I have been involved with chickens on and off for 14 years. Had to take a break while husband spent some time with the Army, but I jumped right back into it as soon as he was out! We also added Saxony ducks this year, and they've been everything they're said to be! (except quiet...)
At first we thought we'd only have a small group of layers. So we bought a metal 8x10 shed kit, chopped a bunch of holes in it for windows, and built a run.
Pretty basic, right? The sliding doors on the front got annoying, so we swapped them out for wooden barn style doors. Ricca, our female German Shepherd, kept jumping at the chickens for fun from outside the run, even though she knew it was wrong. She looked for reasons to be near the coop just so she could! So we built a fence around the coop. Then we got the ducks, and needed to add an additional run, and we split the building in half to give each their own side. So, it has grown into this...
The chickens have a covered run filled with sand for easy care, the ducks have 2 tons of gravel in the bottom of their run, for water control from the pool, and easy clean up with a hose. Each group gets 130 +/- sq ft of indoor/outdoor space, and free range time when I'm out there. We lost 1 duck to a hawk this year, no more!
All windows in the coop are covered in hardware cloth. The runs are also covered in hardware cloth, with 2x4 welded wire fence for the roof. Netting is used over that to prevent free loading wildlife from having access to the feed. Latches with carabiners, heavy duty staples and U nails, and the hardware cloth and wire roof prevent coon and hawk access.
We have 6 chickens... Goldie, the leader, a Golden Lakenvelder. Splashes, a Splash Maran, Blue, Blue Maran, Wheaties, a Wheaten Maran, Hammie, Silver Spangled Hamburg, and Wellie, a Welsummer.
Then we have 2 pair of Saxony ducks, a nice quality pair and a breeder quality pair. Duke and Duchess, and Earl and Countess, along with Quackers, the rescue Black Swedish hen. Once hatch time rolls around Quackers will be crated over night to avoid confusion on who's egg is who's.
Ducks are REALLY MESSY! They throw water everywhere. As a solution, I built an indoor water station, that has really done wonders to keep the coop clean and dry. It is a wooden frame built around a plastic tote, with hardware cloth over the top to support the waterer. When they splash in it, the water falls through the wire into the tote, keeping everything around it dry. There is a handle on the side of the frame, to make it easy to lift to retrieve the tote for dumping.
The "guard" dogs, Ricca and Logan. Ricca is 6 years old, and Logan is 3.
We're a young couple really just getting started in life, but we have been married for 11 years now. The critters are our kids, and they receive the best possible care, spoiled they are!
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