one of three boxes for the girls to lay their golden eggs :)
I read you need to keep them a little on the small size so they dont get too comfortable. They are regulation size so we'll see what the crew thinks once they move in.
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And finally the perches. I did a bit of reading on this to see what they liked and there were so many different ideas that I went with a scientific approach I read. The flat top that is wide enough for them to rest on but with slightly rounded edges. Not too wide as it's bad for their feet. I dont know...I might be making it up now, but this was along the lines of a proper study that looked at roosts. They'll love it I'm sure. One high and one low because that's just the way I roll! :cool:
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A couple more things I need to do include putting wire around the open area under the house. Then I'm putting a ramp/door inside the coop so the girls can walk down to the basement area. It will basically be an area for quarantine or if we are away for a day or two. They can still scratch in the dirt, get some sun, and move around, but be safe at the same time.
I also need to get a fence around the area to keep them in.
They will have 3 free range areas. One will be their yard, and the other two will be veggie patches that they will have access to once the crops are finished and are recovering. Bit of a crop rotation system. The ladies will add manure and scratch around cleaning up scraps and bugs. We'll see how that system goes and I might add a thread about my idea some time.

I also need to make a sign called 'The Chick-INN'.
Looking at the ladies moving in next month if I can get the fence up by then. :sawwood:

Cheers,
Steve
 

OskarDoLittle

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More of a boudoir than an inn Steve! I particularly like the white frames...makes the coop really "pop" (said in American designer accent)
Seriously that's the best lookin' chicken house Ive seen!
 

stevo

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That's the fanciest chook house ive ever seen! Nice work, and a great post with plenty of info for others , since you did all the research and made the best version. Good looking property too by the looks.
 

Steve

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Thanks @stevo
It was far more work than what i hoped. I think i learned my lesson here. I need to plan it out and then just go half-assed on it :D. I tend to go a little over-board on some of my projects but I'm hoping it will last a fair while. If it falls down they are getting a simple lean-to :sawwood:
 

ClissAT

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Proper right old palace they got there mate!:cool:

Mine slept on an old slatted shade house bench & they loved it. They often spend 'quality time' up there too during the day because they could walk around on it. They also queued up on it waiting for a nest. The fact they had several other nests equally good to choose from didn't seem to feature in their desire to line up on the old potting table. It was somewhat of a vantage point & made me realise chooks like to observe from on high, a bit like cats.

But your hen house is a little on the small side for that sort of sprawling opulence.;)

All in all Steve, it seems like a job well researched & done.

Everyone should be very happy there.:thumbsup:
 

ClissAT

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Steve I had a thought regarding your need to weather proof the egg hatch door.

I use this product a lot. It comes in a variety of sizes & lengths. It's not cheap but like a lot of things you get what you pay for. There are much cheaper versions, but......
You could line the join between hatch & wall with a length of this stuff. It stays flexible, yet sticks like the preverbal to whatever you aim it at. You wouldnt need a roll as wide as this one I recently purchased. You just cut off however much you need & fold in half lengthways with the sticky side outermost. Stick one side to the top of the hatch & the other side to the wall above the hatch hinge after painting the hen house.

byute flashing sealer.jpg


Also here is are 2 photos I took of the TV screen the other day when Australian River Cottage show was on. They were building a chook trailer on an old boat trailer frame.

This is how they solved the hatch issue. The iron is secured with some screws & they put silicon under to weatherproof where it is joined to the wall. Also it is up under the wall sheet a bit.

Pauls ARC chook trailer.jpg



Plus here is their work around for the floor. He has foxes so they used a combo of timber slats for the part of the floor he needs to walk on & arc mesh on the remainder of the floor. He can just sweep the chook poo off the timber slats onto the grass below. In your case you could have a deep slide out tray under the floor to harvest the manure.

I think the benefit of this setup is that there is lots of air flow through the hen house. Perhaps if you find in summer the house gets a bit hot & humid, particularly at night time, you could cut long thin air vents in the floor. A humid environment is breading ground for crawlies & disease that afflicts chooks a lot.

Pauls ARC chook trailer floor.jpg
 
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Steve

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Some good ideas there @ClissAT, thanks.

I'll check out that tape for sure. I was going to have a dig around the shed and see what I could fashion up. If that turns out to be a fail I'll have to go to the big green shed for something like that tape.

I didn't even think of that with the floor. A good idea to cut slats if I need to.
I did think of having a tray but the engineering that goes into that, plus making a tray, I went with a low door that I can sweep out the muck. Seemed like a cheaper/easier option.
 
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Steve

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Just a quick update....

