Coop Improvements – Late 2012

In addition to adding the sunroom, I’ve made a few odds-and-ends improvements to the old coop since cleaning it out when we moved in.  I still don’t really like this coop, and think it will probably get rebuilt (likely in a different spot, closer to the old 3-car garage near the pasture area that we call “the shed”).  But at least until next summer it’s the only coop we have, so it seems worthwhile to make it a little nicer.

When we moved in, this roosting ladder was (very firmly!) affixed to the coop:

old_roostApart from being dirty (and that picture was taken after six hours of cleaning!), it’s not awful.  As we watched the birds use it, though, it seemed to be at a very sharp angle, and Amy was afraid the birds would poop on each other.  I never saw this happen, but it seemed possible.  The location of the roost also wasn’t ideal for the way I want to use the space, and so I took getting the new pullets as an excuse to rebuild the roost.

I mostly re-used the old roost, but pried it out of its old location and re-angled it against a different wall.  I also replaced the horizontal members with slightly longer pieces of scrap 2×4 I had around:

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Since I don’t yet have a way to work the Avian Aqua Miser watering system during our cold Wisconsin winters, I put the heated waterer I used last winter back in, hanging from an old metal table leg that I found in the fire pit when we moved in (?!).  I’m hopeful that its somewhat sunny spot might at least moderate the amount of power it needs to use to keep the water from freezing.

The girls seemed to quickly accept the new roost.  There’s plenty of room for more!

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The guidance I’ve read suggests that 4-5 hens will share a nesting box. By that standard two boxes should suffice, but I figured since I’ve got physical space (and now roosting space) to spare, I may as well have a proportionate amount of nesting box space. It actually turned out to be really easy to piece together this nesting box four-plex out of scraps I had around:

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I saw this design for a PVC-based feeder on pinterest, and liked its use of otherwise wasted vertical space. So I made one for food, and two smaller ones for grit and oyster shells:

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Next to the feeders is the door I cut into the new sunroom. The chickens will now have free access to this extra ~8x12ft. space, even on days when weather or our schedule make it infeasible for them to get out into the run:

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