Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

November 10, 2008

Answer IV - The Chicken Coop

Q: I would love more info on your chicken coop and how many girls (hens) you have:)
~Renee (Gardendesk.com)

Renee~ Thanks for your patience...I hope it is well deserved. Here is the coop just after I completed building it. You can see a bunch of photos of it here, and some pictures of the actual structure of the building process here.

All together I have 9 birds. Um, actually strike that, I only have six birds per my city ordinance, sometimes they just move around really really fast and look like there's 9 of them. It's an optical illusion, I swear!
Anyway, All the chickens that I have are Leghorn variety. Some are white and some are brown, but all are leghorn. I chose to get that breed for 1 white eggs (it was a sticking point on whether or not I got the birds.) and because they are prodigious layers. They are not the greatest pet breed to get, but if handled regularly do tolerate their keepers fairy well.

When I looked into the design of the coop that I finally settled on building, I took ideas from a couple of other designs that I liked, and modified them to solve a couple of things that I wanted to solve like how to give the most area per bird, how to allow airflow in the hot summers and restrict it in the winter, and how to make cleaning the coop as easy as possible. The final design works out pretty well. It is a two level coop with the hen house on top. Total there is 36 sq ft of area for the birds on only a 24 sq ft footprint. I made the coop 4'x6' because that is the size of the raised beds that I have so I can rotate the coop through the beds each season to add compost/manure to the garden where I need it. I also collect the manure in a large tote with holes in it and some leaves in there. It will be going into the garden beds to "cool off" through the winter. Here's a video that I put together to highlight the basics of the coop and so you can see the girls in action.

At the time of posting the video was having difficulties playing. If this continues I will repost a compressed version ASAP. Please let me know if you can view it.

You can see the birds aren't really crowded at all, and they do get to have some "yard time" during the summers which they love. I make sure I give them lots of greens and other veggies from the garden and the kitchen so that they have a well rounded diet, and they are doing very well.

I think that as far as chickens are concerned, the best measure of how well they are doing and their overall health is their egg production. We average 6 a day, sometimes we'll get 3, sometimes 8, but overall it's consistent. I don't have a light in the coop to stimulate them, they are Au Natural for now. I may go ahead and do that later in the year just through the dead of winter both to help with laying and to keep some heat in there, but we are waiting to see what happens as we go. If we can still get at least 4/day I will probably not coax more from them.
I hope this answers the questions for you Renee. I'm glad you asked it, I've meaning to do this post for a while and just haven't had the time to do it right. Thanks for the patience.
Stay tuned all for some new good news tomorrow I hope. Till then.


Rebekah said...

It was nice to see your comment on our Grit blog! I was happy to see your blog on blogspot here. You are striving for many of the same things we are in and in a much smaller area! That is very admirable. You know, we started out blogging here on blogspot, too, and still update regularly (though not as diligently as you!). If you are interested in some of our early summer happenings--to the present, here is our link: http://thefoxwoodfarm.blogspot.com/

We'll add you to our favorites! Keep up the great work!

Becky and Andy

Anonymous said...

Great looking coop Paul. I enjoyed seeing the video.


Anonymous said...

cool coop!! tp