Poultry House Wishlist: what would you do differently?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by FarmrGirl, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

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    So my dad, who's a contractor, just said that he wanted to build me a new poultry house (how TOTALLY awesome is that??). [​IMG]

    Probably because when I bought my new home in 2007 I only had 8 chickens living in a converted rabbit hutch. Now my tiny operation has a "keeper flock" of 50, but has swelled at times to 100 birds (which I'm able to sell as babies usually) that include several types of waterfowl and many more chickens. I was just barely keeping up with all my different types (and their individual housing needs) while I was adding breeding programs and building my own 200 egg incubator... oh man, the list goes on. Anyway, my housing situation is as rambling as my obsession with this hobby and he's probably sick of looking at my crazy buildings!

    So, of course, I have a small budget and my own list of wants and needs based on some trial and error and discovering what seems to make the birds happiest. He suggested one house for all of them and I never even considered that. But after a little thought and some of his drawings, I think he's really onto something. Waterfowl would be housed seperate of the chickens but the building would be a single structure, which will make cleaning and feeding and egg gathering and every other aspect of my life easier to manage (and better looking too!). He's thinking 10 x 20 and that sounds reasonable if I still keep the Muscovy "upstairs" and the meaties in the chicken tractor. So my question to you is: what would you put on your list?

    Whoa, hold on... within reason you crazy poultry people, you! [​IMG]


    I have 19 chickens, 20 ducks, 2 geese and 9 Muscovy (not counting any of the 70 meaties). They free range all day and only sleep in the house (except the Muscovy who spend a lot of time inside when it's cold)

    The ducks and 2 geese hang out together but I suspect that when a mama goose sets her nest eventually that the ducks will be unwelcome in her area and will regularly have their little butts pinched by the gander if I don't give them proper goosey goose nesting areas in the new house that the gander can reasonably "protect".

    The Muscovy prefer not to associate with what they consider to be inferior waterfowl. Plus, they really like to climb and are the queen broodies so I gave them an apartment above the mallard-types with several very large nestboxes for their large broods up along the roofline (the girls just love that). Lot's of ramps and climbing for them... short ramps for the other waterfowl.

    The chickens... well... they're chickens. I do have one EE girl who I've started calling my Muscovy chicken because she likes to put herself to bed with them every night. [​IMG]

    I also want a place to brood some babies that aren't under a hen and another flexible option for setting up a "get aquainted" area for older ducklings to learn to use the ramps and sleep in the "big house" without getting their tails pinched by all the other waterfowl. But all this has to be a best-use-of-space kind of thing that I can maybe convert back and forth as needs come up. I also don't want a big, open space that's difficult for the birds to keep warm in the winter (Washington, DC).

    Lessons learned? Interesting ideas? Pictures of your most favorite set up... pleeeeese? (of course, I've been browsing and collecting stuff others have already posted here).
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Absolute necessity: tall enough to stand up and move around (you, not the ducks).

    Windows that open and close for ventilation. Hardware cloth or expanded metal over the windows for predator-proofing.

    I've got feed inside the coop, but set up on benches with nest boxes underneath the benches, so the ducks don't give up any floor space. The best thing I've found for feed is metal garbage cans with tight fitting lids. The mice can't get into them. I keep a step ladder up on the bench so that I can reach the bottom of the cans. A separate feed room would be a dream, but the cost of building is so high that it isn't going to happen.

    I've got a shelf up high, above my head level to store equipment that doesn't get use much, like my rabbit nest boxes and baby duckling feeders and brooder lamps.

    A doorway that you can get in and out without worrying that the ducks will escape if you don't want them out.

    My coop has an attached run that is totally predator-proof. So my ducks are given free option to be inside or outside in their night run. Then during the day, the run is opened and they have a larger area.

    Over 50 full time residents, 70 temporary residents, 10 X 20 sure sounds small to me. Maybe put yourself up a 10X 20 foot temporary fence and put everybody inside all at the same time and see how it looks. I suspect you might end up with fighting due to over-crowding.
     
  3. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

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    Quote:Thanks Oregon!

    The 70 meat birds live out in the pasture in movable pens.

    Do you think that 15 x 20 would be be better for the full time residents? I've got a large run with gates now, maybe I'll partition it off to the right dimensions and see how everyone looks inside (great suggestion!).

    Do you have a lot of trouble with duck-dust getting on your stored stuff? I get a lot of that giant cobwebby business in my current goosehouse that I regularly have to clean and it just sticks to everything!

    I'm big on predator proofing and my current house has lots of windows that I'm hoping to reuse in the new one.

    Current goose house is 7 feet high and 7x7 and links up to the duckbarn (which is only 4 feet high but 10x15 - the Muscovy live on the top floor):
    [​IMG]
     
  4. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    Ct.
    Quote:Thanks Oregon!

    The 70 meat birds live out in the pasture in movable pens.

    Do you think that 15 x 20 would be be better for the full time residents? I've got a large run with gates now, maybe I'll partition it off to the right dimensions and see how everyone looks inside (great suggestion!).

    Do you have a lot of trouble with duck-dust getting on your stored stuff? I get a lot of that giant cobwebby business in my current goosehouse that I regularly have to clean and it just sticks to everything!

    I'm big on predator proofing and my current house has lots of windows that I'm hoping to reuse in the new one.

    Current goose house is 7 feet high and 7x7 and links up to the duckbarn (which is only 4 feet high but 10x15 - the Muscovy live on the top floor):
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-...AAAAAAAfQc/75yrLsmOLxs/s640/20101031_9558.JPG

    i love your set up!!! (window gallore!!!!)))
     
  5. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

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    Quote:i love your set up!!! (window gallore!!!!)))

    I've got nice big windows now but my dad wants to put in smaller windows [​IMG]
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Quote:i love your set up!!! (window gallore!!!!)))

    I've got nice big windows now but my dad wants to put in smaller windows [​IMG]

    Big windows are good, I'd try to talk him into keeping the big windows more light more fresh air. [​IMG]
     
  7. MVchickens

    MVchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For a watering area make an area in the floor that opens up to the ground and put quarter inch hardware cloth over it. That way when the ducks splash the water around it all dumps onto the ground under the coop and not into the shavings.
     
  8. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

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    Quote:Great idea!
     
  9. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you get to keep the current coop? Because that gives you a lot more space if you are keeping that plus getting the new building.
     
  10. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Or you can build it on the floor, and catch the water in a tote for complete removal of it. The one I did is a wood frame just as tall as the tote, sized to fit the tote after I bought it, covered with hardware cloth. It's been really effective.

    [​IMG]
     

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