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Started construction on our chicken ... mansion! - Page 2

post #11 of 29

Wow, that is going to be super nice. Please post lots of pix!

6 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 6 Columbian Wyandottes, 6 Australorps, 3 Speckled Sussex, and 4 Red Sex Links (at least I think they are RSLs).
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6 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 6 Columbian Wyandottes, 6 Australorps, 3 Speckled Sussex, and 4 Red Sex Links (at least I think they are RSLs).
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post #12 of 29

Oh my! This is going to be incredible!!

Our coop build thread...

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088771/cheryls-hen-house

 

1Peter 5:2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.

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Our coop build thread...

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088771/cheryls-hen-house

 

1Peter 5:2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.

Reply
post #13 of 29

Update?

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

UPDATE! Finally ;) And LOTS of photos!

The summer went by so fast, and I kept meaning to update what was going on with our coop construction but... every evening I was just totally exhausted! But finally, here it is!

The chickens/guineas have been in the coop since July. Here are some photos from just before they moved in.

The roosts, which they don't really use, of course! The guineas found the rafters within a few hours of being moved to the coop. The chickens took a bit longer, but now most of the chickens sleep up there as well. There's usually three or four chickens on the top right roost at night when we check on them.

 

 

The guineas a few hours after being moved to the coop:

 

 

 

The walls are whitewashed with lime and the bottom two feet or so painted with rubber roof coat. The whitewash didn't come as opaque as I had hoped, so next spring when we do our clean out, I'll paint the whole thing white and then whitewash it again.

Their door to the run, which we had covered for the first two weeks until they got used to sleeping in the coop.

 

 

The view looking east. There's one dutch door to the outside, which we'll use when we clean out the coop; another dutch door is next to the nest boxes and goes into our storage area.

 

 

Our broody area/infirmary. It's a 5x7(ish) room off of the coop, with a sliding hardware cloth door. Right now it's storage and we really need to clean it out! But after we do, we'll leave this door open unless we need to close it for broody or injured hens.

 

 

Looking south at the nest boxes and the dutch door to the storage area. The infirmary door is to the right on that wall. That's me... and behind me is the old cabin, you can see the door that leads into it.

 

 

The nest boxes are the sloped boxes that Opa shared. They've been working great so far! The chickens definitely use them, and with our 11 hens we're getting around 3 or 4 eggs a day. They just started laying about a 6 weeks ago, and with the limited daylight, they're not laying as much as I think they will in summer. They're Orpingtons. We do need to get the nest pads that are angled... we just got regular ones (gray) and the eggs don't roll that great. (Edited to add: we did build perches in front of the nest boxes! We covered the nest boxes with a tarp until about September 15th, then built the perches and opened up the boxes. We didn't want any chickens learning to sleep in there before they started laying!)

 

 

The infirmary again. The nest boxes in there are just regular, so that the eggs aren't rolling away from the broody hens!

 

 

Our chicken guard dog, Silma :) This was when we first got her this summer; she's huge now. But we had her sleep in the shed area until about a month ago and then we set up a dog house for her outside near the run. She's a GP/ASD. She's been pretty good so far, though now that she's around 6 months old she is trying to play with the chickens. I just read up on how formerly great puppies can turn into chicken killers when they are around 6 months - a year old, and that they can't really be trusted around poultry until 2 years old.... soooo it's something we're working on right now. If it hadn't snowed already, we'd be putting up some fencing to keep her near but separated from the chickens. But until spring, we're just crossing our fingers she doesn't kill one. Not a good plan, I know....

Anyway, wasn't she cute! haha

 

 

Putting in the pine shavings! We got a lot of free shavings but not nearly enough, and so we bought like.... 22 bags :duc We're trying the deep litter method.

 

 

The Chicken Fountain when we had it in the coop. They do still manage to drip quite a bit of water, so we moved it out to the run, to limit excess moisture IN the coop.

 

 

The outside. This is the dutch door that leads directly into the coop. Immediately to the left, off camera, is the dutch door that leads into the storage area. We added a light outside, hooked up to a smart switch so that my husband could program when it turns on and off. You can also see the run at the end of the coop. For now, we just have the coop wrapped in house wrap - we're putting up the siding (cedar shingles) next year. We just ran out of time this year!

 

 

Guineas in the run. We buried the hardware cloth a foot down all around, even under the doors. There's a door on the west and east sides. There food and water is out here now. Their door to the coop isn't done just yet, so it's always open, but my husband is just about done with it. It will also be automated, to open near sunrise and close near sunset.

 

 

Our first snow. The east side of the run. (I gotta paint that door! ... next spring)

 

 

The past month or so we've been winterizing the place. We have a temperature/humidity gauge in there, that my husband can check from his phone. We need another one outside though to show relative humidity so we can compare the two. Using NOAA so far, the temp is always around 4-10 degrees warmer and the humidity is always less.

