Hutch brooder/coop - using 2 Ware Chick-n-Hutches - Evolution of the Chicken Master Plan!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Aeropennchick, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    PROLOGUE:

    One day three weeks ago, Aeropennchick and her DH had an hour to kill before an eye Dr. appt. Aero suggests they visit the mall and get pedicures (which they have never done, but sounded like the sort of thing people do in preparation for flip flops, and the weather had been unseasonably warm). DH reminds his wife that he does not own flip flops, nor does he have any desire to purchase them in the foreseeable future. This was not the only protest, but it was the only G rated one.

    Why don't we visit the Tractor Supply, honey? I was in there yesterday for lawnmower blades and they had peeps!

    Well this was a readily accepted substitute for a pedicure. After staring at the three day old chicks for about five minutes, and speaking quietly among themselves, our fearless couple decides that Today Is The Day that we finally take our first step toward self sufficiency. We need to start using our thirty acres! And we should definitely start...with a few of these fuzzy little guys.

    After picking the brain of a very helpful chick care expert at the TSC, four red pullets and two buff orpingtons were stuffed in a box and accompanied the pair to the eye Dr, and then to their new home.

    Purchased:
    Ware Chick-N-Hutch - on sale for $99.99
    Waterer and Feeder - one gallon hanging type - $4.99 each
    Electrolyte powder mix for the water - $5.99
    Waaay too big bag of chick starter crumbles - $9.99
    Brooder thermometer - $1.99
    6 chicks - about $14.00

    Chapter 1: The chicks come home!

    To make the hutch coop into a brooder, the front edge was lined with cardboard from some old shipping boxes, and the perch was used as a hangar for the feeder and waterer using a few nails and two old wire coat hangars. The coat hangars allowed for the height to be adjusted as the feathered kids got taller.

    An old piece of scrap 2x2 was screwed onto one corner and a light and red bulb was screwed into that, so the height could be adjusted for temperature without causing too much damage to the hutch itself.


    [​IMG]he

    The chicks loved their new home, and the furry kids were very interested in the new additions to the family. The dachshund, in fact, thought this was a personal gift for him, and shark-attacked his sister, the coonhound, in her nose when she got too close. This mistaken assumption was immediately corrected by our fearless couple. Not everything in the house belongs to this dachshund, after all.
     
  2. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southern PA
    Chapter 2: The Fearless Couple Become Educated Chicken People

    Aero and her DH had successfuly raised three (reasonably) well behaved, healthy dogs, been slave to several healthy but unappreciative cats, and also looked after various mice, hamsters, rats, gerbils, budgies, fish, and turtles in their day, BUT chickens were an entirely new frontier. So a chicken book was purchased for $14.99 and Backyardchickens was discovered.

    While our DH was quite busy doing man things, Aero immersed herself in chicken lore, and worried incessantly about the six peeps, who now had names - Helga, Gertrude, Cora, Mitzi, Henry/Henrietta and Frannie/Frank. The two orpingtons might be roos, after all! The dogs continued to learn that the peeps are siblings and not lunch.

    [​IMG]


    The most alarming realization was that the hutch, although per the manufacturer was good for 4-6 hens, was not going to be large enough for all six chickens, as they were standard breeds. So a second hutch was purchased before the sale ended -


    Second chick-n-hutch - $99.99

    And it was stowed away while our couple snuggled chicks and decided where the run would be placed, and what it would be made out of.

    Chapter three - Chicken Math Strikes Again

    As Aero learned more and more about chickens, it became quite clear that six just weren't going to be enough - no matter which way you cut it. There were so many wonderful breeds and types! And an awful lot of them seemed to be appropriate for their climate and needs.

    Now, if one hutch was large enough for four standard breeds, than two hutches would surely be large enough for eight! Why, lo and behold, our couple was actually two chickens short!

    Fortunately, a breeder of silkies, who happened to live right around the corner from our couple, under their very noses, had some chicks who were only one week older than the current feathered kids. This was fortunate, as the silkies would have been significantly smaller if they had all been the same age, which may have led to disastrous consequences.

    So Zifnab and Grendel are adopted, and everyone gets along swimmingly.

    [​IMG]


    And, considering the inevitable addition of many other chickens of various breeds, a plan for an unused camping trailer begins to form....

    [​IMG]




     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  3. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chapter Four - The Feathered Children become unruly adolescents

    As much fun in the sun as they enjoyed, the eight feathered siblings started to get bored. Their hutch just wasn't large enough for running and jumping properly, now that they were three weeks old and much larger than before! So mirrors and sticks were introduced, to no avail.

    Aero goes to check out a suspicious chirp - and sees that little pooper Zifnab feather picking on his sister Cora. Cora, a gentle soul, hides underneath the waterer, and Zifnab gets a time out. DH is recruited to adjoin the two coops - NOW.

    A cat's paw hand crowbar was used to remove the mesh from one side panel of each coop, with care not to cause splintering which may be dangerous to inquisitive chickens. A few pieces of scrap plywood were measured and cut and screwed into place between the coops to close the gap created by their hinged lids.

