Chickens and coops in summer

hanging out with mom

hanging out with mom

This is our second summer with the chickens.  Last year they arrived a few days old in June so they were in our garage housed securely in a stock tank until they were old enough to be in the coops and in the pastures late in the summer. 

So, this year I am observing, as the heat has hit us in the 100’s, that they enjoy the barn a lot.  I keep the big ceiling fans on and the alpacas hang out in there during the heat of the day for the shade and breezes. We do have the coops up on cement blocks and some  also like to hang out there where the winds sweep through and they can fluff in the dirt.  The barn has a hard packed dirt floor but they really know how to dig in and make their dust bowls.  In the evening in the barn I am putting back the dirt they displaced.

I let a hen get broody and she hatched out some eggs; these 2 were the only ones that survived.  They are lots of fun to watch and easier on me because she takes care of them and I don’t have to worry about their comfort.

So I have decided that next time we make coops, because we made one for each pasture to house about 10 each, that the coops don’t need to be so tall. They must be well ventilated and have enough floor space for everyone at night which we have now, using a sheet of 4×8 plywood for the floor (not any finish; I have not had a single moisture issue).  The A-frame design is great because it funnels the air from the vents installed down low up and out the vents in the A-frame roof line vents.  I also keep the big door open during the day to help the breezes come through. Also, the guineas decided they don’t need or want to be in a coop at night during the summer.  They nest around on the ground near each other and I close up everyone else in their coops. 

With a little modification to the design to bring down the roof-line, I think it would be a pretty perfect coop.  I like it because I don’t have to walk into it. The 4′ depth allows me to reach anywhere inside and the 8′ length is also reachable, although I sometimes use the little kitty litter scoop I have hanging in each one (to clean out the dishpan nests) to reach any stray eggs that may have been laid in the far corners.

If you don’t yet have chickens, I hope you consider getting some from a poultry supplier like Ideal Poultry.  You will know your birds are disease free and purebred.   The eggs are awesome and I located a nearby egg buyer on LocalHarvest who pays for the feed by buying my eggs.

staying cool in the barn

staying cool in the barn

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4 Comments

  1. July 16, 2009 at 2:26 PM

    Hi Kathleen, I hope you try some. Maybe go in with some others so you can split an order (usually a minimum number chicks in order to ship). They chow down on all insects, so I am not seeing grasshoppers much either. They patrol the pastures and are great fun to watch.

  2. adamb said,

    July 16, 2009 at 7:06 AM

    I have seen the coops that your talented husband built from the outside and read all its benefits and it seems pretty great. Would it be possible to take a picture of the inside design? Also, I would love it if I could enlarge the pictures you post.

    I really like your blog, keep at it 🙂

    • July 16, 2009 at 2:23 PM

      I will try to shoot some good pics of the insides; basically they are just bare bones with some roosts installed and clever nest box holders I came up with that don’t cost hardly anything to make; forget buying those overpriced ones they sell. I’m a novice at this blog thing so the pictures I will try to review and see why you can’t enlarge them. Probably some button I haven’t clicked on. Stay tuned……..

  3. Kathleen said,

    July 15, 2009 at 11:02 PM

    Thanks, I’ve been thinking about some chickens. I heard they are good to have for tick combat.


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