A fresh start, rebuilding my chicken farm, with lots of pics!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BGMatt, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Battle Ground, WA
    I wanted to make a thread to chronicle my return to poultry, it's been over 5 years since I had any significant number of birds or have been breeding. I have a few old grow out pens and brooders that will be used, but I want to focus on two main projects in this thread. The first is constructing new breeding pens. My primary interest is in large fowl and I have decided on three rare breeds, which I am looking to expand into over the next couple years in no particular order (adding one breed every 6-12 months until I have all three. Those breeds are Chanteclers, Langshans, and White Faced Black Spanish. Since all three are so rare, and good bloodlines scare I wasn't sure what type of breeding program I wanted to follow, then I read the Homesteading Heritage Fowl thread here and combined with some off site research decided on rotational breeding with four pens. This means for each breed I need 4 equal size breeding pens (I decided on 8' x 6') per each breed, plus grow out and since I will be showing as well, living quarters for the show birds.


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    This is well the first bank of breeding pens will go. I want to try and keep them in this pre-fenced area of my property for now, the fence was originally put up to separate geese into breeding pens. The piles in the background are the old nesting shelters after I reclaimed this area from the blackberries. The land is fairly flat but perfectly flat doesn't matter since I will be attaching hardware cloth to the underside of the pens to stop predators from digging in, deep shavings will be used on top of the wire to protect the birds' feet. The lean-to in the background is the focus of the second subject of this thread which I'll talk about in next post.


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    Framing of the bottom of the pens has begun. I am going with a lean-to design because I am no great carpenter but have used similar designs with great success in this climate before. The wooden posts in the center background of this shot show where my second bank of breeding pens will go later this year. The entire structure will measure 8' x 24', divided into four 6' pens.


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    I put the hardware cloth on with wide head screws every 8" and then with the help of the neighbor flipped the entire thing over. The pens are positioned 6' from the fence on the back and 4' on the far side. I will come back later and attach fencing to the pens and a netting over the top and that area will serve as a shared run for the breeding pens. as well as free ranging within the fenced area under supervision due to many predators in the area. I had originally planned to use the wood posts and fence frame as part of the run but there would have been too much waste material which would have driven up costs and made project slow and painful.


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    This is the stopping point for day one of construction. This week after work I will attach the front posts and the runners for the roof. The back of the pens will be sheeted in plywood with 2' of hardware cloth (6' posts), the two sides will also have a sheet of plywood, with wire covering the gap between that and the roof.
     
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  2. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Part two of my projects will be the remodel of "The Cage" which is a 16' x ~24' structure. Originally the roof was built for a planned garden shed and tractor storage (using existing fence lines as part of structure and boundaries), but when the turkeys that I had bought to free range started disappearing I hurried cobbled together walls from whatever scraps I had lying around.

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    The front of the building. All this wire will be coming off, replaced by Hardware cloth.

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    The left side. My current plan is to replace the old and un-preserved OSB with actual painted and preserved plywood, and the wire at the back with hardware cloth. This side will be framed up in 4'x8' runs with hardware cloth floors that open into the center that will be a shared "run". These will serve to replace current grow out pens, bantam birds, or living quarters for show birds, whatever is needed at the time.

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    This side needs the most work. Will have to frame up and add wood to the sides, replace all the field wire with hardware cloth, frame the far end in 4'x8' pens like I'm going to do with the other side, opening into the middle again. Also bonus shot of the current residents, a khaki campbell who had his mate killed by a predator (which is why the hog panels tied to the ground on the outside of this run that you can see in the picture) and three birds of unknown mix that were dropped off at my store and are being quarantined before going to my parent's flock. The turkeys were re-homed to a loving family who plans to breed them a couple weeks ago. The Campbell will be going to live with my geese (and hopefully maybe gain some other duck friends at some point.)

    So as you can see from these two posts have a lot on my plate but when I'm done with these two projects I will end up with four 6'x8' breeding pens, eight 4'x8' general use pens with a ~8'x16' shared run. Any comments appreciated, also suggestions on alternate ways to remodel "The Cage" as I won't be starting on that one for a couple weeks so those plans aren't set in stone. When these two projects are done I will be redoing my old obsolete pens, but they're staying up for now in case I need to use them for grow out pens for some chicks I have in the brooders right now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  3. TK421

    TK421 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very interested in your progress. How does it end????? :)
     
  4. Stumpy

    Stumpy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a huge project and it looks like you've made a great start. [​IMG]
     
  5. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Stumpy, I don't view it as a huge project despite the work to be done because even at completion it will only be a fraction of what I once had (Edit: actually I just added up the total square footage and I think it'll be the same or bigger after I finish the first two and then the further plans mentioned below, just less birds due to new philosophy on breeding and raising), but if I keep my plans simple it's fast to build and not a lot of scrap which keeps cost down even if I'm building with new materials.

    TK421, it ends with 2 more sets of the 6'x8' pens, and eight more 4'x8' pens although I'm not sure what form those will take (Either a straight run of them or two sets facing another with a yard in between). Or at least I think it does...one never knows with chicken math, but once those are completed that should be more than enough work to keep me busy for the next 40+ years, and if not? There's still plenty of room to expand out here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  6. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So the weather hasn't been cooperative this week, but I did have time to put up the front posts and most the cross braces. Now it looks like this:


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    The outer braces are at 4' to accommodate plywood, the inner braces are at 3'. I plan on using pvc "hardware cloth" (which is 3') to seperate the interior pens since the outside of the pen will be predator proof the dividers can be made with cheaper material and save me some money. I miscalculated the number of studs I would need for middle dividers so there will be one additional brace at 6'.


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    Sunday is supposed to be nice weather, that should let me put on the additional cross braces and a skilled neighbor is going to help me frame the doors on the front. Hopefully I will be able to get the runners on for the roof as well.

    In the long run these pens will be for the rare breeds I'm trying to acquire, but in the short term while I'm building and remodeling they'll probably hold some of the other birds, so I thought I'd share some pictures of my growing 5 week old chicks.


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    This is my little Silver Gray Dorking cockerel, I'm assuming he is standard sized, but I have never raised the breed before so don't know.

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    This pretty crest belongs to my White Crested Blue Polish Bantam.

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    This is the solitary Mottled Houdan in the batch.

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    This is the other half of the Silver Gray Dorking pair. Only a pair but I lucked out getting that. All the chicks were purchased from the Prairie Hatcher 4-H club fundraiser, who in turn got them from Duane Urch.
     
  7. Kjordanov

    Kjordanov Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2012
    NW
    I love that style of coop! Thinking of using it for birds in the summer here (and sheep/goats in winter). I live in northern BC Canada so this wouldn't be suitable for poultry when it's -40C.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Cool project! Are you going to get those floor frames and hardware cloth up off the ground?
    Be a shame to do all that work and have it rot from the wet ground contact.
     
  9. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kjordanov, yeah I've had all sorts of coops and runs over the years but my favorite and most successful design has been open air lean-to. Thankfully I don't have to deal with those extreme temps here!

    Aart, oddly enough I have never had an issue with stuff rotting away (well other than osb that never got painted), so I'm hoping that continues. I wish I could still access my old coops before I moved as they are built in similar style and are approaching 15 years old now and some are still being used. So as long as I can get close to that amount of time out of these I will be happy, and by that time I hope to have bigger and better options available.

    Slow start to mornin here but hopefully will have a big update later today.
     
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  10. Kjordanov

    Kjordanov Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2012
    NW
    Yeah It looks like a great coop that would be useful for many animals.
     

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