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Photos of Your Coop or Hen House
March 10, 2012
9:38 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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OK, here’s some old photos, there IS even poop on the poop board

There’s some pictures of when we were building it, and a couple when it’s almost done.  No recent ones though tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day, so maybe I’ll get some more recent shots.

build2.jpgImage Enlargerbuild1.jpgImage Enlargerbuild3.jpgImage Enlargerdoor1.jpgImage Enlarger6box.jpgImage Enlarger

As you can see, we live in the woods!  I don’t use the plastic waterer in that main part of the coop anymore, though I do use one outside in the summer, sometimes two if it’s really hot out.  There’s been a few other things changed, but you can see how the poop board is fitted in there, it can be taken out completely to clean it really well but I have a small flat shovel that I normally just use. 

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 10, 2012
10:22 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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Wonderful…thank you!

Now another one of my ignorant questions… what keeps them from roosting on the poop board instead of the roost board?

And – how wide is the poop board?

March 10, 2012
10:51 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Two things, they will always roost on the highest available spot, (this is why your roosts should always be higher than your nest boxes or else they’ll roost in the nest boxes and they’ll poop all over them and your eggs will be poopy).  Second, they like the 2×4’s better than a flat surface so they’ll get up on them.

how wide… I’ll have to measure it tomorrow for sure, but I think it’s about 2 feet wide.

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 10, 2012
10:55 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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Thanks again!  I forgot that I was also going to ask you – it looks like your coop is not insulated.  I keep reading (several places) saying that since I’m up north and things get cold that it should be insulated but well-ventilated at the same time.  Now I know you’re in Ohio (whatever happened to the line that states our location?) and I’m in northern Indiana near the Michigan border so if you’re somewhat north our climate is probably similar.

What’s your “take” on insulation?

March 10, 2012
11:37 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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I don’t feel it’s necessary, but it’s ok as long as there is super good ventilation.  People seriously underestimate how many vents or ways to ventilate are necessary.

Cold and dry is just fine, warm and moist is truly dangerous.  It’s much more necessary that it is DRY than that it be warm.  That’s why ventilation is so important.  Chickens create a lot of moisture, from the waterer, their breathing and of course defecating. (we sure do talk about poop a lot don’t we?) 

Chickens aren’t bothered by cold at all, they are bothered by dampness and drafts, but not cold.  There’s a window on the back wall of my coop, and I have it at least cracked all winter, if not wide open, though sometimes it is wide open.

Don’t forget that they’re wearing little down coats all winter long!

I’ve heard of it actually raining inside a coop that was too sealed up too tight by a well meaning person.  The moisture condenses and builds up on the ceiling and walls, then it drips down like rain.  That is a VERY unhealthy coop on several levels.  Germs and bacteria can develop quickly in a warm moist environment for one thing, and frostbite happens in cold and damp much more than just cold, and their feathers don’t insulate as well if they get wet.  Moisture seems to intensify the danger of cold on their combs and wattles (which is where chickens get frostbit).  People seriously underestimate how much moisture chickens create just by being chickens in an enclosed space.

That being said, my coop is down in a hollow, and has shelter from the wind around it.  If I lived on the prairie and exposed to that unrelenting wind, I might want to insulate it at least a bit.  Chickens hate wind, absolutely hate it.

Oh, they will eat styrofoam like it’s candy.  No one knows why, but never leave any styrofoam exposed where they can get to it.  It doesn’t seem to hurt them, but it surely can’t be good for them either!

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 10, 2012
11:41 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Here is an excellent article about ventilation in coops.  While I like this site, it’s gotten so huge and so difficult to find anything, I don’t go there much, but there are a few good articles.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-coop-ventilation-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop

Located in N.E. Ohio

May 9, 2012
7:04 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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Okay….finally my hen house photos!

(Thanks to the best man in the world (my husband) for putting up w/all my remodeling ideas.  Shown in photos:  Husband and Stepson)

We’d been looking for a used shed and even looked at several from Craigslist.  We finally found this one after road construction took out several properties that had sheds.  The properties had been turned over to Habit for Humanity ReStore and we purchased this shed through them and had it hauled it to our place.  The shed is 12’ wide x 10’ deep with a nice 2′ overhang.  Some day I’d like to paint it a different color.

exterior-low.jpgImage Enlarger

Vinyl Floor

After a thorough cleaning, we put down an inexpensive piece of vinyl flooring.  I think it may be easier to clean and will keep the wooden floor from rotting or composting.  One of my main motivations is EASY CLEANUP and I want things to stay looking nice as long as possible with little effort!6-stretching-1-low.jpgImage Enlarger

 

Insulation & Interior Walls

We put in some Styrofoam insulation and then put up aluminum “trailer siding” (Like the exterior of a horse trailer.)  We just happened to have the trailer siding and the Styrofoam laying around from another project, so that’s what we used.  If we hadn’t had the siding available I was just going to put up plywood sheets and paint them for ease of cleaning.  We also added insulation but I don’t think it’s a necessity.

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Pop Door

We decided to try an auto pop door w/timer.  Once the chicks are older, we’ll likely set it to open mid-morning and close just before dusk after we’ve observed their natural schedule. (They aren’t currently old enough to use it.)

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Interior Wall

We then put up an interior dividing wall made of wood framing and covered with ½” hardware cloth wire. 

Here you can see the nestbox and frame wall looking in through the exterior door.  We painted the framework and nestbox before attaching the hardware cloth thinking, again, that it would be easier to clean.  (And because I liked the way it looks!)  Notice the “litter boards” at the base. These slide in to keep the litter from being scratched out to the “people side”.

 

The interior wall should also allow us to leave the external door open during hot weather for extra air flow.

