Learning THE Hard Way about coop design...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Davaroo, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    5,535
    69
    308
    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    I have been reading the auto-biopic, "Egg Farming in California - A Poultry Book," by Charles Weeks. Written in 1922, this book details all the mistakes, and success, Mr Weeks made for himself while pioneerig what we would now call the Permaculture or Confined Range method of chicken rearing.
    His observations while often prosaic, are certainly of interest to we chicken raisers of today. Following is an excerpt on his initial housing contructions, detailing where he went wrong...

    "We soon began to have our trouble, for the house being so tight and ventilation so badly arranged that the walls gathered moisture and were even covered with frost on cold mornings.
    The pullets began to catch cold and then swelled head which turned into roup. We tried dusting them with lime and fumigating with coal tar and every remedy we could hear of, and nothing seemed to do any good.
    Father's ardor for the poultry business began to cool quite perceptibly. We pulled them through the winter without much loss and had a fair yield of eggs, but we began to realize that the poultry game was not so easy as we had at first thought.
    We did not know at the time that our houses were built entirely too close

    (building too tightly, so as to prevent adequate ventilation - David)
    and that fresh air is absolutely necessary for poultry, and that hens must not be crowded for best results.


    Open Front Poultry Houses were unknown in those days ** and we were making the same mistake that thousands were making - that of housing the poultry too close and in too crowded quarters…"

    ** (This last isn’t entirely true. Some cutting edge poultry men of the day, men like M.G Kains and Milo Hastings, had seen the benefits of “fresh air” houses. But just like the majority of today‘s poultry keepers, those of that time had yet to recognize the benefit of such housing. - David)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2008
  2. brookwoodpat

    brookwoodpat Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    0
    129
    May 11, 2008
    what are open front poultry houses?
     
  3. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    5,535
    69
    308
    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Well, as the name implies the front of the coop is screened (or not), but open. There is a good illustration of the whole thing in MG Kains book, "Profitable Poultry Production," here:

    http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/ppp/ppp4.html

    Scroll down and you will see a "fresh air" house and a discussion of the concept.
     
  4. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    7,988
    37
    303
    Mar 3, 2008
    We learned that the exact same way... we had a small "outhouse" coop that we used to house turkeys in the summer. It was not intended to be used in the winter, but when we needed the space, we insulated it really well and added a heat lamp. We soon discovered that we insulated TOO well, and it was a steambath in there! At -20F! Insulation is good in the extreme climes, but ventilation is key.
    I recently checked out poultry books from our little library, only to find out that they were written about the same time as the book you reference. I was amazed at how much the industry has changed, but the actual raising/breeding of poultry hasn't. [​IMG] A lot of good information in those old books, eh? [​IMG]
     
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    5,535
    69
    308
    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    The old books teach us what we have forgotten - and stumbled along, reinventing.

    We often pat ourselves on the back for being clever in having re-dsicovered these things, but we only refine, at best, what has already been known.

    Heres a link to another of these threads, discussing a different aspect of the same book:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=637446#p637446
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2008
  6. ml

    ml Chillin' With My Peeps

    427
    21
    161
    Mar 4, 2007
    Great reading David! Thank you for posting that link

    ML
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by