    A piece of scrap wood was also used so that a perch could be installed in half of the coop, and the red heat lamp was actually moved down a little bit because now it was heating a larger area. The chickens are introduced to their new and improved home - and LOVE IT. They run around zooming at each other for the next hour, and not a single feather was picked.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    So at this point, the feathered kids are getting along and will already be used to their coop once it is moved to the Great Outdoors. And once the trailer is turned into a coop, this one can once again be used as a brooder for the NEXT batch of chicks, and it can just be partitioned in the middle until they get old enough to need both halves again...then it can be placed outside in a run alongside the older chicks so they can meet each other, and then everyone can live together happily in the trailer, and then..


    Chapter Five - ????
     
    SunHwaKwon likes this.
  4. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. suzeqf

    suzeqf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's funny just wait until chicken math strikes I started out with 6 and now have around 45, I also have 2 doxie's and a might chichi(lol) and they loved to hang out with all the peep my ole girl MeyMey helps me find lost peeps who have escaped and are hiding places i can't see
     
  6. Aumlet

    Aumlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Love it!
     
  7. megoony

    megoony Out Of The Brooder

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    Awesome story ;) Love the narrative style!
     
  8. Reyvaughn

    Reyvaughn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    -sigh- I must be acing chicken math if 6 = 45. In my world, 10-12 = over 120. Seriously, I lost count after 120. I have 51 eggs in the incuabor and under a broody, too. It never ends... You may want another camper... LOL!
     
  9. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chapter 5: A Chicken Pen is Built

    After a lot of discussion, it is decided that a pen shall be built for the purpose of containing the soon-to-be-free-range chickens, should they become ill or otherwise require attention. While there are not thought to be tunneling predators in the area, there are certainly foxes, hawks, and raccoons - but in lieu of a predator proof pen, a four-legged predator proofing system is being trained:


    [​IMG]

    The pen would be built so that predator proofing would be possible to achieve, should the need arise. So, although the initial fence would be only three feet high, six foot stakes were used so the fence could be built higher and a covering placed while still allowing the less-than-six-foot tall couple comfortable access to the pen. Only chicken wire was used as the initial purpose is chicken containment and not predator proofing.


    Purchased from TSC and Lowe's:

    100 ft. roll of 4 ft high chicken wire: $59.99
    Seven 6 ft. tall metal stakes: $6.29 each
    Two galvanized metal hinges: $15.75 for both
    Metal fork latch: $6.24
    Various galvanized screws, washers, and bolts: less than $10.00
    Landscape cloth pins/anchors (75 bought, used about half so far): $10.00
    three pressurized 2x4's, eight feet long - ~$4.00 each

    Roughly 16 ft x 16 ft (stakes 8 ft apart):

    [​IMG]

    1 foot bib, staked down with landscape pins:

    [​IMG]

    Door attached to tree for stability and minimizing initial need for lots of pressurized wood:

    [​IMG]

    Latch on door - chicken wire is rolled at either edge to create a tight barrier; chicken wire is also rolled at the bottom edge of the door to prevent escape. The door was lined up along a tree root so the dirt at the bottom edge will not get dug out:

    [​IMG]

    Two trees overshadowing enclosure for a bit of shade and shelter from the wind:

    [​IMG]

    When the chicks (now a month old) visit the pen, they have a grand old time pecking about, but still are interested in taking turns sitting on someone's lap:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2012
    Southern PA
    Chapter Six: The Teenagers Move Out

    Although our fearless couple had been greatly enjoying their new habit of watching TV with chicks/doing house work with chicks/reading books with chicks/pretty much everything you have to do, do it with a chick in your lap, they started to notice Something happening to their house. The Something wasn't noticeable unless you left and came back, but upon re-entering, you would discover that Something. It wasn't palatable, and for several days, the couple tried to make adjustments to their routine to eliminate it.


    But no matter how many times they fluffed and puffed the bedding, or swept the front room where the chickens lived to clean up the stray pine shavings, the Something remained. This Something was...."The Barn Smell".


    So the light in the brooder was turned off during the day for several days in a row in preparation of the Big Move. The chicks spent more and more time in their future run, with babysitters:


    [​IMG]

    The coop was moved to just outside the back door for the first night, and the heat lamp was left on one final time. And then, the coop was relocated to it's new home inside the run.


    [​IMG]


    The chickens were assisted in finding the day-time location of the refreshment section in this fine establishment:


    [​IMG]

    When darkness fell, the chicks were ushered back into their coop and shut in for the night. It rained and rained, and the neighbors might have noticed a lone raincoated figure with a flashlight wandering out to the chicken coop at all hours, to stare at them huddled together and very much okay.


    In the morning , the feathered children had fared well and everyone was relieved. And the Barn Smell was banished from the house...until the next batch of chicks arrives [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Yay for healthy chicks!!! <thanks for reading my chicken story!>
     
    SunHwaKwon likes this.

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