Show and tell... PICTURE HEAVY... added pictures of chicks roosting!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jinxschuh, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. jinxschuh

    jinxschuh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2011
    Northern Utah
    New to raising chickens and fairly new to forum so thought I'd take a minute to show and tell...

    I bought my house about 18 months ago and had been wanting to get chickens since before we closed on the purchase. There is an existing barn (we call it the bomb shelter in disguise) with a tack room where I had a lot of wasted space. So decided instead of building a whole chicken coop that I'd build a chicken room in the tack room instead.

    Here is a picture of our barn:
    [​IMG]

    We put in a good layer of gravel to build the floor and wall on:
    [​IMG]

    And then the MAJOR chore of trying to put in a chicken door into the 8" thick, crack resistant walls proved to be a lot more then we bargained for. After two weekends and renting a jack hammer my husband finally broke through. We added a wood frame in the hole so we will be able to attached a door/ramp for them to get in and out into the back yard. I still need to patch the cement around the door with some cement patch, but the frame was a tight enough fit that it has worked quite well.
    From inside:
    [​IMG]
    From outside (still need to put in a door/ramp, the brick staircase is temporary and I've just been sliding a small piece of plywood behind the bricks at night to close them in):
    [​IMG]


    We put in a temporary run (are chicks were staying in a chicken tractor at our neighbors and I was anxious to get them home but had a limited amount of money to work with and couldn't afford the materials for a permanent run yet):
    [​IMG]

    I was able to finally finish building the laying boxes and hope once the chicks start laying they will like them well enough.
    From inside the chicken room:
    [​IMG]
    From the tack room:
    [​IMG]
    Egg door latch:
    [​IMG]

    I then put in some utility mesh in the floor rafters of the hay loft above to secure them as ventilation:
    [​IMG]

    I've been working with socializing the chicks since they where about 2 weeks old with my dogs. It took a lot of patience and scolding and time but it has paid off to where I can have the dogs out with me while in the yard and let the chickens free range. I will never trust the dogs enough to leave them out unattended with the chickens while they are out, but it is nice to be able to have all of them out while I'm gardening or just relaxing.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I still need to put in roosts. I just have a 2x8 secured with some bricks in on the hen room floor right now as a make shift roost and they seem to content with it for now:
    [​IMG]

    Still got a ways to go at getting everything finished but they seem happy:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Going to the hardware store today to get the cement patch and some brackets to build a 4 sided 3'x3' gazebo sandbox for them. They have a hard time finding sand to bath in and they didn't like the play sand in the plastic storage bin. So I'll add more pictures as I complete additional projects and have them to share.

    So as far as sandboxes, I saw a post about a sand recipes for using DE in the sandboxes but now having a hard time finding that post. How much DE should be added and how often? Is regular DE from the feed store okay or does it have to be food grade?

    Thanks for taking time to go through such a long post. Hopefully someone can answer my DE questions for me even though it is off the subject.

    Later Peeps!
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  2. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

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    Browntown, VA
    Wow - lots of innovations on this project! Very inspiring. [​IMG] Please keep clicking while you progress.
     
  3. jinxschuh

    jinxschuh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2011
    Northern Utah
    LOL... I love the word 'innovations'... We've been lucky so far, we had some old realestate bill board signs to put in on the floor and inside of the wall and build the lay boxes with. The thing I like about that is it is marine grade plywood so it should be durable and cleanable when needed. I want to put in some of the wood siding on the outside of the wall in the tact room to make that look more finished and paint the egg door with something clever eventually. Most of the wood we used to frame in the temporary run was scrap wood from a wall we removed from our basement, so another bonus on savings with that. I want to use pig wire panels as our permanent run building material so it will be dome shapped, easy to tarp for winter with out collecting to much snow plus it will be something different and hopefully a little unique to finish off the whole unique project. Our biggest expense item so far has been the rental of the jack hammer followed by the cost of the utility mesh for the vents.

