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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:34 am 
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Golden Swan
Golden Swan
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Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:02 pm
Posts: 25854
Location: Albany, Western Australia
Housing and Yard Ideas

This is just a very brief GUIDE to house and yard you will need for you hens.

MINIMUM Space requirements for 'average' birds. The bigger the bird the more space it will require.

In the house - 1.5 square feet or .13 square metres per bird (around .1m2 for bantams)

In the yard - 8 square feet or .75 square metres per bird (around .5m2 for bantams)

Length of perch - 6" to 10" or 150mm to 250mm per bird

Hens per nest box - 4 to 5

Please remember that these are MINIMUM requirements and the more space you can give them the happier they will be. Personally I would aim for much more room per chook that this!

Quote form granpa: 'I agree with Andy,the bigger you can make them the better.' viewtopic.php?t=194

Here are some house designs:
http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/poultry/fact ... signs.html
http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/abeng/poultryplans.htm
And some links to related threads:
viewtopic.php?t=474
viewtopic.php?t=812

Choosing the chookhouse site:
viewtopic.php?t=1651
viewtopic.php?t=3923

Links to keeping the chook house cool in summer:
viewtopic.php?t=44
viewtopic.php?t=702


Fox Proofing
Foxes are very resourceful animals. They can dig, climb fences, climb trees, break wire netting and squeeze in through very small gaps. So when building your chookhouse and run you need to keep this in mind.
Some ideas:
Bury the wire netting 18" in the ground or run netting outwards from the fence for 18" and cover with soil.
Floor the run with weldmesh joined to the fencing or use a concrete floor or slabs.
Use heavy duty wire on the bottom 3' or 4' of the fence - chain link fencing is good and strong (so the fox can't break through the chicken wire).
Turn the top of the fence outwards to deter climbing.
Roof the top of the run with wire netting or galvanised iron (foxes have been known to chew through plastic roofing).
Remove overhanging trees if you don't have a roof on your run.
Use electric fencing.
Buy a llama (alpaccas are apparently unreliable in spite of their reputation as fox proofers).
Check defences regularly!

Links to useful Threads:
viewtopic.php?t=86
viewtopic.php?t=275
viewtopic.php?t=602
Electric fencing:
viewtopic.php?t=5449

Flooring
What you have on the floor of your house and run is really a personal choice and includes sand, concrete, woodchips, straw etc. It is best to avoid hay as this can harbour mould spores which can harm your chooks. Whatever you choose you will need to clean up the droppings regularly. Here is a link to a discussion on sand and/or concrete flooring
viewtopic.php?t=902
viewtopic.php?t=4854
and another to the benefits of having a mesh floor underneath a small run
viewtopic.php?t=1346.

Another option is the deep litter system where the droppings are left to decompose in the litter. You need a deep layer of litter, generally wood chips or sawdust at least 75mm thick, and topped up as it breaks down. Chooks deposit droppings on the litter and then scratch through it. This breaks up the litter and droppings. Water is absorbed and then evaporates off. Bacteria produce methane which also evaporates off.The idea is the litter is high in carbon and chook droppings are high in nitrogen. Chook droppings also contain water while the litter material is dry. Chook droppings have bacteria which use both nitrogen and carbon to grow and this breaks the droppings down. The system only works if kept dry and well ventilated. The whole lot should be cleared out periodically - once or twice a year. Here is a link to a discussion on the deep litter system
viewtopic.php?t=625

Perches/Roosts
You really don't need perches but some bird prefer to perch at night although some will never perch. If you are going for perches, height is an important consideration. Chooks like to perch as high as they can but too high and they may hurt their feet jumping down. Generally 700mm is about as high as you'd want to go with light breeds but much lower with heavier. I generally go for 300mm as a safe height. The perch it's self needs to be a solid piece of timber around 30x70mm with the 70mm side up and the corners well rounded so they don't hurt themselves. If you are using round perches they need to be around 100mm in diameter (not a narrow dowell). You can use natural branches but make sure they are around 100mm. Here are some links to Perch information - height, size and type:
viewtopic.php?t=890
viewtopic.php?t=555
viewtopic.php?t=456
viewtopic.php?t=1325
viewtopic.php?t=4150
viewtopic.php?t=5171