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May 9, 2012
7:27 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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Hen House Part 2

The nestbox opens on the “people side” of the shed allowing for gathering eggs without entering the chicken side.  This will be nice in winter too since it’s not on the outside in the weather!

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The nestbox has a chain with hook & eye to hold it open while gathering eggs.  The dividers inside are also removable by sliding them out (toward the chicken side) for easy cleaning of the box and dividers.

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Since I’ve read that some critters (like raccoons) are very handy about figuring out how to open nest boxes, we installed this clasp that twists shut to secure the box lid.  We also had this in a box of misc. things but you could buy something to accomplish the same goal pretty inexpensively I’m sure.

 

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Roost:

There was a high storage shelf already in the shed so we attached 2 boards vertically to the shelf above to hold the roost.  This makes the roost height adjustable and in this photo, it is set at 24” from floor for the 6 week old chicks.  Later it will be raised to accommodate the adults by moving the brackets up or adding another set of brackets.

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Here you can see the “bracket” that the roost slides into.  The roost can be lifted right out and taken outside to be hosed off for cleaning time.

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Outside

Built a window frame and lined with hardware cloth to protect from predators as the window will likely stay open (at least a little) year-round for ventilation.

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Installed a roof vent.  (This is in addition to 2 small gable vents already on the shed.)

 

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Picked up a 10’x10’ dog kennel from Craigslist.  The hen house sets on 2 acres and the plan is for them to have free-run of the acreage.  The kennel run will be used while they’re still little and will have wire over the top.  We’ll also use it when we’re away and want a more protected place for them to be outside.  (As you see it here, it is just sitting in place and hasn’t been secured yet.) The chickens will be locked inside the henhouse at night.

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In the future there will be another wall that divides off a place for brooding new chicks inside. 

Thanks, also, to all of you for the ideas that I gleaned from your photos and input hug

May 9, 2012
9:22 pm
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miki
Mississipi
Mighty Chicken
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That’s amazing Leahs Mom!!!!!!!!  Great job!!!!!!!!

Where are we going and why are we in a handbasket?

May 9, 2012
11:26 pm
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jamitysmom
Topsfield, MA
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Hi Linda, the chicken coop that my husband made was crafted out of machine crates!  We actually made a three sided building for a pony out of those crates too back a few years ago.  Our chicken coop has a wooden floor that is covered with a piece of vinyl flooring – a remnant from Home Depot I think.  We do need to put in a window – for now it just has the large door for us to go in and out of and a small door that goes to their pen. We put 2×4’s horizontally in the coop as roosts that have rounded edges and my husband converted a wood box (I think it was a box that machine tool parts were shipped in) into nest boxes.  The nest boxes, two of them, are about 2′ off the floor and I did fashion a little fabric “curtain” out of an old flannel shirt that I cut into 2″ strips and mounted across the top of the nest box.  This gives them a little privacy when they are sitting on the boxes.  I do have a poop board under part of the roost but I’m not sure I’m loving that.  It really does smell more than if they just poop into the deep litter on the floor.  I think the straw and the shavings do a great job of absorbing the poop and when it just sits on the board without the benefit of the straw/shavings it smells more – to my nose anyway!  I’ll post some pictures tomorrow of the inside/outside of our crate/coop if I can.

May 10, 2012
10:36 am
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Linda Goble
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Wow that looks great Leah’s Mom.

Can’t wait to see your photos of yours Jamitymom. 

Me too making a coop out off machine box.  But with mine it was dismantled and rebuilt.  I should say still being rebuilt.  I bought siding for the out side and the out side of the box will be used to line the inside walls so I can paint and easily clean.

I wasn’t going to insulate mine.  Would it make that big of difference? I see Leah’s Mom that you are having a window open all year.

About the poop board I thought about lining mine with newspapers and then throwing them in the compost pile would that work? I don’t know how much they poop over night.

Husband is on vacation next week and we are to hope that it will be all finish. I will have him help me figure out how to post pics.sun

May 14, 2012
10:40 pm
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jamitysmom
Topsfield, MA
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Okay, here are a few of the pictures I found of our coop – I don’t have any of the nest boxes but I will take some this weekend.  This was originally some boxes used in shipping machines – my husband’s father used them to fashion a coop for a couple of turkeys that he had.  After that it sat in his yard for years until we needed something for the chickens we had bought.  So, my husband cut out some rotting boards, covered the roof with shingles, covered the floor with linoleum and then added a box for nests.  There are only two nest boxes, the girls take turns using the nest boxes and sometimes they lay on the floor!  I guess Mother Nature takes over.  We’ve only had one broken egg in about a year so I think that’s pretty good!

inside-of-coop.jpgImage Enlargerside-and-pen-of-coop.jpgImage Enlargerfront-of-coop-larger.jpgImage Enlarger

May 14, 2012
11:05 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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Wow…that looks really nice…and a great way to use those shipping boxes!  What is the overall size?  (Love the wreath on the door too!)

PS:  Don’t look now but I think the “abominable hand creature” is lurking inside your hen house (last photo)…  laugh

May 14, 2012
11:15 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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@ Linda – I was going to do a poop board but decided not to.  I guess I  may change my mind, but I have heard that it gets stinky and that just letting it drop in the litter keeps things smelling much better.  I’m going to do the deep litter and hopefully keep everything dry and composting correctly. 

I do have an idea for that board,  however.  I would try to make it easy to just lift out if possible and take it outside and spray it down with the hose and air dry before returning to the coop.  That way you can use the water pressure and possible scrub it down into your compost pile. 

Otherwise, I have heard of folks covering them with all kinds of things including wall paper, newspapers, etc.  just like you’re saying.  I’m wondering if the birds would have newspaper all scratched into shreds?  Seems like whenever I put any paper anywhere they want to scratch it up!

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