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Topic of the Week - Kitting out the Coop - Page 4

post #31 of 58

To keep weather out and make the runs more comfortable when the snow flies and temps dive, I've stapled 6 mil plastic onto firring strips that I screw to wood frames on the run. It enables me to re-use the plastic for several years running, ease in putting them up and taking them down, and the plastic is secured against being torn loose by high winds.

 

Flock scratch blocks provide all day entertainment.

 

On part of my run, I have permanent wind breaks that I created using discarded full length glass doors and on the open areas, I screw Coroplast double walled plastic panels to wood frames to protect against cold wind and snow getting in. Both runs are roofed over with fiberglass roof panels to keep out rain and snow. This creates a balmy environment inside on cold days, and the flock is very content to hang out inside.

 

Nest boxes have pine shavings in them, while the coops have sand on the floors over vinyl. The runs are also masonry sand, and the sand absorbs heat during the day and acts as a heat sink, moderating the overall indoor temperature, so it's often ten to fifteen degrees warmer inside than out. I do not heat my coops.

 

The plastic panels allow maximum light to pass through, creating an enjoyable winter habitat for the flock. These chickens spend much of the day pecking away at the flock block. I also give them squash, carrots, and apples and cabbages with an eye crew to hang them to further vary their diet and to create variety and interest which alleviates boredom.

post #32 of 58
- What bedding/material works best for the coop floor and the nest boxes? 

Pine shavings in the coop and nest boxes and run for us. We do deep bedding in the coop and run. Probably a good 5"-6" in there now. Works magnificently. No smell at all. We do have feed and water in the coop. PVC pipe feeders manage waste extremely well and the horizontal waterer does a great job of limiting leaks and spilled water. Bedding stays very dry.



30827419692_d6b2823cda_c.jpg

We use pine shavings in our sliding nest boxes as well. Seems the girls like that fine.



- How can you keep the coop dry, especially now, over the winter months?

The coop is dry year round. We have a large amount of covered ventilation at the top of the north and south walls. The combination of roof overhang and using foundation vents on the exterior does not allow blowing rain to get into the coop.

These opening are covered by the front roof extension...





These opening are on the south side and are the ones covered with louvered foundation vents.



External view.



- Roosts and nest boxes - How many do you provide, how much space on the roosts, what do you use as nest boxes and how do you make them attractive for the hens, etc?

I have sliding nest boxes mounted under the poop tray. They slide back to the wall for privacy and slide out for easy egg access. I have 4 nest boxes. Only 4 hens at this point but prepared for expansion in the future. Most of the time all 4 lay in the same box now.

Slid out.



Slid in. You can see the roosts here as well. We have 18' of roost available. Much more than we need but good to go for future flock additions.



- What "boredom busters" can you provide to amuse and distract bored, cooped up birds when the weather is really bad? 

We have assorted things in the run such as a roost, assorted stumps etc..., dust bath, what we lovingly call the stripper pole which is a 4x4 with 2x3's screwed around it. Also recently added a swing. We're also stockpiling leaves this fall which I'm adding a pile of them into the run from time to time. Pumpkins, weeds, whatever I have to add. WE have an additional area outside the run that is fenced for them to have more space occasionalluy. They don't seem bored.







We also have some stumps, concrete blocks etc... in the coop. Handful of scratch into the deep bedding seems to occupy them for extended periods of time.



- What else do you provide/do to make sure the flock is happy and comfortable in there?

The biggest thing for winter was the sinter curtains on the run. They are 6 mil green house poly that I have attached to 1/23" metal conduit "curtain rods". The poly is secured to the conduit with pieces of 1/2" thin wall PVC that I cut 1/3 off of. The PVC snaps super tightly onto the metal conduit but is still easily removable to remove and store the curtains for future use.




Edited by TerryH - 12/13/16 at 6:17am

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

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 #33 of 58

this is our coop and run set-up for the winter to keep it dry, the tarps on the side are greenhouse tarps which are white and clear. since the picture was taken I enclosed the front top and put clear plastic on the door. the end of the roof near the coop is open but under the overhang for ventilation,

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #34 of 58

- What bedding/material works best for the coop floor and the nest boxes? 

 

I have a base of construction sand in my coop topped with about 6" of pine shavings in the winter. it keeps my girls warm but it's soft enough my Orpington's can jump off the roosts onto the floor and not hurt themselves. 

 

- How can you keep the coop dry, especially now, over the winter months?

 

 Water is only offered outside and the door has an overhang of about 1.5' to help shield it form the rare north rain we get.

 

- Roosts and nest boxes - How many do you provide, how much space on the roosts, what do you use as nest boxes and how do you make them attractive for the hens, etc?

 

I have 5 girls laying right now so I offer 2 nest boxes. Everyone uses the same one and I'm pretty sure no one has even sat in the other one. My family owns a gun store so my nest boxes are wooden ammo crates. :-) They're set back on the south wall of the coop so they're pretty quiet and dark naturally. We cut down a good sized Dogwood last yr so I build my roosts out of the larger branches. With just a little sanding, they worked perfectly! 

