Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our Odd Chicken Coop

We have an odd chicken coop! I got it in trade a few years ago for a month's worth of guitar lessons. The coop looks like a huge rabbit cage. It has worked really well for our chickens. We had foxes that lived next door for a while and we often have raccoons coming down from the mountains. I don't mind the foxes as much as the raccoons. The foxes take a chicken home for dinner while the raccoons just play with them and leave an ugly mess for us to clean up. Since we have had this coop we haven't lost any chickens to predators.

Here you can see the front of the cage with the chicken ramp that Hubby built. On the right side of the door there is a feeder. There is a plastic shoe box on the left side of the door that we also use as a feeder. We don't use the feeders during the warm weather, but when it is cold we make sure there is always food in them. In the warm weather we feed all the birds (ducks and chickens) in the poultry pen or on the ground.

About halfway through the cage there is a dividing screen. It has a doorway cut into it so the chickens are free to go from the front to the back. When we get new hens (usually older hens that someone doesn't want) we put them into the back area and close the door. They live there for a few days. By the end of the second or third day the old flock and the new flock have woken up together enough times that they think they all belong together. There is a door on the other end so we have an easy time giving the new chickens food and water.

Here is a photo from inside the front door. You can see that we are as thrifty as we can be around here. The lay boxes are cardboard fruit boxes from the local grocery store (free). I cut a large notch in the front and fill the boxes with old grass hay. They hens seem to like them since we find eggs in them every day. I like them because if they get really messy I just toss them in the garbage and go get some new ones. I never have to clean them out.

The whole cage is covered with a tarp and sits on top of a wooden frame. There is a board placed on the back to keep the wind out. There is also a long board leaning against the side to keep the wind out. The ducks sleep underneath the chicken coop at night so the boards give them some protection as well.

The bottom of the chicken coop is made of wire screen. This works out well since the droppings generally fall through to the bottom. The whole coop is easily moved so we can clean out underneath or change the position of the coop as we need to. This coop has been moved many times!


Grandma Elsie said...

Hey I remember those chicken cages.. They work to.
But those ducks ,,,If I remember right they can Pinch ... Am I right.?
What a fun time my youngest granddaughter who's 10 this October, would have at your farm. She loves animals and would love to have a horse..
I am glad all is going well with the animals now.

TJ said...

It would be fun to have your granddaughter visit!

No, we don't have any mean ducks. The number one rule on the farm is 'be nice or be tasty.' We have too many visitors to have mean animals!