The Chicken House and Lessons Learned
Kevin Felts 11.21.16
In the summer of 2014 my ever expanding flock got a new chicken house. We went from a 4 foot by 6 foot raised chicken house to a 16 feet by 16 feet house that is on the ground. The new house presented all kinds of problems.
When roosting, chickens try to reach the highest point in the chicken house. Roosting is when chickens settle down for the night. Some like to be alone away from the rest of the flock, while others like to be in a group.
If there is anything to get on at night, they will try to roost there. Chickens will sleep in the laying boxes, they will sleep on a feed barrel, on a water drum. If there is “anything” a chicken can get on, they will attempt to roost on it.
Chicken House Design
Roosts are usually tree branches, maybe a 2×4, 2×2, whatever is at hand when the chicken house is built. The chickens will get on the boards or tree branches before nightfall and will spend the night there.
The problem is, while the chickens are sitting on the rooster all night, sometimes they have to poop. They stand up a little bit, then drop a pile of poop on whatever is under the roost.
It is important not to have anything under the roost.
Sometimes though, chickens get on things like a water barrel or barrel where feed is stored. Then the poop builds up on the top of those items.
My chicken house has a 35 gallon water barrel that goes into a pan. Water level in the pan is controlled by a float.
Some of the chickens would roost on top of the water barrel. During the night they would poop allover the top of the barrel. This created problems when it was filled up.
The chicken poop had to be scraped off the top of the water drum. To fill the drum there was a 3 inch hole with a threaded plug. There would be poop all over the plug. When removing the plug sometimes small pieces of poop would fall inside. This created a very unhygienic situation.
The water barrel had to be moved outside to prevent the chickens from roosting on it.
The chicken feed is kept in a metal trash can. If the can were made of plastic, rodents would be able to chew through it and get to the feed.
Several of the chickens roost on the feed barrel. Which means the lid is covered in chicken poo. Removing the lid is nasty. The feed barrel can not go outside, so I am building a sloped hinged top above the barrel.
While roosting, chickens like something level and stable to grab onto. Using a piece of plywood for the sloping top means chickens have nothing to grab. If they can not get a steady foothold, they will look for another place to roost.
Sleeping in Laying Boxes
That is another issue I am having to deal with. When it gets resolved I will post something about it.