 

I just got 15 more chicks so I'll be added 2 to 4 more nest boxes this summer when they start laying. 

 

- What "boredom busters" can you provide to amuse and distract bored, cooped up birds when the weather is really bad? 

 

My girls free range even in the winter but I still offer home made flock blocks that I hide around the yard and veggies. 

 

- What else do you provide/do to make sure the flock is happy and comfortable in there?

 

 When we get really cold ( 32*F or below) I thrown some straw on top of the coop and then toss a heavy duty canvas semi trap over it (I have a Hoop house coop so it works pretty well.) That alone keeps the coop 5* to 10*F warmer then the outside air temp. If it's really really cold or we have bad winds, I open the garage and everyone roosts in there. Scared my husband the first time he walked out and came face to face with my Delaware. 

Happy and proud mom of a 4 yr old boy, two German Shepherds, one Pitbull, and not enough chickens. 1 Spangled/Mottled Orpington, 1 Blue Andalusian,  5 Easter Eggers (4 hens, 1 Roo), 1 black sexlink, 1 red sexlink, 1 gold sexlink, 3 Cuckoo Marans, 1 Chocolate Orpington, 1 Blue Cochin (LF), 2 Barnevelder, 1 Black Copper Marans, 1 Whiting True Blue, 1 Buff Orpington, 3 Millie Fleur Bantam Cochins,...
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Happy and proud mom of a 4 yr old boy, two German Shepherds, one Pitbull, and not enough chickens. 1 Spangled/Mottled Orpington, 1 Blue Andalusian,  5 Easter Eggers (4 hens, 1 Roo), 1 black sexlink, 1 red sexlink, 1 gold sexlink, 3 Cuckoo Marans, 1 Chocolate Orpington, 1 Blue Cochin (LF), 2 Barnevelder, 1 Black Copper Marans, 1 Whiting True Blue, 1 Buff Orpington, 3 Millie Fleur Bantam Cochins,...
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post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazedCowgirl View Post

Scared my husband the first time he walked out and came face to face with my Delaware. 
gig.gif
Lovin' my life in the country with my animals and my family! And a proud owner of a Beagle!

~henny1129
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Lovin' my life in the country with my animals and my family! And a proud owner of a Beagle!

~henny1129
Reply
post #36 of 58
I totally understand the need for the fence under you situation. Now for the the BEST chickens anybody can ever have, my wife just can not suck it up & eat the girls we raise. She's too close to them. I did trick her one time & cooked one night & she said that was the best chicken she ever had. One of our gust had to run his mouth & that was the end of that. I now invite friends over to take care of the fresh chicken for their freezers & cooker!

All in all, raising chickens has became a very big & enjoyable part of our lives! Wouldn't change a thing! Our vacations are spending time with our girls! Getting more chicks this coming spring.
post #37 of 58
Wow is that chicken really eating at the table from a bowl? What a well mannered chicken. Now i can say ive seen it all.

post #38 of 58

- What bedding/material works best for the coop floor and the nest boxes? 

 

We've got stall mats in our coop- use the compressed pine pellets that come in 40lb bags- mist water and they also turn into material suitable for dust bathing, which is important when several months of the year are... mud.  Nest boxes have a variety of straw that wicks together really well to thwart the hens that like to toss all the loose straw all over the coop.

 

 

 

- How can you keep the coop dry, especially now, over the winter months?

 

The compressed pellets actively manage to keep the floor dry for 26 chickens - only needs changing every 6 or so months (big run attached).  Most of the droppings wind up on the roost tables or in their large run.

 

Water is in the coop- use a 2 gallon bucket, pvc and poultry cups.  Have had great luck with them- multiple birds, sometimes up to 6 drink from the same cup at the same time, very little splashing, only had one minor leak, easily fixed.

 

 

 

- Roosts and nest boxes - How many do you provide, how much space on the roosts, what do you use as nest boxes and how do you make them attractive for the hens, etc?

 

Did roosting tables with double roosting bars, allows birds a way around each other- they can go under the roost on the table, they can hop to the parallel roost , or jump across to one of the window roosts- lots of ways "out".  Tables also have thin rubber mat with Sweet pdz to absorb the mess, easy cleaning with a cat litter scoop and a 5 gallon bucket for collection.


11 nest boxes of various shapes and sizes.

 

- What "boredom busters" can you provide to amuse and distract bored, cooped up birds when the weather is really bad? 

 

Pumpkins this time of year- lots to peck at and they love it.  Flock blocks are also a great distraction.  We've done cabbage tetherball but things stay most orderly with large, fixed items on the ground with this many chickens.  Some alfalfa hay, heavy on leaves, makes good picking too, though I prefer to have that outside the coop.

 

- What else do you provide/do to make sure the flock is happy and comfortable in there?

 

Keeping it clean!

20 layers of various breeds, 1 rooster, and four F2 Super Blues- 2 pullets and 2 cockerels at 15 weeks old, and 16 chicks who jumped into my cart at the feed store!
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20 layers of various breeds, 1 rooster, and four F2 Super Blues- 2 pullets and 2 cockerels at 15 weeks old, and 16 chicks who jumped into my cart at the feed store!
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post #39 of 58
I love the pics you all have provided.
 

- What bedding/material works best for the coop floor and the nest boxes?   In the coop, I use leaves, and when available, add grass clippings.  I collect bagged leaves from surrounding towns in the fall, and set aside the bags of dry leaves for the coop.  I do deep litter, however, have found that in a wood floored coop, it never composts.  (the rest go in the garden, run, HK, orchard.  Never enough.)  In the nest, I use hay.  

 

- How can you keep the coop dry, especially now, over the winter months?  Keep topping off with leaves.  If I run out, I resort to shavings or hay.  Do a partial clean out in the spring.  Water kept in coop over the winter:  heated dog bowl with milk jug making a "moat".  I can't stress enough how very important it is to provide lots of ventilation, especially in the winter.  My coop has gable and eave vents, 18 s.f. of windows, a floor level louvered vent, in addition to the pop door.  

 

- Roosts and nest boxes - How many do you provide, how much space on the roosts, what do you use as nest boxes and how do you make them attractive for the hens, etc?  Roosts:  2 x 4' on the flat with edges "eased", spaced about 15" apart, and 15" from the wall, 2.5' from floor.  2 roosts, each 10' long.  Other perching opportunities on their hay bale stack.  Behind the perches, there is a nice big clean out door to make it easy to slide all that rich bedding into the run so the birds can then turn it into lovely black compost.  Nest boxes:  3 over 3, with large dish pans as a base.  Those are screwed in place so they are not tippy, yet they are easily unscrewed for cleaning.  Upper set of nest boxes has a tip up perch that can simply be raised in late afternoon (to block those nests) if there are birds that have a desire to fowl the nest at night!  However, by far, their favorite nest has been a large crate placed in the broody area that I built.  They seem to flip flop back and forth re: favorite nest.  Nests are adorned with golf balls and weighted Easter eggs.  Lined with hay.  Outside access to nest boxes.  (boxes are built into the foot print of the coop to help prevent frozen eggs.)  In the winter, I often line them with cardboard for extra insulation.  May put the cardboard UNDER the dish pans this season to keep them from shredding it.  Nests often have aromatic herbs in them:  oregano, citronella (my favorite), and mint.  

 

- What "boredom busters" can you provide to amuse and distract bored, cooped up birds when the weather is really bad?   By far, the most important thing one can do is keep plenty of space in your coop.  It's so easy to have too many birds in your available space.  Every fall, I "thin the herd" to keep winter numbers down.  IMO, the smaller the set up, the more space needed per bird.  My coop is 120 s.f. with a raised broody pen.  At most, I've wintered 23 birds.  This year, there are now 16, including Jack.  The birds LOVE hay bales.  I have 3 bales, stacked with a space between the bottom 2, and a 3rd bale on top so they have a little tunnel to run through.  For safety, I put a piece of plywood under that top bale so there won't be any collapsing accidents.  They love multiple height opportunities.  I also have a wooden ladder (resurrected from an almost bunk bed) and the raised broody area.  Lots of natural light:  3 thermopane windows, and 1 full sized thermopane door, resurrected from the town dump.  Sun room built in the run to allow them to be outside.  Pop door open every day that is above 0*F

 

- What else do you provide/do to make sure the flock is happy and comfortable in there?  I often toss some scratch into the litter to keep it fluffed up.  Will also be sprouting grains to provide winter greens.  When we get into a deep freeze, and as I run out of dry leaves, I'll bust open a bale of hay for them.  That will provide hours of entertainment.  


Edited by lazy gardener - 12/13/16 at 6:07am

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-lazy-gardener

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

https://tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/

Reply

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-lazy-gardener

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

https://tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/

Reply
post #40 of 58
- What bedding/material works best for the coop floor and the nest boxes?
Wood chips. Medium sized ones. I have tried various other products and was disappointed.

- How can you keep the coop dry, especially now, over the winter months?
Just keep adding new bedding.

- Roosts and nest boxes - How many do you provide, how much space on the roosts, what do you use as nest boxes and how do you make them attractive for the hens, etc?
We have a couple, but they always like to crowd together.

- What "boredom busters" can you provide to amuse and distract bored, cooped up birds when the weather is really bad?
They get to go out to the run a lot of days. It has a roof and we put plywood on the bottom half to block snowing and wind. We don't make them stay in until temperatures are really cold. (and they protest when we don't let them)

- What else do you provide/do to make sure the flock is happy and comfortable in there?
We live in Michigan. And it gets cold. I have had problems when I tried to heat the coop, so we don't. (When the power goes out, they are not used to the cold) we do however do something that others refuse to, we keep the water in the coop with a tank defrosted in it. It helps make the coop a little warmer and was the only way to keep it from freezing when it gets -20.
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