The chook house is pretty much completed now.
The fence is in. Wow, what a big job that was, having never done fencing before I was learning as I went. It should hold up.
I still haven't enclosed the underneath part but that can wait for now.
Bought some feed pellets...no idea if they are the right ones but they said they're for chooks that lay....sounds right to me.
The watering cups haven't been set up yet as I need to get some type of reservoir for the water and some hose to connect it all up.
And I bought some hay to line the laying boxes with comfy goodness!
Anything I've forgotten I'll sort it out as I go...
I think I'm ready to buys some chooks!

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ClissAT

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Have you thought about the floor inside yet Steve?
Shavings or saw dust are a good cheap covering & goes well into the compost.
You can get bulk shavings & saw dust from men's sheds usually for free or almost.
I get camphor laurel shavings & saw dust by the cubic metre bag for $10/bag from my local camphor laurel furniture making shed.
My hens loved to scratch in deep piles of saw dust since they love making holes.
Those are also ok for lining the nest boxes.
One thing about camphor laurel & some pines is they need to breathe for a full day before the chooks go onto it so the fumes have dissipated.
Although I have used CL in its fuming state to clear the lungs of ailing hens as their lungs filled with fluid during their final weeks.

If you find you have to net the whole top of the pen to stave off eagles, hawks, crows, etc & to stop the hens flying out, you can use that white knitted bird netting. It comes in 5m wide rolls & would attach easily to the top of your fence & go over the top of the chook house with little effort so you can still walk around through most of the pen anyway.

All up, looks like a job well done & I hope your new hens settle in well.
 

ClissAT

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Steve I was having another look at your chook house photos, thinking about what you commented on that you haven't yet closed the building in underneath & noticing that the sun was shining on the nest box side of the building.
Would I be right in thinking the photo was taken in the morning so that side & the door side of the building faces the NE to NW?
That would mean the sun will shine on the nest boxes pretty much all year including the bulk of summer, making them very hot inside & also the house in general will be quite hot due to radiated heat from the walls & lid of the nest boxes.
Chooks love & benefit from good overhead shade in the form of dense tree cover with lots of air flow.
They are jungle birds originally.
Would they have access to that sort of shade for most of the day, particularly in the summer months? If you left the underneath of the building open, they could get in there to stay cool.
But in the summer months there might not be enough space for all to fit if some are more bossy than others & demand larger personal space.
If not, it is a simple fix using old shade cloth. At least 2 layers thick, better to have 3 layers.
Attached just under the roof using a batten on the NE to NW sides, stretched out & pegged to the ground or the fence several meters away from the building, provides good air flow & dense shade & will still be high enough so you can walk in to collect the eggs.

Chooks suffer long term health issues if they don't have proper shade to cool down effectively. Also they may refuse to lay their eggs in their nest boxes if those are too hot. They might lay under the perches on the cooler side of the house or under the building itself.
The nest boxes themselves may also need better ventilation to create convective cooling for the summer months. Making a long 3cm wide slit in the nest box floor or bottom of the wall & covering it with off-cuts of metal security mesh glued, siliconed or screwed to the wood provides good air flow.

Gumtree freebies is a good place to find old shade cloth & old security doors or put up a sign on your local public notice boards.
An idea that came to me was instead of using just loose shade cloth, you could use 2 whole security doors attached under the eaves like a sloping roof & propped up at the other end by steel fence posts driven in the ground & then the shade cloth laid over the top would make an excellent & very cool airy chooky outdoor entertainment area!
 

Steve

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Good info @ClissAT

Yeah the boxes are on the NW side. I did think about that but I read somewhere that they mainly lay in the morning so I figured that would be the cooler side.
The house is under a big gum tree so there is some shade around the place.
I see what you're saying about the under side. I'll just see how it goes and make a decision as things unfold.

Cheers
 

Mark

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The "Chick-Inn" :p

Nice job Steve the hens will love it! And, it should keep them safe at night too.

Are the footings steel post stands - screwed into the ground or what are they? Obviously to keep the wood from rotting...
 

Steve

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Are the footings steel post stands - screwed into the ground or what are they? Obviously to keep the wood from rotting...
thanks Mark.

Yeah they're steel stirups that are concreted in, then the post bolted to them. That should keep the timber dry so it doesn't rot as you said.

I've got three ladies in there now and they love the house so much they don't like coming out. I had to lock them out the other day as they were like lazy teenagers that sleep in till midday and then just laze around on the couch.
 

Steve

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We finally got some rain this arvo and they loved it. Couldn't get them to go to bed! From one extreme to the other.
Funny things chooks.
 

Tynan

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Thanks for this Steve.

Well written and the photos are perfect, a great source of inspiration to be used when I make my own one day.

Cheers,

Tynan
 

Emu chick

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Hi Steve
Very flash Chook INN! Impressive. Some of my chooks just slept in the trees at night, low maintenance. Must have been happy cos 1 chook lived 16 years and 1 lived for 18! Non productive grannies, but worth it for the fun!