Poultry housing part2

Person Author: Pam Thompson Calender June 21, 2012 Posted Tags: , , , Comment 1 Comment

Further to my last blog post on how to build a cheap and excellent chicken house, I thought I’d cover some more options and give my opinions on them.
So here are some things to consider.
Firstly, and obviously important is how much space do you have and where is it to be sited? Will they have a run attached or will the house only be for sleeping and egg laying. Then you have to think about how easy it is to clean.
Obviously, if it is low on the ground, cleaning it will involve bending down or even kneeling on the ground. If cleaning is awkward or difficult, the temptation might be not to do it as often as it should be done.
The ark type coops seem to be popular but aren’t a great design. The sloping sides mean that the edges of the ark cannot be used by the birds. They will only have a restricted area in the centre. It’s also on the ground low down so cleaning is more difficult. Although I once saw some great ark type houses which were apparently for pheasant rearing. They stood 6 feet high in the centre and were a good 6 feet wide and 12 feet long.

There are some moulded plastic brightly coloured ones on the market (they look like an igloo) which claim they never get red mites in. I can tell you they do, as I once had to take in some neglected chickens complete with one of these. The owner was an elderly chap who was unable to get down on his knees to clean and collect eggs. As I removed the birds in order to assess and treat for worms and lice, the red mites were crawling up my arms from the house. I pressure washed the whole thing, then treated it with insecticide and it made a fairly useful guinea pig house. I’d not keep chickens in it though, and I’d not buy one myself as I discovered they cost around ¬£500 to buy.
Ideally you want a raised house, spacious enough to keep the feed and water containers inside to prevent wildlife and vermin from accessing it. There needs to be proper perches in with enough room for the chickens to have a couple of inches between each bird as they roost. The perch should be removable in order to check and treat for mites, and you should be able to remove dirty litter and eggs without having to get down on your hands and knees.And it needs to be very well ventilated in order to prevent lung problems in cold weather, plus it needs to be able to be closed and locked securely against foxes and the like.
The MOST important thing about a chicken house is not how pretty it looks. Nor what it cost. Nor how well known the manufacturer is. It is the welfare and comfort of the chickens.

If the birds are to be confined to a run area, you need to consider that in rainy weather, a plain earth run will soon become wet and muddy and the chickens poop a lot. The ground soon becomes not only sour but a morass of some pretty nasty bacteria like salmonella for instance. The chickens will be pecking about in this. Do you really want to eat the eggs they lay?

So if you only have a limited amount of space, consider a concreted run or one with a deep layer of gravel so that you can hose it down weekly. Otherwise make 2 runs and given them turn and turnabout  on a monthly basis so that one area gets rested.


One Response to “Poultry housing part2”

  • denise nagle:

    have been reading your articles weith interest……do not yet have set up sorted but was wondering what you think of the idea of a mobile home being used as a chicken house…..your thoughts would be appreciated…was thinking in y head about 8 chickens and maybe a coupole of turkeys…it would be in an enclosed pen about 60foot by 30foot with a mesh roof.

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