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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 2:57 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:58 pm
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Location: Canberra, Australia
That's progress over the past 8 weeks to this weekend....

Still to do:
- cover front open section with 15mm mesh to prevent rodents/birds
- auto door to open grass area
- choko for eating and other mite/fly repellent plants

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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:23 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 3:55 pm
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Location: Millmerran
Wow awesome set up! Thanks for sharing (and answering my questions).


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:16 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:20 pm
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Location: Thirlmere nsw
What do you plan to plant for fly, insect control as i think this is a great idea, type of herbs,tea tree :dontknow, awesome coup by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:49 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Location: Canberra, Australia
Thanks for the comments!

Plants - there are some excellent threads on the forum that go into quite some detail on natural remedies for mites and flies.
Wormwood, marjoram, garlic, rosemary and lavender seem to be the most spoken about. My understanding is the more fragrant and oily the better...with the chooks brushing past them, if not nibbling, as they go about their day.

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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:59 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
Fiesty Fowl

Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:20 pm
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Location: Thirlmere nsw
I have marjoram and rosemary in the garden so may transplant some to the chook run, will give lavender a big miss as I am very allergic to it , massive headaches, closes my throat and can't breathe, even lavender scented soap gives me a rash straight away. :hiding , i think tea trees would work. Good in my finch aviaries seems to last.


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:07 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: ACT area
Interesting about the Lavender allergy. You are the only other person I've heard of who is allergic to it. My garden alternative is Russian Sage.(not a true Sage). I think that this would work for chooks. The bees love it but nothing else touches it. Herbal fragrance, tough, looks similar to Lavender.


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:58 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:17 pm
Posts: 349
Location: Pomona, Sunshine Coast, Qld
So they can't dust bathe?
6mths feed in the hopper means you must not have weevils or other beetles that get into feed & ruin it?
Do they have access to greens or fruit?
How do you prevent rodents from getting into the feed? The bush rats around my place would learn to jump up into those open feeders in no time. What a wonderful place to raise a new generation of baby rats & mice!
If you've designed it as a set & forget egg machine, how will you know the first signs of a bird having health or other issues requiring your immediate attention?
It's an amazing structure for your needs but to my mind it looks rather like a jail for the birds.
Surely that big pine tree behind the pen would yield a suitable branch for their roost?

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ClissaT

going through the process of getting organic certification for my property but horse & chook worming throwing a big spanner in the works

Favourite saying: Madness is doing the same thing over & over, but expecting a different result! -Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:40 am 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Location: Millmerran
fnbroken wrote:
That's progress over the past 8 weeks to this weekend....

Still to do:
- cover front open section with 15mm mesh to prevent rodents/birds
- auto door to open grass area
- choko for eating and other mite/fly repellent plants


Clissa, see above re the grass/dust bathing.


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:51 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: ACT area
Once the litter starts to break down they will dust bathe in that. My chooks love their dry deep litter.

Greg, have a look at this thread
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8036783&hilit=proteq


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:44 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:58 pm
Posts: 301
Location: Canberra, Australia
Thanks guys,

Clissa, there is plenty of dust in the rice hulls already (they love it every time I top the previous runs up) - but as pointed out by Sue, will only get better over time. I throw everything from the gardens into the coop (directly or via a mulcher) so it wont take long to build up a really good deep litter base for them. It takes about 6-8 weeks for the process of decomp to really kick in - and about 6 months to have the anerobic and aerobic bacteria doing their stuff.

We have 4 adults and 2 kids living at home, plus our neighbours on either side, who all contribute scraps to the coop. Their are a dozen or so silverbeet plants next to the run that are harvested from and fed to the birds daily. They eat as well as we do I recon!

The hooper is fully sealed when the lid comes down, and I have never had problems with bugs in the feed. If I do, will address it then. I sprayed the coop in coopex a week before moving the chooks in to hopefully have a barrier for a while as well.

The feeders are described in detail in the DIY PVC feeder thread - no rodent can get up into the feeders once the litter settles down. There is very little wastage from this design (chooks can only just reach in to get at a little amount of feed). Ive used them for a number of years now and never had a rodent problem in the run. Whilst a bit more complex than most to build, they are by far the most efficient I have seen in the long term for feed management.

An auto door will give them access to an outdoor run I plan to have along the back fence under several fruit trees that need another season to be really established. The backyard will actually be levelled up to the same height of the walls, so it will appear the coop is just sitting on the ground level.