    I love seeing other people's projects, before and after photos because it gets my creativity flowing too. So I'll love to continue to show my progress and hope that any one viewing this that hasn't shared pictures of their chicken coops, runs, 'toys' (like my sandbox idea) I encourage you to do so now!! Please, I love pictures!!

    Thanks for your post... gonna remember that word 'innovations'... LOL
     
  4. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Wow, nice job!!! [​IMG] You're girls are very happy I see, and they should be!!! What a great idea you have, using space you already have available!!! Enjoy!!
     
  5. MWchickens

    MWchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2011
    [​IMG]

    man thats' a barn makeover!! I think its a brilliant use of space..Love the dogs too...super cool idea of using bricks as a ramp:clap

    thanks for sharing!
     
  6. Horizon Structures

    Horizon Structures Official BYC Sponsor

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    Atglen, PA
    Love what you've done! You seem modest, but it looks like you are well on your way! [​IMG]
     
  7. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Man I would just about kill to have a barn like that on the place. Lots of options! Can't wait to see the final product [​IMG]
     
  8. seanb

    seanb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2011
    Central PA
    Nice work. Next time, try a concrete saw (like a chain saw with a big metal cutting disk); it will create a lot more dust but you'll get a cleaner cut in less time.

    Love the dogs too. That Blue Healer looks identical to ours. I'm hoping he's good around the chickens.
     
  9. jinxschuh

    jinxschuh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern Utah
    Quote:seanb - like I stated above it took a lot of time and patience to get the dogs trained to be chicken friendly. I grew up with training See and Eye Dogs for the blind so training a dog is something I can do. Raising chickens is new to me and the verdict is still out on if I can do it or not... LOL... My Blue Heeler is a known bird killer so I was really worried. He has killed a robin and a young duck. But I found starting out with small chicks made it really easy. Once I felt the chicks were strong enough for a little excitement (about 2 weeks old) I started by just letting the dogs smell the chicks as I cupped one in both my hands to protect the chick but just give enough space between my hands to allow the dogs to smell them. I did this regularly, every time I cleaned the chick bedding up which was at least every other day if not daily because they were in my basement and I couldn't stand the smell. When the dogs stopped having any negative reaction to that then I opened up my hands and let them see and smell (and occasionally ‘taste’ them by licking) them at the same time. When they got good with that then I started to move the chicks up and down in the air to get them to flap their wings. Once the dogs stopped having negative reaction to them flapping around then I set one on a news paper covered coffee table and stayed close to keep the chick on the table and the dogs off the table. When I moved the chicks outside I gave them a few days to get used to their chicken room and run once and then a few days to get used to the back yard to free range before I continued training with the dogs. The first time I introduced the dogs to them while they were out to free range I collared and leashed them and took them out one at a time. I got the air horn out of the boat and kept that handy. First I kept a tight grip on the leash and just walked the back yard with them. Once I felt comfortable I dropped the leash. I had to air horn each of the dogs at least once, the Red Heeler twice, when they started chasing a chicken. After each dog had a turn then I took all of them out with collars and dropped leashes so I could grab them easily for correction if they needed it and just stayed close and watchful. At this point as long as I'm in the yard I can hear a hen put up a fuss if the Red Heeler follows them to closely. Most of the hens don't even seem bothered by them any more and will walk right up to them. This whole process took about 8 weeks once I started.


    O, and as far as the concrete saw, we couldn't find one to rent and the lowest bid I got for someone with a saw to come out and do it for us was $500 because the cement was 8 inches thick. So, ya. I got cement patch while at Lowe's a little while a go, so I'll get it patched up and post more pictures to see what you think then.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  10. jinxschuh

    jinxschuh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2011
    Northern Utah
    Quote:LMBO... if by modest you mean cheap, you are sooo right... LOL... I got laid off last fall so I have really been using as much recycled stuff as I could.
     

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