Category Archives:Livestock

Winterizing a chicken coop

The time has come! Fall is here; pumpkin is everywhere in everything. And with all these changes comes that cold weather, so our chicken coop needs some winterizing!

Here is what it looks like now.

We are going to change the way the nesting boxes are. We think that with the A frame style of the roof, the girls are having a hard time getting into the built-in nesting boxes.
We started with adding a floor to prevent mice and other rodents from building nests inside the coop.
We constructed the new nesting box on the back 24 X 12 X 12 X 14 so that the roof is angled to prevent water damage. Making sure to paint the complete inside and outside for ease of cleaning.

Adding the hole in the back of the coop for the nest entrance may seem complicated, but we used a circular saw. Placing the saw in the middle of the line to cut helped to make sure I didn’t cut past the size of the hole we wanted to make.

The last thing we did to winterize was put a piece of sack (from a seed bag) over the window to prevent drafts. dsc07126
Now our girls will be happy and dry this winter!

The Meat Chickens

On May 5th, I picked up our chickens.

The meat birds we ordered are Cornish broilers.  We ordered 10, and started them on chick starter feed. In our brooder, we also had our 5 Speckled Sussex for laying eggs.

At first we put them in a large Rubbermaid container filled with shredded paper.
Plastic brooder

I found out quickly that shredded paper is not a good option for bedding. The paper was not absorbable enough for all of the waste and water spillage. Also the container only worked for a short time. The meat birds quickly outgrew the hens, and the chick grower feed was allowing them to grow fast.

We moved them to a commercial chick brooder and used pine woodchips. Never use cedar woodchips; the oils cause irritation to the chickens’ feet.

chick pen

I also bought a bag of chick developer feed, and we started limiting the chickens food intake by filling the feeder and allowing them to eat for 30 minutes. Usually they were done eating before 30 minutes, but we would weigh the food before and after to see how many ounces of food they were eating. (Now almost 4 weeks later the meat birds are eating a pound of food).

Again they were crowding out the hens. The weather has been nice enough that, even though the meat birds weren’t completely feathered out, we moved them out to their chicken tractor.

meat birds 1

They are doing very well in their new home, and in a few weeks they will be ready for butchering.