If you have a chicken ark, and ONLY a chicken ark....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gophert, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. gophert

    gophert Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2011
    What is your system for how you use it, clean it, and move or don't move it?

    I have a chicken ark that looks pretty much just like this (it did not cost me EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS, though!!!): http://www.amazon.com/Large-Chicken-Coop-Portable-Hens/dp/B0037QUNJ2

    We
    have 3 chickens, new to me, established layers who were free-ranging and sleeping in the ark at night at their old place. We kept them in the ark about a week, then started letting them range our small yard. While we had them in the ark full-time, we moved it every day. I'd rather not keep doing this, but I will if I have to....wondering how okay it is to leave in one spot if the girls get at least 3-4 hours of freerange time every day.

    Do you let the litter build up, using deep litter method, or do you move and de-poop the area where it was all the time? How often?

    How do you feel about keeping chickens in the ark for long hours?
     
  2. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    I have two that are 6 x 8, house about 5-6 birds and I move them everyday. I have discovered they can scratch an area that big to nothing if I don't. Plus they get fresh grass and bugs every day, and the poop disappears faster. It took areas longer to recover if I left the tractors in place for two days.
     
  3. peepblessed

    peepblessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's a pain to move everyday but "jolet" is right, the yard won't recover well if you don't. We got tired of it and built a run. [​IMG]
     
  4. gophert

    gophert Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2011
    I should have mentioned that I don't have a traditional lawn all over--some is grass and some is leaves, pine needles, etc because it's heavily shaded. Right now the ark is on a leaf and needles area. So they can't do much worse to that area, since it doesn't have much vegetation to speak of. Since they are ranging much of the day,they do get plenty of green stuff.

    If you move it every day, how do you deal with the poop? See, I also want the manure to compost for the garden.
     
  5. cluckinthecity

    cluckinthecity Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2011
    Portland Oregon
    How do the chickens fit inside ? Do they bump their heads ?

    I'm still in the getting ready for chickens phase. See my coop on My Page. It's the same type.

    My plan, according to my chicken keeping neighbors should work. The coop originally was to be moved, but it got too heavy. So now the plan is to have it in a permanent location, have a door that opens all along the long side on the bottom. Open, rake out, refill with my excess fall leaves.

    (One big reason I want chickens, is to help me break down my over abundance of leaves. It takes me over a year to shred them enough that they will beak down in the compost. I'm getting behind as all my trees grow. They are TOUGH leaves. I've got a pile 3 years old not shredded that look almost as good as when they fell. [​IMG])

    I work nights, so the chickens will not be let out in the yard till I can get up. They will then be out till they put themselves to bed. I can lock the coop easily with my schedule, so it's only opening that's the problem.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  6. peepblessed

    peepblessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I guess you could use the deep litter method. The problem with keeping chickens in a small space for long periods is that it doesn't dry well and then you get disease problems. You'll need to keep checking the litter to make sure it's not getting mucky. [​IMG]
     
  7. gophert

    gophert Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2011
    Mucky is not likely to be a problem, fortunately. My soil is pretty much pure sand (which is why I need the manure--try gardening in sand sometime...)

    cluck, they def. do not bump their heads. [​IMG]
     
  8. peepblessed

    peepblessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Oh! Sand is wonderful for chickens!! That's what we have. Yes, gardening is a big problem and we use horse manure! [​IMG]
     
  9. cluckinthecity

    cluckinthecity Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2011
    Portland Oregon
    gophert,

    Thank you so much. I've been obsessing over that.

    Since it seems you are the perfect person to answer the "do they bump their heads" question, may I ask one more thing please ?

    I need to add a roost inside. Reading it seems a 2X4 is best ,broad side up. How tall do I make it over the floor ?
     
  10. gophert

    gophert Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2011
    The roost is up in the ark part that closes up. It is not a 2 x 4--it's thinner. (Uh....a 1x2? Can you tell I didn't build this ark?? Sorry.). It rests in two notches at either end. Like this: http://catawbacoops.com/images/stories/dscf0999.jpg

    (Actually
    my ark is almost exactly like the Catawbas...I think the builder prob used those plans)
     

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