Sunday, December 16, 2018

New Chicken Pen

When we moved to our new house, not only did we have to move ourselves, but we also had to move the chickens.  It was difficult to decide where to set up their new digs.  In the end, we built a pen around an old bodark tree with their coop serving as part of the fence on the north side.


We used our old peacock shed as the coop and used sections of old dog fencing for the pen.  Only one of the hens, the Americauna, has figured out she can fly over it.  She is half wild, anyway, so I'm not surprised.  Here's a look at it from the other side.

We didn't have quite enough dog fence to completely surround the tree, so we filled in with 6-foot woven wire.  The nice thing about the dog fence is the panels have built-in gates, like this.

The peacock shed has plenty of room for the hens.

We used 2X4s for the roosts.  These work better than round roosts because it allows them to sit down and cover their feet with their feathers to prevent frost damage to their toes.  We built shelves inside to store various things.

We store their food in metal trash cans in the corner and put up some hooks to hang rakes, etc. that are used to clean their coop.

We installed their nest boxes on the opposite side from the shelves.  

Annie, the Americauna hen, has decided a nest on the floor is much better than the man-made nest boxes.  We discovered this nest over behind one of the trash cans after Tom observed her going behind the can several times.

It was difficult to get a good picture of it, but she had collected nesting material from the nest boxes, along with feathers, and built her own nest on the floor.  We have to check there for eggs everyday.  Quite often, there are one or two.

We put a bale of straw for them outside every couple of weeks.  It doesn't take long for them to tear it apart and keeps them occupied for several days.  It also serves the purpose of covering the bare ground with mulch and keeps it from getting muddy.

All in all, we must have done a good job of building the new pen because a wild turkey hen has taken up residence there, as well.  She roosts in the bodark tree, but spends a great deal of time in the pen with the chickens.  They don't seem to mind her company.

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