Before I introduce you to my ladies, I need to introduce you to their home!
I invested all thirty minutes of my architectural and engineering experience in this lengthy, detailed, sometimes frustrating, way-over-budget project. But I think that the end result is nothing short of perfect. (It is, to me, anyway. Plus, my girls seem to love it.)
I built this 6 x 12 enclosure on the rear of my property under a nice canopy of dense pine trees. They get nice sunshine in the morning, then have cool shade throughout the day. You can see that the entire thing is sloped downward to the left. That’s because my land is on a gently sloping hillside. I just built it to match the contour of the land and natural drainage. It’s working quite well.
The actual house is just a 4 x 6 enclosure, but will easily provide room for up to 12 hens if I decide to add to my little “flock.” It is fully equipped with two bars for roosting, three laying boxes, and a lamp for heating on cold winter morning. It is also elevated to provide a nice “lounge” underneath.
Here are a few features of my deluxe luxury chicken condo:
- The posts, supports, and exposed lumber are treated to withstand the elements. Posts are 18 inches deep.
- The roof is all recycled metal roofing, left over from the roof job on my home. I had to work something of a puzzle to get it all covered, but I managed to make it happen. I added a gutter on the left to keep rain water off of the nesting boxes.
- The wire is wrapped over the top of the framing and underneath the metal roof. There are no gaps for any unwanted predators to gain access.
- The wire is also sunk six inches deep below the bottom plate and trenched with rock and concrete. No diggers allowed, either. If they do make it past my concrete and wire “moat,” they’ll never get through the tangle of pine roots that lie just beneath.
- The window is recycled … a gift from a remodeling friend. If you look closely you’ll see that I have turned it around (backwards) so that I can open and close it from the outside. There is, of course, a protective screen of chicken wire on the inside.
- The screen door is also a recycled element, donated from a fellow farmer who had it stored in his shed. I simply added a protective layer of chicken wire.
- Just below the window is a clean-out trap door. I can lock it in place and rake all of the straw, pine shavings, and poop into my wheelbarrow without ever entering the house.
- On the left are the nesting boxes, easily accessible by a “robbing door,” a lockable trap door that allows me to reach right in and grab the eggs. (I also have to scoop the poop every morning since my ladies seem intent on using the laying boxes as their bedrooms, as well!)
- Inside there are plenty of roosting bars to rest and play on, as well as a private “escalator” into the hen house. The roosting bars are all recycled handled from old, broken garden tools.
- A thick layer of pine and wheat straw in the run keeps things clean and gives plenty of matter to scratch and throw around.
My girls really seem to love their home. And a daily delivery of six beautiful (all girls are laying), yummy, farm-fresh eggs tells me that they are both happy and healthy.
Here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment.