Hen House: 99 square feet
We began with the hen house design. Large enough to accommodate 20-25 hens. Two banks of nest boxes and a very open design. A wire divider can be added to create a small area for brooding chicks and includes one of the nest boxes for broody hens.
Aviary: 63 square feet
The Aviary was added after we completed the main Hen House because we felt we needed more room to expand! It is fully secure and can be seperated from the Hen House or integrated.
- We use course construction sand as the flooring in all of our chicken coops & pens.
- 2X4’s as roosts for perching
We're still working on making things pretty. We've also learned that we can split this large structure in half right down the middle for two smaller areas for a pair or trio.
We have stripped the inside from it's original setup, it's now only sand with two perches, one on either side. I didn't end up liking the nest boxes and they were in the way when we wanted to divide it. I've since been converted to storage totes as nest boxes and am very happy with them. When the house goes back to a single coop configuration, we'll build some shelves along the back wall again to set the storage totes on top of.
We just love this place otherwise!
Update August 2011 - 3 years after construction
So we're finally ready to call it permanent. I decided on a permanent perch setup that would accommodate how we will run our poultry in the future. It of course takes time, in my case 3 years before I realized what systems work best for us.
Each time you have to take the time to try something you also have to try it long enough to find it's advantages & disadvantages. I still adore our open air coop, for certain will not be changing that at all. But the floor material fluxuates between sand and straw depending on the time of year, how much time we have available and our budget. I may not have time to load & haul the sand after a replacement, so we will use straw for a week or two until we do have time. Now, I still don't have permanent shelves in for the nest boxes, and that is still the plan. What I have done is changed out the perches to accommodate 36-50 birds and we are working on a narrower door and doorway. The reason is, we took up some of the doorway space, as you'll see in the photo, to put in a perch. We only lost 12" in width on the doorway, it's still PLENTY wide and the compromise is totally worth it. So, at this point, I still need a new door and to install nest box shelves along the back wall for the plastic tubs I intend to continue using. Right now all nest boxes are located on the floor in the "aviary" to the right.