Category: Chicken coops

Chicken Safety

Protecting Your Chickens

Building a coop offers chickens a sheltered place to hide out from the harsh elements like rain, snow, heat and cold. A well built coop will also protect them from predators and ensure them healthy, comfortable life. In addition they will produce quality eggs in return.

There are a number of things that lurk in the shadows waiting for the chance to get your chickens…

Dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums, skunks, mink, fox, coyotes, hawks, owls, neighborhood children etc. You name it they will kill your chickens!

A safe coop is a necessity for anyone raising chickens, and fortunately there are many different chicken coop designs available. Materials such as PVC pipes, tarps, converted old campers, have all actually been used material for chicken coops, however well constructed wood sheeted coop is the safest and most common way for building chicken coops.

However before purchasing a chicken coop kit, keep in mind the size of the coop run and number of chickens the coop will host. Each chicken needs at least 2 sq feet of space and larger breeds of poultry may need at least 4 to 5 sq feet of space. New lumber can be expensive to purchase, depending on the size of the coop: some second hand stores actually sell used lumber that works just as good!

Although it is relatively simple to build a coop to keep chickens in from scratch, many people simply don’t have the carpentry skills and prefer to purchase chicken coop kits instead. Most chicken coop kits come with all the necessary materials required for constructing the perfect home in which their hens will be safe.

  • A safe coop should be entirely enclosed leaving no opportunities for crafty critters to find a way in.
  • It also should include well ventilation in the summer and be well insulated in the winter. (These areas should be reinforced with chicken wire fencing to keep anyone from scratching through them)

If you desire to have a fenced in area for your chicken the most cost effective way to do this is to construct a chain link fence around the designated area for your chickens (chicken wire or netting may be equally as economical).

1. After constructing the fence wrap it in chicken wire to keep smaller critter like mink, weasels, and cats from getting through it. Mink only need a small hole of

2 inches in order to get through.

3. Also to protect from things climbing over and birds of prey, wrap the chicken wire fencing over the top so nothing can climb/fly over.

4. Finally, dig a one foot trench around the base of the chain link fence and tie you chicken wire to it allowing it to drop down into the trench. Now simply reapply the dirt and burry the fencing.

 

Finally an Automatic Chicken Coop Door can greatly improve your chance of avoiding a predator getting into your chicken coop. The majority of chicken attacks happen in the evening as most predators to chicken are nocturnal hunters. If you are new to chicken keeping you soon will realize the struggle of rushing home from work or from dinner with friends to be sure the chicken coop door gets closed before a local predator pops in for a snack. You number one defense against these attacks and fatalities are to automated the opening and closing of your chicken coop door. As an added bonus to a door closing automatically when your not home it will also open back up the following morning to let the chickens back outside. This gives both you and the chickens the freedom you want. This makes chicken keeping less of an obligation while also keeping the “girls” safe.
Taking these proper precautions will help your chickens to have a safe place to enjoy the outside but still remaining safely out of reach of predators so you can rest easily.
By Jeremy Smith

How To Build A Chicken Dust Bath

Have you ever considered cleaning your chickens?

The other day my wife was mad because our chickens were making holes in the yard and kicking up dirt. We knew this was their way to clean themselves. Chickens do not wash in water. They use dirt/dust to clean themselves. Taking a dust bath protects your chickens from lice, mites, and other parasites. You can find both young and old chickens playing in the dust. They fluff their feathers and hunker down into the dirt, working their feathers into the soil and the soil into their feathers. Free-range chickens usually have no problem finding and making their own dust bath such as in our case. City dwelling chickens however, are normally unable to find this ‘extra space’ to make a dust bath and remain vulnerable to these parasites. Building a designated area for chickens taking dust baths will save your sanity and keep your chickens clean and happy.

To save your chickens, eggs, and yard here is a list to get started on building a chicken dust bath of your own.

How To build A Chicken Dust Bath

  1. Find yourself a durable/weather proof container cut to size: about 6-10inches in height and 12 X 22 inches in diameter. (Some stores sell totes that would be an acceptable size) If you do not wish to use a plastic container you can also do this many other ways. Stacking landscaping bricks in a square about 8-12 inches off the ground is also an effective way to accomplish a dust bath while still keeping the attractive look of your back yard. If you are not worried about looks, you can make a chicken dust bath by using an old car tire etc.
  2. Fill your container with sandy dirt leaving 2-3 inches of the container unfilled. (This keeps the dirt from ending up everywhere.) Also keep in mind, they may kick some of the dirt out while they indulge themselves in a dirt bath, so keep it away from the nesting and feeding area.
  3. What should I fill my Chicken dust bath with? Although we think just dirt or sand would be enough, it isn’t exactly what the chickens wish to have. There is a mix of ingredients that will make your egg layers VERY happy. Mix together sand, dirt, sifted Wood Ash, and DE (diatomaceous earth, which can be found at your local nursery & feed store)
  4. You can also add products to your chicken dust baths such as “Barrier Louse Powder” This will protect them from mites, fleas, ticks, etc. “Diatom” Is another great product to use and no harm if ingested since it will work as a wormer as well.
  5. Do not add water to your chicken dust bath. The “Girls” like it dry and dusty!
  6. Now that you have built your chickens a dust bath there is nothing more to do than sit back to watch the girls wallow in it.

 Signs your chickens might have parasites, mites, or lice:

  • They seem agitated
  • Yelling out as if someone just pecked them but nobody touched them
  • Red coloring on the scales of their feet
  • Constant fluffing and shaking as if they are trying to get something out of their feathers

By Jeremy Smith

AutomaticChickenCoopDoor.com

Our first chicken coop

When we first started with chickens we built three chicken tractors to handle 20 hens our neighbor gifted to us in exchange for some fresh eggs.

 

After a couple years we decided to raise a flock of mail order chicks to replace those hard working hens and built this rough chicken coop.

 

We had a very limited budget and wanted to use as much recycled materials as we could and ended up making a very poor chicken coop.

 

It was big enough for chickens but I failed to make it big enough for easy clean out.

 

A future coop would be high enough off the ground so a wheelbarrow could be level with the floor to make clean out easy.

 

It would also have multiple chicken tunnels made from PVC conduit and chicken wire that extends out from the coop with doors for easy rotation.

 

A roll out nest box that worked and a feeder that kept out birds and rodents would also help to make raising chicken easier.

 

What innovation am I forgetting?  What feature would you add to a dream chicken coop?