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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BlackSilkey, May 29, 2008.
Need a Cute 3 Black Silkey Bantam coop.Ideas plz
I posted this on a board of friends, so excuse any knowledge of DLM that you already had, but hopefully it'll give you an idea. I use an old dog crate for my two recently rescued bantams at night, and then they have free range during the day (they generally don't get much further than five feet from the coop) - the crate is located just inside a barn door.
So, I want to make their digs nicer, and easy to clean. I don't plan on having them in there for too long, but who knows what'll happen.
As you can see, chickens are not the most cleanly of animals.
(I had rinsed out and refilled that water dish less than a half hour before)
To remedy this, I've decided to use the Deep Litter Method. This involves laying down a thick carpet of pine shavings, with a dusting of diotomaceous earth above and below. How it works is you stir the litter once a week or so, which actually starts the composting process. You add another inch or two of litter once it starts to look a bit too dirty, and then do a total cleaning, replacing all the litter, every six months. The old litter is fantastic compost. The diatomaceous earth keeps mites away, and helps with humidity (not an issue for me, since I'm using a crate).
This is why you should always try to shop locally. I went to the nearby feed store, and they sold me a 44 pound bag of DE for $12. Online, I noticed it's that same price for a 4 pound bag.
They also had pine shavings!
First step is to get the bottom of the crate out, and clean that poop off.
Next, you need to make some walls to hold in the litter. POWER-TOOLS TIME!
Kick the chickens out of their home for a while, so that you can measure.
Cut that stuff up.
Fits perfectly (after some extra cuts).
Open up the d. earth - it's dusty as hell.
Sprinkle it on the floor of the cage.
Watch the chickens for a little while.
Time to open up the pine shavings:
Fill it up with about four inches of shavings, and then sprinkle another dusting of d. earth on. I had planned on just letting the back be deeper, since that's where they roost (and poop) at night, but I did end up making a small wall for the front. Finished!
Heyyyy, the chickens are coming over to investigate!
...and snubbing all my hard work, the jerks.
That's okay...they're still pretty cute.
I feel that this coop is only humanely big enough for two chickens, and not as a full time coop (though they spent the last six years in a rabbit cage smaller than this ), but it does work well for me. I know there are many sizes of dog crates, and people often trying to get rid of them on craigslist and the like. Even though it's not the most beautiful of setups, by recycling the dog crate and using old scrap wood, the only cost I had was for the pine shavings and DE.
Is that DE food grade? It seems very cheap!
It is indeed. To quote the feed store lady "nobody buys this stuff!" So I think she gave me a deal on it.
Quote:Check out the Coop Design section, if you haven't already done so. There's a section on small coops and tractors that has some great ideas.
We have a modified Chick-N-Barn/Yard for our Silkies and it's worked great for them, especially after I made the "day-time run addition for it.
Hope this helps!
Quote:There'a a page on the Deep Litter Method already started at the Learning Center.
I've learned that you can't always trust what the "feed store" people always tell you. Some of them will say what "they" think you want to hear, whether it's correct, or not! A sale is a sale...
Personallly, I won't buy Red Lake Earth because Food Grade DE should be white (http://wolfcreekranch1.tripod.com/defaq.html) and not just 85% DE as an absorbant as the Red Lake Earth claims to be...
You really should have started a seperate post for this as BlackSilkies post didn't ask about anything that you posted. They simply asked about a coop for 3 Silkies!
Dawn, always willing to discuss the benefits of food grade DE
If you can afford it, an eglu would be great for them. Pricey, though.
I thinkthe eglu looks ulgy and to expansive.
That's a hoot Unprofessional! I too have a black Silkie and a Mille Fleur d'Uccle.. only mine is a pullet.... and I am trying to figure out the best way to do that very same thing with the sides of the cage they are in. Of course, they will be going out to a coop soon anyways.... but I do hope to get some Seramas and will still have the same problem with everything getting kicked everywhere I was thinking of using plexi so I could still see them
Red Lake is only 85% DE
I use it in coop, other pet areas & wood pile!
I use food grade for their food which is pure white!
People used to mix Red Lake in food for LARGE live stock (I am not sure why everyone stopped just did)
I wouldn't use for chickens!