my new breeder cages

well, I have been around chickens since the day I came home from the hospital as a baby so you think I would know not to buy more chickens if you don't have the coops already built, but I did it, I got lavender orps, bcm (both from Paul Bradshaw at Greenfire Farms, great to do business with by the way), buff bramas, black americanas and white americanas, oh yea and blue polish, so what do I do now, I guess I build, I decided I would build 6 connecting coops with a rain water capturing system that is cooled for summer and heated for winter as we get some pretty cold weather here and filled with fresh water every time it rains. I use a nipple system that is heat taped in the double layer coop and it works great, so it was a good place to start the new system will supply both sets of coops. I wanted sand in the runs because my property is very heavy clay and it gets muddy pretty fast, so I decided a sand box under the coops would work good since I have about 8 tons of sand left over from a septic job, so without further here are some pics of what I have done so far.


the design, I drew it up on google scketchup

this is how I connected the parts for the sand box

and the boxes completed, the runs will set on top of the boxes

some of the birds picking out there rooms


the delivery system

and the hardest part the sand, it took two loads per box


the help showed up just in time to level the sand in the last box, those bums


and the boxes filled with sand and leveled

putting the run walls together

it's much easier building them here before they go up


and here they are wired up and ready to go


the paint didnt turn out to be the color it was supposed to be so the pink side is going inside


hurts to look at doesn't it


and here is the outside color, was supposed to be red but the dear wife informed me the color had changed, so as usuall I'm just doing what I am told

I'm kinda liking this thing

gates are on

roof and pannels are on, the wite panel on the side is a vent cove, the bottom is open and the vent is covered with chicken wire, it doubles as a tool rack

here is how they get inside the coop, the outside roost also serves as a cool place to sleep in the heat

the inside, remember the pink, at least you cant see it now

and the back

one of my $5, 5 minuet pvc hopper feeders in each coop

is that an egg already

the water storage tank is 55 gallons and inside an insulated box, it is heated with two 100 wat light bulbs controlled by a thermo cube that is mounted inside the insulated box so it measures the inside temp rather than the ouside temp

here is the coolest part of the coop, rain collects on the roof an runs into the storage tank through the pvc pipes, there is an over flow pipe in the tank so when its full excess rain water it diverted out the back

a closer look

the pipe comes out of the tank storage box and into the runs under the coops, there are watering nipples in each coop and the pvc pipe is wrapped with heat tape and wrapped with insulation and duct tape

here you can see the water pipe running through the runs, I just love this system, it is low tec automatic and so far maint free, I have been using it all summer and have not had to fill the tank yet, a little rain is all it takes, and if the tank is full the fresh water flushes the tank leaving it full of water from that day although, I have checked the water after beeing in the tank for a month without rain and it was as fresh as the day it went in
I love this coop, it is low maint, easy to clean and easy on the eys not to mention the runs never get muddy and I never have to drag a hose out there or swap out frozen waterers and the birds can get in a dust bath anytime they want, so far this is the best coop I have built, but my wife got some silkies this summer so I will be building new coops again next summer, we are keeping them in the green tractor now, but when she starts to breed them, I'm gonna have to em built.