Roost 'steps' / poo bin / nest boxes / feeder - update with pics!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wortgames, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. wortgames

    wortgames Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Oct 20, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hi again everyone, sorry for all the questions today!

    As I mentioned in another thread I'm planning to build the roosting perches today over a poo box. The plan is to utilise some of the existing fittings and the coop layout as much as possible to keep costs, time and materials down. I'm a bit worried that the girls won't be able to use it happily though.

    What I plan to do is to use 3 perches, each one acting as a 'step' to allow the chickens access to the next one. The first perch is 18" above the floor of the coop, and the other two are both about 18" higher and 12" further back than the last. Each perch is 2x4 with the wide edge up.

    I clipped the girls' wings a couple of weeks back and I really have no idea how well they will navigate this sort of arrangement. They are currently still sleeping in the nest boxes although before I clipped their wings they were trying to roost along the fence, so I'm hoping they will be keen to try out their new roosts providing they can get up there.

    Do you reckon they can negotiate 18" up and 12" back from each perch, even with (very) clipped wings?

    FWIW the plan is to have 'cupboard doors' under the first perch to allow cleaning out of the poo box. There will be a horizontal, welded mesh screen on a hinged wooden frame running straight to the back wall from the first perch. The other two perches are then obviously about 18" and 36" above the poo box mesh respectively, with a good 12" margin front, back and between. The only way they will be able to poo on the floor from a perch is if they sit on the lowest perch facing the back wall - any other way the bin will collect it.

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2007
  2. snugglepup

    snugglepup Chillin' With My Peeps

    494
    2
    151
    Apr 15, 2007
    Creedmoor, NC
    Ha! My chickens fly over their 6 foot fence with their wings clipped.

    I expect 18 inches would not be too much of a challenge. Sounds like a good plan!
     
  3. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    Mine jump higher then that without using their wings at all. Should be easy enough for them.
     
  4. wortgames

    wortgames Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Oct 20, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Cool, thanks - I'm obviously being a bit of a wuss. It just looks so... steep... [​IMG]

    I'll take some pics so I can show and tell when it's all done.

    Cheers!
     
  5. wortgames

    wortgames Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Oct 20, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Well, as promised, here are the pics (clickable for a closer look)...


    [​IMG]
    It's a bit tricky getting a decent angle, but this first pic is looking through the door into the coop after the big cleanout - it might not look that 'clean' compared to most of the pics on this site, but the existing perches were broken and rotting, there was old poo, spiders and webs everywhere and the whole place was generally absolutely disgusting. We've basically pulled everything out and cleaned it with a broom but that's about as far as either of us is prepared to go! The new top roost is in position on the old supports - (although as it turned out I ended up replacing the supports anyway because they obstructed the opening of the poo bin lid).



    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    These pics show the new roosts and the poo bin (or poo cupboard really). The lowest and middle perch are both attached to the frame which contains 2" welded mesh and forms the lid. This was going to be hinged but it really doesn't need hinges - it is supported by timber joists at each end and lifts just the same as if it was hinged anyway. I have added a hook (just out of frame) to support the lid when it is up. There is a small step down just level with the cupboard doors (the concrete floor is a couple of inches lower from there to the back wall). The idea is that we can open the doors and just sweep the coop floor into the poo bin every couple of days or so. The poo bin can fill up over a week or two, with sawdust or straw being added as necessary - either straight through the mesh in the case of sawdust or by lifting the lid to add straw. When it's time to empty the bin we can lift the lid and swing open the doors and have nice clear access for a rake and shovel.



    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The next thing I wanted to sort out was their nesting boxes and feeding arrangement. The existing nest boxes were simple wooden trays, that didn't look very cosy at all. I wanted to build a proper box for them, and incorporate a decent (and efficient) feeder - our 3 birds have demolished about 50Kg (110lbs) of feed in two weeks! They are incredibly messy feeders and all the birds for miles around must know it. The new box contains 3 nests, each about 12" wide by 16" deep, and a feeder about 8" wide. They can get 3 necks in the feeder at a squeeze but usually it's just one or two feeding at any time so I think it will probably do us even if we get a couple more chooks. We can collect the eggs and check/refill the feed easily from outside the coop all under the one lid.

    It didn't cost much, a sheet of 12mm (1/2") plywood did the nest box/feeder and cupboard doors, and 3 lengths of 2x4 did the roosts. Half a dozen hinges. The rest was made from scraps and offcuts - the screws, glue, mesh and linseed oil I had already, but wouldn't add more than a few dollars anyway. It took me a couple of days by myself but if I had had a helping hand (and tools I could actually find when I needed them) it would easily have been done within a day.

    They've already laid eggs in the nesting boxes and slept on the middle roost (where we put them last night after evicting them from the nest box!). They haven't had to deal with heights much since I clipped their wings so they are still a bit timid about using the higher roosts, but they have been up on the first level by themselves so I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they are hopping between them at will.



    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    These pics show the outside of the coop, formerly the run but we've removed the fencing along the front and now use it as a sheltered work area we share with the girls. The fencing you can see just keeps them out of the veggie patch. There is a separate gate to keep them out of the main garden.



    [​IMG]
    They now have free access to a much larger area including the 'composting yard' beneath the dappled shade of a couple of nice plum trees. All our kitchen scraps and garden cuttings end up there and I've leant some branches against the plum trees so they can climb a bit if they want. There are a few rocks which I can turn over from time to time to expose some fresh crawlies. It's a regular adventure playground for chickens (I hope).



    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2007
  6. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I LOVE your idea for the poo bin.

    When I get around to building the NEXT chicken coop I may have to 'borrow' your great idea.

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  7. wortgames

    wortgames Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Oct 20, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2007
  8. Catalina

    Catalina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2007
    Minnesota
    Wow! Really nice!! I love the play yard -great ideas [​IMG]
     
  9. First-time-raising

    First-time-raising Out Of The Brooder

    81
    0
    39
    Oct 20, 2007
    Mid - Michigan
    Quote:Thanks K8tieCat & wortgames for thwe wonderful idea. I am for sure going to try this in my coop. Love the pictures
     
  10. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    You've done a great job with remodeling the coop; looks as though you've thought of everything. The outside 'compost' area is a good idea. The only thing missing is a few more hens. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by