If you have read the “My Journey” page you know we have laying chickens on our farm homestead. We started out with a small prefabricated coop like this one. We bought it at a local farm supply store. One of the first problems I encountered with this coop was keeping it clean was a chore! A tough one that required a lot of bending and twisting to get the job done. The second hurdle came when cold weather set in, since it wasn’t the sturdiest thing, it wasn’t feasible to try and move it, so and we had to find a way to insulate the coop itself to keep the chickens protected from the weather. We used some old insulated doors to put along the back and sides and that got us through the winter.
Then in the spring, we purchased two more pullets, and suddenly problem #3 came to light, overcrowding! We realized we needed a better set up if we were going to keep chickens on the farm. We did some brainstorming and decided since we both love the look of old west towns, we wanted a building that looked like it was right out of an old western movie!
My husband designed and built a perfect shed that now houses our chickens on one side, and our horse tack and feed for the animals on the other side! We even had fun with names for the building, coming up with things like the “Henrietta Hotel”, the “Hen-eral Store” and my personal favorite, “The Sunny-side Café”! I was even going to set up a sign outside like you often see by a cafe that said “Eggs served fresh daily, bring your own bacon!” I started painting the coop, but the top will have to wait for the warmer temps of Spring! What I love most about this new coop is the ease of keeping it clean! The nesting boxes are at just the right height, and there is a built in perch with a lower section for pine shavings right in front of the nesting boxes. When the hens roost there in the evenings, that is where most all of their droppings fall. This allows me to take a litter scoop I purchased and just push all the littered shavings right out into a waste container. I then move the shavings from the nesting boxes to the roosting area, and simply refill the nesting boxes with fresh D & E (a powder that keeps parasites at bay) and fresh pine shavings, and the girls have a nice clean home once again!
We have learned a lot about chickens since we started, but still have a ways to go, there are a lot of considerations with housing, feeding, and especially keeping your flock healthy. If keeping chickens is something you are considering, I encourage you to check these links for some great tips to get you started!
Happy Hen-keeping and Be Blessed!