the girls had a strawberry festival today.
Describe 'Alsea River, OR Miss Kat's Chicken Shack' here: Well, this is my first attempt at providing a Bed and Breakfast for chickens!!!! This is about two weeks into it. We had a raised platform in the yard for six years. We are located on the Alsea River and once a year or every two a flood happens. We built a 12x12 run off the side as seen here, putting galvanized poultry wire 6 inches into the ground and bending it out as read about here on BYC. We then drizzled dry bags of Post Mix (concrete $3 a bag x 10 bags) in the trench and added water. Then put the dirt and grass back over the cement.
I found some shade cloth (36 yards x36 yards!!!! for $40) on craigslist. I measured the run and marked out the size adding one foot on each side and placed rocks on the driveway and laid out the huge piece of shadecloth and cut it with scissors from corner to corner. It is lightweight and very easy to work with. It feels like netting made from pepsi bottles. I carried it over to the run (we had nailed 2x4 treated boards across from side to side) and laid it on top and squared it up. There are 4x4 posts as you see in the photo with caps on them. I used black cable ties to secure the shadecloth to the posts and all around the place, catching up the shadecloth, the wire and the wood. Trimmed the extending cable tie piece off. I don't know if I am leaving the one foot all around hanging or if I will snug it up to the top piece of wood when it is all done to tidy it up. Where there were small holes in the cloth I gathered it up and closed with zip ties. It was super easy. The board closest to the hen house we left loose so that I can peel back the shadecloth if I ever had to work on the hen house.
The metal roof was $94 for four pieces of 3 ft wide by 12 feet. Framing for the coop was Army fiberglass tent poles we bought for $2.00 each at an Army Surplus place. And the metal "arch pieces" were $10 each. We also bought metal "feet" that the poles fit into and screwed them onto the platform. The hen house is 8x8x8x8. The front porch is 4 feet under overhang. There are four corner poles and two side pole sets, and the roof is four feet run from the top to the sides. We had dock foam blocks left over from a broken dock and my husband attached them to support boards and hung them to the roof frame for insulation. We had old windows from a travel trailer we had scrapped out and put three of them in the project.
We also had left over sheets (4) of greenhouse polystyrene sheets that became the front windows at the front door. These allow light in and provide a huge amount of insulation. We bought two air vents ($5) and hinges, screws, door handles, the front door, and electric parts at the local Habitat for Humanity - a great source of cheap stuff. The door and frame was $20. Hardware $10.00. We bought a huge piece of vinyl there for the floor for $20.00. They also sell used windows there for really cheap. I found the threshold at our local dump today when I took the household trash there - FREE. Also picked up three more gallons of paint - FREE. And a shelf for the coop - FREE.
We bought "mistake paint" at the local Walmart, $10 a gallon for blue and the maroon. (two Gallons) I mixed them together to make purple trim for some of the edges. I am not a painter LOL. But I had fun doing it. Now I have extra paint from the dump run.
Here you can see the side of the hen house that I can see from my porch of my house, which is five feet off the ground. You can see the river on the right. We put the poultry wire all around the platform and covered it with old lattice (plastic) I had and spraypainted it black ($3.50). See the metal roof. These are two of the windows from the scrapped travel trailer. The white bucket is for feed, and came from the local restaurant supply store ($30). We went to the local woodworking guy and asked him where we could find shavings. He gave us six bags!!!! and told us every week just come around and pick the stuff up!!! We have a gray bucket for that that is the same size as the white one. Those are incense cedars along the back of the house, and they provide a great wind break from the river. When you cut them they smell awesome and this genus is what they make pencils out of.
This is the back of the house with the clean out door. We haven't attached the hardware yet, but at Habitat we acquired two hydraulic door closers for $3 each to hold the flap up when cleaning out the coop into my wheelbarrow for composting. Note the man gate for the chicken yard. Just leftover plywood. I can walk in the chicken yard - I'm 5'6" so I guess it is about 6 ft tall in there under the shadecloth. Another window from the scrapped travel trailer.
The salmon fishermen on the river have been hilarious trying to figure out what the heck we were building. They would drive their boats by very slow every day watching the progress so today I gave them the big clue!!!! I am not an artist!!! Can you tell?
We watched a video (google "using milk crates for nesting boxes" where a guy makes these trays that slide out of milk crates for the hens. Well, the crates were marked down to $2 at Target, the trays mysteriously get in the car when you carry take out into the vehicle to have a lap table to eat off of or you can buy them at the local restaurant supply store for $4. We plan on putting a shelf on the wall over the run door, putting the crates on the shelf, and running a 2x4 across the front to hold the trays and eggs in . The trays would then slide out to wash off when needed under the 2x4. We have 8 of these to install tomorrow. The swimming pool might become their dust bath. I am not sure yet. But a note here, if you have inside kitties they make great litter boxes!!!! $8 at Dollar General.
We also had an old run of hand rail from our deck. It has three cutouts where the 2x4 board fits in to keep you from falling off the deck. I resurrected 8 feet of it to install on the inside under the two windows and the bottom 2x4 becomes one perch and I have old closet rods for the other two perches, the top one being just under the windows so the hens can watch me on the porch watch them. I cut a bunch of bamboo from a corner of the yard the other day and trimmed it up like fishing poles and I might get three of them and lash them together (I was a Girl Scout once) and use for another perch place out in the run. I read somewhere that you have to cut grooves in the bamboo for their little chicken feet to hang on to, so I thought three together would eliminate the need to cut slits in them.
I bought two bicycle hooks today for $3 to put in the top of the house to hang the feeder and waterer from and I plan to use decorative white plastic chain for this. Back to Habitat for that, I can use hanging light fixture chain also. My husband wired it up for a hanging light to keep things warm in the winter and he had a photovoltaic switch hanging around that he installed that will turn the light on when needed. I bought a light for $13 at the local ACE and a 250 watt bulb for $5.
So, a nice lady on here told me what kind of feed to buy and she offered me three Barred hens from her flock to get started. All I need is to hang the nesting crates, install the roosting perches, put the shavings in, install the hardware and one last gate at the front of the house into the run, get the feeder and waterer and hope I do things right!
Going to attend the Corvallis Oregon Chicken Swap in October to add to the flock. With the first three I will be confident enough to add 5-6 more girls to the family. I make stained glass art so I am going to try to make some chicken related work to take with me to trade.
I also have a Live Freight Cargo Transport business that I work and thankfully my husband raised birds and sheep when he was younger.
Some of the girls. I picked blackberries for them today.
Day three of chicken motherhood. You can't herd a flock.
Just some detail of the yard, the chicken ladder and the hens, Day 3
My nesting boxes and feed station. Gravity feeder for pellets, I screwed two metal cat dishes to a piece of 2x4 for the grit and oyster shell, and the waterer. See their ladder? The top rails are for a third row of nesting boxes if we need them. There is vinyl on the floor.
The roosting bars in front of the poop door.
Me watching the hens in the play yard. It is 11 x 11, galvanized poultry fence and shade cloth. I am installing a tarp over the entire top and side before the rain starts. That is the man door on the back right.