 

We also had a camera hooked up but a nosy guinea unhooked it :)

We insulated and heated our Chicken Fountain and put clear polycarbonate sheeting on the outside of the west and north walls of the run (our prevailing wind direction). We just finished that this weekend, so no photos yet; I'll go take some today!

So... whew! It was a lot of work, and we're still trying to get some small things done this year. I'm definitely looking forward to next summer and NOT building such a big chicken coop. And in case anyone is wondering, I think we've spent around $8,000 so far. More than I had budgeted by around $1,500... the trusses for our snow-load were almost double what I estimated. But we'll have a great coop for the rest of our lives (or as long as we live here) that can house all the chickens I think we'll ever have!

Any questions, definitely let me know!


Edited by Englishable - 11/28/16 at 10:47am
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

The run as of today!

 

 

(Yes, most of our snow has melted this weekend, it's been crazy warm! But I'm sure we'll have a blizzard again soon!)

In the photo is their feeders, we have two of these. We also have a small dish for oyster shells, free choice, for the ladies. You can see the poly sheets we put up on the outside, to block wind and snow. They're attached via carriage bolts, with rubber washers on either side, and can easily be removed in the spring and put back up next winter.

 

We had to cover the bottom portion of house wrap on the coop with plywood because the birds kept picking at it. On the left of the above photo is their Chicken Fountain, with a gravity fed 5-gallon bucket; the bucket has a submersible heater and the fountain is wrapped in heat tape, insulation and PVC jacketing. The middle part (black) was too fat for the jacketing, so we wrapped it in insulating tape, and so far no one has tried to eat that.

 

 

However, we are concerned about the tubing going from the bucket to the Chicken Fountain. We'll have to insulate that somehow. We also got larger diameter insulation and PVC jacketing for the upright portion of the Chicken Fountain and will insulate that soon as well. It's actually kind of good it's been so warm here the past week!


Edited by Englishable - 11/28/16 at 11:00am
post #16 of 29

Whoaa...that is one nice coop facility!!! (so much more than just a coop).

It is awesome, tons of potential there!!

 

Couple things jumped out at me...I hope you take it as well meant critique and not negative criticism.

 

Did/will you put perches up in front of nests?

Can be hard for them to fly into those openings,

plus they like to pace the perch and check out all the nests before committing to one.

2x4 wide side up about 8" in front of nests works well for me,

I went larger because my big beulah brahmas had trouble navigating the original 2x2.

 

Might want to think about chicken wire attached to bottom of rafters,

make them use the roosts so easier to manage manure,

and access birds off roosts at night for exams, banding, etc.

 

What do you have for ventilation in both coop and run?

I know it's cold as **** up there,

but you still need some fresh air coming in,

and moist ammonia laden air exhausted up as high as possible.

 

Got serious doubts about your waterer, not just that feed tube either.

System like that you really need circulation all the way to ends of pipes,

and vertical nipples are more apt leak(like you mentioned) and to freeze.

Time will tell tho....

Is the bucket insulated?

What kind of heater?

 

This has worked well for me the past 2 winters,

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/aarts-heated-waterer-with-horizontal-nipples

last year was pretty mild but the year before was brutal even down here.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 

I added an edit to say that we DID put perches in front of the nest boxes. For the first few months, we had the nest boxes covered with a tarp so the chickens wouldn't try to sleep in them. When we thought they'd be laying soon, we took the tarp down and added perches. I'll get a photo later today.

Right now, I don't mind that they get into the rafters. We put chicken wire all along the soffits so that at least they stay out of there :)

For ventilation we have vented soffits along both walls, west and east, and two 12"x12" gable vents on the north gable side (which goes into the run). Have plans to add a cupola to the coop, but that too will have to wait 'til next spring.

The run is still open (hardware cloth) to the east, just covered on the west and north sides, with the coop to its south side. The windows in the coop can also be opened at any time, with two of the windows facing east (away from prevailing winds). All windows are covered with hardware cloth, screws and washers, and then the edges of the hardware cloth covered by trim boards (not up yet in any of those photos, but up in real life!)


I love doing research and planning, so I checked out tons of other people's ideas for waterers. The Chicken Chick was the first place I saw the Chicken Fountain, which seemed to work in their Connecticut winters. This blog is basically what we followed for winterizing ours. This is our first year, and first winter, so we'll see, but it seems others have used these without too many problems in harsh winters. So, we'll see!

post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 

This is (I'm pretty sure) the heater we got for the 5-gallon bucket.

post #19 of 29

Oh, there's heat tape on pipes...I missed that part<doh>!....looks pretty good, cross yer fingers!

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #20 of 29

That's going be amazing! Such spoiled chickens!

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