Tag Archives: coop

Winterizing Your Hen House

Winterizing your chicken coop.
Keeping your chickens safe, dry and warm this winter will insure you have a steady supply of fresh eggs through the cold winter months.

Install a full daylight spectrum, 6500K color temperature CFL light bulb on a timer so your chickens get a full 15 or 16 hours a day lighting from artificial and sun light will keep your hens laying well year round.

The annual cost of operating a 150-Watt Equivalent Daylight (6500K) Spiral CFL Light Bulb 6 hours a day at $0.11 a kilowatt is about $9.50 a year and you can expect you bulb to last 4 to 5 years.Your cost to light your hen house will be about 80 cents a month.

Currently at my location sunset is about 7PM. To get 15 hours of lighting I wake my chickens by setting my time to turn the lights on at 4AM an off about 8:30AM. Every month or two I will adjust the timer as needed to keep 15-16 hours a day lighting in my hen house.

Look for and repair as need rodent damage, places where rats, mice or snakes can gain entry into your hen house.

Clean windows and vent screens to allow winter sun light in and vents to allow fresh air to circulate in your hen house. Chickens will spent a great deal more time in their house during cold, wet or snowy winter weather.

Insure that you have feeders located to keep feed clean, dry and away from rodents.
Fresh water is very important to the health of your flock.
You may want or need to invest in an elect powered heater to keep your chicken watering devices ice free this winter.

Carefully inspect and repair fencing as needed. As food becomes harder to find and catch, predators like raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, stray dogs and cats will be looking to snatch a quick easy meal and your chickens will be high on their menu.

Remove old nesting materials, bedding from nest boxes. scrape sweep and remove old litter materials from hen house floor.

Put straw and old nesting materials on your garden as winter mulch on add it to your compost pile.

Wash hen house walls, floor, roost and nest boxes with a mild mixture of soap water and household bleach.
Mix bleach and soap water at a 1:5 mix rate. That being 1 part bleach to 5 parts warm soap water.
While not an exact 1:5 mix rate, to 1 cup bleach, add water to make 1 gallon of disinfectant wash water.
Keep chickens out of their house until walls, floor and nest boxes are dry.

Hint: There are a number of industrial and household disinfectants what work well. Be sure to follow ‘all’ mixing and usage instructions, warnings and caution statements. Wear eye protection and always wear rubber gloves when using any cleaning chemicals or disinfectants.

Fill nest boxes 1/4 to 1/3 full of new clean straw, grass hay or what ever is your choice of nesting material.
Spread 3 to 6 inches deep straw litter on hen house floor. This will help keep your hen house clean, dry and will also help keep your hen house a bit warmer than a house with a bare floor.

Don’t be Shy. Leave me your Comment(s)

If you see or read something you like Please Share By Re-blogging, Twitter or Email To A Friend.

Why is common sense so uncommon?

So You Want A Home Poultry Flock!

poultry Chickens are easy to raise and keep. They are mostly quite (No Roosters Please) and are easy to handle. Most breeds are non-flyers. With so many breeds available you are sure to find a breed that appeals to your eye.

Ducks Are easy to raise and keep on a small homestead or in a backyard. They are quit and easy to handle. Ducks breeds range from the tiny ornamental breeds to the heavy meat breeds. Most duck breeds are non-flyers.

Geese Are easy to raise and some breeds can reach a mature weight of 20 pounds or more. Geese are noisy and the males can become aggressive. Most geese after reaching adult weight are non-flyers. Geese are not recommended for gardeners/homesteaders with small children.

Turkey Require more hands on attention while small. Once they are 4 to 6 weeks of age they are easy to raise. Some breeds of turkeys can reach a mature weight of 45 pounds. Turkeys can be noisy and toms are often aggressive. Adult turkeys are generally non-flyers. Small children and turkeys do not go together well!

Guinea fowl are easy to raise active and alert birds. Smiling.. they make great watch dogs. Yes they are noisy birds and are not easy to handle. They are flyers. Guineas will try to roost on the highest limb of your tallest tree if allowed to roam free. To keep them in your your run the run must have a covered top. Guineas are excellent at insect control. Ticks will never be found on a homestead if you have a small flock of guineas.

Buying day old birds. Is the cheapest and in my opinion the best way to establish your homestead/backyard poultry flock. A $2.00 or $3.00 chick beats the heck out of a $12.00 or $15.00 pullet any day of the week.

However to raise day old chicks you will need a brooder of some kind. Unless you plan to raise chicks ever year or two it may not be worth the money, time and effort to raise your own day old chicks into mature birds.

I have seen brooders made from everything that can be found around the house or farm. Cardboard boxes, large plastic storage containers as well as many well built wood and wire brooders. Brooder size is important. Your brooder must be large enough for the number of chick you buy as well as having room for water and feed containers.
After you have decided what you will use as a brooder you will need something to cover your brooder top to prevent chick from jumping out of your brooder. Don’t be fooled by their size. Chicks can jump much higher than you think they can.

Last but not least. You must provide a heat source to keep your chicks from getting chilled and dieing. Use a good quality thermometer and set your heat source so the temperature 1/2 inches off the floor is about 97 or 98 degrees. Low temperatures can chill and even kill your chicks and will also hinder digestion of their food. Brooding Temperatures for Poultry Thank You ‘Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development’ website.
* Don’t panic about getting your brooder temperature perfect, if your brooder is large the chicks will move closer or move away from your heat source seeking their comfort zone.

Hint 100 or 150 watt ceramic emitter heat bulb – Cost about 12.00 to 15.00 each.
*The main advantage of ceramic heat emitting bulbs is that they will last 4 or 5 times as long as ‘standard’ heat lamp bulbs.
150 to 250 watt heat lamp bulbs – cost about $3.00 to $5.00 each.

