I think my regular readers will know I recently teamed up with Louise from The chicken House Company to offer you some great Chicken advice!
Because I’ve got a busy blog with lots going on including crochet and kids and Legoland and such like, I’ve decided to move all my chickeny posts to Fridays…so Friday will henceforth be known as ‘Chicken Day’ and I will be relying on the lovely (and knowledgeable) Louise for all my info!
This week we are talking housing.
First thing’s first: you could do with having your main housing for your chooks and maybe something smaller so that if necessary you can separate them (for instance if you have poorly chooks). Last week I missed a brilliant photo opportunity when two of my girls got sick. One was injured by another during the pecking order fiasco and the other simply couldn’t get to the food because of the more dominant hens so she was getting herself all skinny and poorly… so I ended up with bathroom chickens! Yes, yes you read that right! And I missed taking a photograph because shortly after I got them installed in the downstairs bathroom I got sick myself and was in bed for four days. Anyway, to cut a long story short if I had had a spare coop, I would not have had bathroom chickens…which sounds cute but is actually MESSY!
I put them on a sick chook diet which can be found on the Lucky Hens Website Here. I would list the ingredients but Alison at Lucky Hens has requested that I share the link rather than the recipe. Get over there and take a look though, it’s marvellous! It basically involved making a pan of healthy food for them each day and allowing them access to that in addition to their ordinary food and water. They soon started to put on weight and were soon flapping about and wrecking the joint and so I put them back outside. They are separate from the others now though, after my second coop arrived and the bullies can just see them through the wire of the cage rather than get to peck them! We will try and reintroduce them when they are stronger!
There are so many poultry housing options on the market today and many companies seem to be creating problems for poultry at the same time. Plastic poultry houses are not ideal due to the hens sweating in the summer and getting too cold in the winter.
Wooden housing is breathable as it is natural and also a good insulator.
This is my chicken coop that the ‘bathroom chickens’ are now living in. It is ideal because they have a small run, but the other chooks can’t get to them and peck them. Of course they can’t be stuck in there separate forever, but just until they are strong enough I will be keeping them in there.
This is a dream coop! Massive!
Louise said that a vet once told her “there seem to be a lot of health problems with poultry and plastic housing”
There are lots of arguments surrounding this in the public domain, so I am not going to add fuel to the fire, research well before you buy.
Visit www.thechickenhousecompany.co.uk for your wooden hen housing.
Once you have found the right size poultry house for you and it has arrived, you will need to assemble it, this can take up to an hour to erect, longer if you are getting help from your children! Once it is up, you will need to ensure that it is treated with a good wood preserve, these also come in varied colours now. This will help prolong the life of your poultry house. If the poultry house is already treated then you can skip that part.
After treating your house (just on the outside not inside where the chickens walk around as they will burn their feet) leave the house to dry for a couple of days.
Fox/predator proofing your Poultry House
Not every poultry house is fox proof, if you have a persistent fox or badger they could potentially get in and kill your chickens.
Foxes and Badgers tend to hunt at dusk/night. Foxes especially have a chain of food places to eat and you can set your clock to them, if your hens are not put away to roost or the fox smells them, he will potentially see if he can get a sneaky feed on the way to his normal restaurant. There are lots of ways to ensure that you have a secure poultry house. Foxes and Badgers burrow under the house, bite the mesh and try and get into the nest boxes. Place your poultry house on railway sleepers which have been embedded into the ground and screw your poultry house to the sleepers, this way they cannot burrow under. Make sure that your nest box floor and lid is secured, add more screws if needed. The mesh needs to be strong enough 19” gauge so that predators cannot cut this with their teeth.
The other option is to buy a fox proof base for your poultry house when buying your unit. My hen coop is on a concrete base, which makes it safe from a predator point of view, however concrete runs have other issues which I will discuss when I’ve asked Louise for a solution!
I hope this post has helped you with your Lucky Hens: housing questions,
Louise and I will be back next Friday with some more advice!