Julia is our black bantam Cochin Frizzle hen. She is a sassy 18 month old with an attitude. We named her for Julia Child. Ever since March she has been losing feathers - first on her head then on her wings now on her breast. I have checked her for lice and mites but found none - I treated the whole flock just in case. I have finally decided to build Julia a tower so that I can regulate her feed (giving her more protein and monitoring her intake and output (yes she still is laying an egg a day - I guess no one told her that she should stop laying when molting so as to put the protein toward feathers not eggs). Julia's tower has to be very predator proof since we have every predator known living just behind our house. I had considered renovating our old rabbit hutch but after removing all the rotten wood it became clear that building new was the best idea. Of course this project would involve my husband because although I plan a lot it takes his strength to make projects like this happen. Also he measures better than I do.
Julia's tower is patterned after our old rabbit hutch but built heavier and the structure is made using pressure treated wood since I have had good luck using it. Our first coop is 25 years old and is still strong with no rot. It will have a solid floor with a border of trim to hold the pine shavings in. The entire inside will be painted white with poarch floor paint. This coop will not be for winter use but just for quarantine and for now Julia. I plan on using Tufftex Polycarbonate panels (smoke) for the roof on purlins with 1/2 inch welded hardware cloth between the roof and the coop (predators). I am also putting screen on the inside of the hardware cloth since Julia has many featherless patches and will be bitten by mosquitos otherwise.The front will completely open with 2 doors for ease of cleaning. I use kitty litter plastic buckets for nest boxes (they are just the right size for bantams) so I will put 1 in this coop (they are easy to clean). I am still considering If I need to put a roost bar up since Julia's wing feathers haven't grown back yet so she can't fly.I decided to put the roost bar so I could use this area for brooding. I will be taking pictures to post tomorrow. So far we have built the 2 ends and will join them together tomorrow, then add the floor, roof and make the doors, staple the hardware cloth in place and Julia will have her tower to rest and grow masses of curly black frizzle feathers and once again be a beautiful chicken a far cry from the mini vulcher that she looks like now.
It is now 8-3-2012, 3 weeks have gone by and we have been very busy and much has happened since we started our building project. Julia and one of our other hens have gone broody. I am hoping to finish Julia"s Tower at least the top compartment by Monday so as to move her in. I have a dozen hatching eggs coming and will divide them between the 2 hens. I will post pictures soon.
Well move in day wasn't until 8-14-2012 due mostly to the amount of rain that slowed construction. Julia has moved into her tower along with her nest box and 7 blue Bantam Ameracuna eggs (not hers) that will become her chicks.
I decided that there was plenty of room in the structure to make a second area for broodys I have also changed from pine chips to a combination of sand, PDZ & DE for the floor.
The 1st picture is the finished coop and the 2nd picture is Julia on her nest. The following pictures show our building progress. Many thanks go to my DH Peter for all his hours of help and encouragement once he accepted the idea.
This last picture is of Julia in her new home sitting on her new family to be.
Edited on December 21, 2012 Julia is finally fully feathered again she must have had the longest molt on record.This is Julia today. All feathered out.