Whilst it is set and forget / low maintenance, I will still be collecting eggs daily, throwing scraps into the run and a handful of grains now and again to make sure they are stirring up the litter all the time. They will still have company as my two boys always go say hello. The point was that there was minimal work, could go away for a weekend without worrying, and could enjoy them as part of the family. Who wants to have more work to do when you have little grommits to look after!

Its as much a jail for them as any other suburban chook pen with limited space in the backyard. It's about making the best of the space you have and the chooks as comfortable as you can.

:-)

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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:55 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Location: Pomona, Sunshine Coast, Qld
Ah! thanks for that clarification Greg. So in reality the chooks are your assistant compost makers? Is that for your garden? I wish my 3 could turn enough compost to meet my current needs.
Since you were demonstrating how proud you were of this new installation, I had this picture of you being completely manic in it's cleanliness & almost woe betide any chook that put a foot out of place or whinged about the housing arrangements! :D
I understand how hard it is to keep the feathered creatures safe both in suburbia & in rural areas. It seems everything is out to get a free feed of succulent chicken or egg.
I also know just how quickly they can ail. They are fine at the breakfast feeding but by evening door close time one will be hovering in the corner. The $ investment in live feather dusters is very high just for a few eggs, a bit of compost & some 'free' entertainment.

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ClissaT

going through the process of getting organic certification for my property but horse & chook worming throwing a big spanner in the works

Favourite saying: Madness is doing the same thing over & over, but expecting a different result! -Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:09 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:58 pm
Posts: 301
Location: Canberra, Australia
We had no chooks for 3 months at one point and we bought a dozen from the store. Threw 10 out in the end because we didn't like them. So a bit more than composters... I took what I learnt from the first build to make sure it wouldn't happen again.

The smell from wet chicken poo is not pleasant, having to top feeders all the time because they couldnt hold a bag full (or having half a bag in the garage rodents could get into) or messy getting it in a small pipe, taking garden clippings to the tip and paying fees, uneaten food being wasted. Catching clean manure eliminates the growth from uneaten grains and weeds in the compost - 60-70% of poo'ing is done at night when they sleep!

There are lots of benefits to integrating them into what you do. The run I'm building has 6 fruit trees that they will get to scratch around, eat dropped/rotten fruit and fertilise. The shrubs I'm planting will benefit them, look nice and hide any remaining smells. After giving them access to the base of a fig tree last time, they tore it up. Whilst I did protect it (eventually) covering the base of a tree too much doesn't allow it to naturally adjust to ground cover, heat, water etc.

And yes, I'm a neat freak :)

I'm hoping this design works without issue, so appreciate the questions and that I've thought it all through...

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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:33 am 
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Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:58 pm
Posts: 301
Location: Canberra, Australia
Just picking up on your 'investment' comment, and I think this is one many overlook.

Other than my time over 3-4 weekends, I used second hand materials where possible, leftover paint (seriously, why would anyone in the right mind actually buy white paint for a job like this!) and bits collected over time.

The shed was $329 and about $150-$200 for the extra concrete, roofing and incidentals. I spent a further $70 on rice hulls and straw to get the system started (I don't think they would like bare concrete).

Eggs like these are $7-10 at the shops, maybe $5-7 off another backyard enthusiast, and we eat all we gather (4 a day) and would eat more if we had them. I also bribe the neighbours on Occassion when things got noisey or smelly.

A lot of other factors, but I built this to last a long time so don't expect to make my money back tomorrow. I think that's where people go wrong, too little upfront making it hard to fix, expand or change going forward.

Anyway, pure financial payback on this setup is about 6-7 years, with 8 chooks, selling all the eggs and manure, costing feed, supplies, replacement chickens etc. this doesn't include all the intangible benefits gained in the rest of the gardens production that's hard to measure.

I'm an accountant, so couldn't help myself. [emoji12]

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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:59 am 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Location: Millmerran
fnbroken wrote:

I'm an accountant, so couldn't help myself. [emoji12]

OH! That explains ALOT :thumbs: :rofl:


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 Post subject: Re: Coop - take 2
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:47 am 
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Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:58 pm
Posts: 301
Location: Canberra, Australia
Morning all,

Thought I would post an update...finally progressed the chicken run to where it looks like something...its almost 10m long by 1m wide.

The smaller, narrow section is for the hedge of beneficial plants. Auto door will go in the corner. 5 fruit trees will be planted along this strip, and obviously chicken wire to cover....

The 6 new chookens that have taken up residence should enjoy :)

Attachment:
IMG_4733.JPG
IMG_4733.JPG [ 2.3 MiB | Viewed 959 times ]

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