Murry McMurry hatchery Is a great source for full color pictures and a short description of many breeds of poultry.

Not from the U.S.A. Leave a comment telling me about your home town and country

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your comment(s)

DIY – Murphy’s Law – Rule 5

hen house Anything That Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong and always at the most inconvenient time.

Winter and colder weather is nearing my door step. In my effort to winterize widows and doors, much to my dismay. I discovered that my 5 year old calk job using premium quality 30 year calk on windows and doors has failed!

So I have spent much of this week gouging out old calk readying windows and doors for a new DIY calking, to seal out winters cold ‘again’. That 30 year calk didn’t workout all that well. Grinning … So this time I’m using a satisfaction guaranteed 50 year calk. Hehehe like I will know what I did with my receipt in 5 years much less in 50 years!

Chicken Coop Poop With winter approaching I ran my chickens out of their hen house. During winters cold weather the birds will spend much more time inside their coop. With this in mind I removed all old litter and nest box grass hay. Scrapped and removed all that old chicken poop from the coop!
I mixed up 5 gallons of ‘strong’ bleach and blue Dawn dish soap water. Using a hand sprayer I washed both the inside and outside of my chicken coop from ceiling to floor/ground.
While I was at it I also sterilized their feeders and water containers.
After everything was dry I put down about 4 inches of blue stem grass hay and filled the nest boxes with fresh grass hay as well.

Not from the U.S.A. Leave a comment telling me about your home town and country

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your comment(s)

Chicken Coop Poop – Build A Coop – A Winter Project

University building plans are an excellent source of free construction plans. However you may need to ‘scale’ down some of their building plans to fit your project. Not to worry, scaling down a building plan is easy to do.
Plans often have a complete building materials list as well as a cut-up list to help you construct your building whether it be a chicken coop or a rabbit hutch.
North Dakota State University Has an extensive list of building plans for poultry and all kinds of livestock.

The-Practical-Poultry-Keeper was first published in 1867, however information it contains is free and it’s information is still just as valid to day as it was in 1867. It is a very useful book with a lot of useful information and it contains many very nice chicken breed pictures. It is in a downloadable PDF file so you can download this book for a handy reference.

If you household is anything like mine there is little spare cash. It seems like everything has doubled in price this past year. Getting Free building plans is always a good thing.

Google-ing ‘chicken coop plans‘ I found page after page of plans For Sale but few that were really Free. Being disappointed but not to be deterred, I continued searching – Guess What I discovered… There are a ton of truly Free building plans for storage sheds that can be easily adapted for use as chicken coops.

Using plans for a storage shed of the size you need for your very own chicken coop. All one need do is to add a few nest boxes and a stick or two for your hens to roost on and you have a great chicken coop.

Free Chicken Coop Plans website You may find this site of interest. It’s a fun website and is even useful.

Not from the U.S.A. Leave a comment telling me about your home town and country

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your comment(s)

Chicken Coop Poop – Poultry Coop – A Fall And Winter Project

The term chicken coop is a generic term. Your coop will work equally well for housing chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese or game birds.

Many people raise ornamental birds. When considering raising ornamental birds it is advisable to make your coop and outside runs at least 2 or even 4 times normal size to prevent plumage damage from outside run wire or a smallish coop.

If you put a poultry wire top on your outside run to prevent them flying out of your pen. You can also raise game type birds like guinea fowl, quail, pigeons, and pheasants. Some people refer to this arrangement as a fly pen.

When designing and constructing a fly pen don’t make the mistake of making it so low to the ground that you can not walk erect in the pen. Unless you are 3 foot 9 inches tall, a four(4) foot tall fly pen is way to low. Think about making your fly pen at least 6 feet tall.

Being frugal ‘Not Cheap’ I always start my new projects by visiting my local hardware (lumber) store. I ask them if they have any ‘Damaged’ lumber on sale at a bargain price. Warped or bowed lumber will work just fine in constructing your poultry house, outside run or fly pen. Damaged lumber can often be purchased for less than 1/2 the price of prime construction materials. Your poultry really will not care if you use a few damaged 2X4’s.

Don’t skimp on buying good quality hinges, latches and poultry wire. Using good quality hardware makes it much easier to keep predators like cats, dogs, racoons, skunks and such out of your poultry run and coop.

Sizing your coop to best fit your needs. Different birds have different space and roosting needs. Chickens benefit from having a roost. 12 inches of roost space per bird is recommended. Turkeys will seldom use an indoor roost. Ducks and geese are ground roosters and have no need for a indoor roost. With the exception of guineas most game birds are ground roosting birds.
Pigeons have quite different roost requirements. Please research their roost needs ‘before’ buying or trapping pigeons.

Chickens require at least 2 square feet of coop floor space. Ducks require 3 square of floor space and geese need 4 or more square feet of floor space.
A 4 foot by 8 foot 4X8=32 square feet. However you must remember some of that floor space will be occupied by roost, nest boxes, feeders and water containers. A 4×8 coop will house about 10 or maybe 12 laying hens. 8 ducks and about 4 turkeys or geese.
The outside run should be 2 or 3 times as large your coop floor space.

A coop that is 8 foot by 8 foot in size is a good size for the average backyard or tiny farmer. Healthy happy birds produce many eggs and quickly gain weight.

If you are unable to design your coop there are many University sites with fact sheets and design plans to assist you in designing and constructing you coop, outside run or fly pen.

Not from the U.S.A. Leave a comment telling me about your home town and country

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your comment(s)