Nestboxes
Ok - do you need a nest box? The answer is yes, it is much better for the hens to lay in a box because then you know where the eggs are, they are not so prone to being eaten by the chooks and it keeps the chook alone while laying, reducing the danger of the layer being pecked or other wise harrassed. There are two main types of nest boxes - singles and communal boxes. I started with a communal box but changed to singles when one went broody and wouldn't let any of the other hens in! Single boxes should be around 300x300x300mm - a bit bigger for the larger breeds, but generally chooks seem to like laying in a confined space. Nest boxes can be as simple or as elaborate as you like - form cardboard boxes, plastic drums, mower catchers, to custom made. Here are some links to ideas:
viewtopic.php?t=373
viewtopic.php?t=5305
http://www.computersreborn.com/monitors.htm
and this one's got some good pictures:
viewto ... le+grinder

Specialised Nestboxes
Rollaway Nestboxes: Roll away nest boxes can help with an egg eating problem - the eggs roll into a hidden compartment and if the chooks can't see them they can't eat them! You can buy plastic inserts for nest boxes from Bellsouth and possibly other places or you can make your own. The eggs compartment can be fitted on the front or the back of the nest box and is a box about 2" high, and 6" deep and runs along the whole width of the nest box. The top is a hinged lid (so you can get the eggs) and the side closest to the nest box is open or has a light curtain so the chooks cant see in. This can be attached to an existing nest box, depending on the design, but it may be easier to construct a new one with the compartment attached. The nest/s will then need to be tilted about 15 to 20 degrees so the eggs will roll into the compartment and the floor and front of the compartment lined with something soft but washable - fake lawn is ideal! You will need to train your hens to use these by first filling with straw and then gradually decreasing the amount untill you are down to the matting and the eggs can start to roll. The training period for mine was only 4 days in a new nest box unit. Here is a link to a helpful thread:
viewtopic.php?t=5301
Image
Image
These are my plastic drum/rollaway nest boxes. The wooden frame is ply with a treated pine 'perch/egg compartment lid'. In the second picture the lid, which doubles as a door to prevent entry to the nest box (eg at night), is open.

Trap Nests
Trap nest are used to trap the hen in the nest box after she has laid an egg so that the owner can positively identify which eggs come from which hen.
Image
Image
Image

Link to Thread:
viewtopic.php?t=202


Waterers and Feeders
There are many types of waterers and feeders out there. One of the most important points to help prevent disease it to keep them clean. Here are some links:
Do it yourself waterer:
viewtopic.php?t=1076
Cool water in hot weather:
viewtopic.php?t=879
Rodent proof feeder:
viewtopic.php?t=670

NellyG (Turned out not as brief as I thought it would be! :lol: )

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Last edited by NellyG on Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: A Frame Chicken Tractor
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:55 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:06 pm
Posts: 5886
Location: Canberra
Here is my A-Frame, just thought I'd post here sowe build a bank of pictures (other than the photo galleries).

Image

Any questions let me know

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:57 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:06 pm
Posts: 5886
Location: Canberra
Here is my movable chicken tractor on raised beds.

Image

There is a thread somewhere with more details, will try to find it.

EDIT Found one, but its not the best one.....;

http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?t=7935

Raf

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 6:28 pm 
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Golden Swan
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Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:02 pm
Posts: 25854
Location: Albany, Western Australia
Thanks rwood - I think that's a good idea.

NellyG

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 6:52 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:06 pm
Posts: 5886
Location: Canberra
NellyG,

I was going to PM you to see if it was Ok but I thought you could just delete the threads if it wasnt.

There is a great collection of photos in the "Gardening With Poultry" Forum ("Show me yours I will show you mine") and also in the photo galleries.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:37 am 
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Golden Phoenix
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:39 am
Posts: 10113
Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
I just found a few pages of links to coop designs whilst researching plastic coops - thought they might be handy!!

http://www.permaculture.org.au/topics/chooks.php?page=5
http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:30 am 
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Hatchling
Hatchling

Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:02 am
Posts: 1
Hi

This is the chook tractor I built based on the the "sturdy economy chicken coup" from this link http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html which is in the post above. Thanks for the link!

Image


Last edited by jkshed on Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
url tag for external link


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:54 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:49 pm
Posts: 167
Location: North QLD
What a great post! I only just found it. Very imformative :thanks:

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Cross Breed Haven... 1 Isa brown, Bantams: 2 Indian x Pekin Bantam, 1 OEG xSebright x?, 1 Araucana


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