I suspect that the chicken house is actually a converted brick cubby house. It has a house look about it and it looks like the windows were boarded up. We inherited the chicken house and run, along with 3 chickens, when we bought the property in Decemeber 2012.
When we took our two injured chickens to the vet last Sunday, the vet asked me how clean the chook pen was. He did not want the wounds of the chickens to become infected with dirt. We safely installed Washington in our bathtub, while she recovered, and I set to work to clean and improve the chook pen.
I had only cleaned it the week before but it has been raining pretty much non-stop since the beginning of the year. So the sawdust and soil was saturated.
So I cleaned out the old sawdust and hosed out the concrete floor.
Eating and Drinking
The eating area used to be be just dirt but I did add sawdust. I had read that chickens will eat food off the muddy floor so this is not ideal. I saw this great idea on Pinterest and followed the link to find out more.
Lining the floor with rocks prevents the chickens from kicking dust, dirt and feathers into the food and water containers. We have a LOT of rocks on our property and so I used a bunch of them to line the floor of the eating area. It might take a while for the chickens to get used to but it does look better.
The Nesting Box
Remember when our chooks were off free ranging all day (I still have NOT found the 2nd cache) and hiding the eggs? Well since adding curtains and being penned inside away from predators things have improved with egg laying.
I staple gunned the curtains to fit the nesting box better. I love staple guns.
One of our newest hens started following Washington and Obama into the nesting box last week.
|Obama in the nest.|
Then yesterday we discovered that she had laid her first egg!
|Bluey's chocolate brown egg on the left and Washington's on the right|
|Bluey looking more mature has just started to lay|
We have just had a new front fence put up and I used some of the leftover timbers to create a wooden floor and perimeter of a dust box.
No one in the livestock stores around here seems to know about Diamtomacious Earth. But our regular soil is very red and stains their feathers. Under the sawdust was some delicious looking dark dirt so I threw that into the dust box. I also discovered that the floor of half of the chook pen was lined with floor pavers.
It is a real hit with all of the chickens now. They love to lie down and flick it all over themselves. It gets a bit of sunshine too and I think that helps.
The L-shaped run around the chicken house is still pretty much a red dirt floor and it can be quite muddy during storms.
I read about another great idea on pinterest to help combat this problem. We have plenty of tree stumps to do the job and these are just under the last section of roof.
I found plenty of debris had distorted the roof above and water was pooling and incubating mosquito larvae...so I got hubby to drill a hole or three to help drain these.
I would love to limestone wash the interior brick walls, paint the nesting boxes, add some more nesting boxes where the boarded up windows are and stain the whole chook pen eventually. And I would also like to include some natural wood perches for the chickens.
But overall I think I have dramatically improved the function and aesthetics of the chicken house and run. After the dog attack I had to lock the rest of the 5 chicken inside this for about 4 days and they seemed to cope quite well.
We have since had a chicken fence constructed but more on that later...
Can you see our rooster Silver MacGregory enjoying a dust bath?
Both Breanna and Washington came back from the vets last Wednesday and have had a great weekend reunited with the flock. They have finished their antibiotic injections and Breanna will have her stitches out from her neck and side on Friday. Thankfully her wing covers most of the wound on her side and she has been happy dust bathing so it must not bother her.
Linking up to...