My household and I’ve saved chickens on and off over the previous decade. However lately, after shifting off the household land the place we labored as full-time poultry farmers, we didn’t suppose they’d work at our new dwelling. Then got here the pandemic and, like so many different folks, we referred to as up the hatchery and positioned an order for six Australorps.
We hand-built our coop (hardly our first such undertaking) from scrap wooden I collected whereas modifying for a woodworking journal. As a result of we now have a whole lot of hawks in our neighborhood, we constructed a spacious run out of outdated fencing wire and a decommissioned greenhouse body.
We raised our little girls within the basement rest room, then, once they feathered out, proudly moved them to the coop.
I’m glad we made the choice to change into poultry-keepers once more. We actually respect the companionship, amusement and scrumptious eggs they delivered to latest summers. However I additionally benefit from the countless initiatives that chicken-keeping gives me.
This 12 months, I added clear roofing to their run and constructed pop-out nesting packing containers onto the coop. I put in an computerized coop door opener and video digital camera. I even made an auto-waterer out of a 5-gallon bucket and farm-store consuming cups.
However, after all, I can discover extra to do. (Thank goodness) So, looking forward to 2022, listed below are 4 enhancements across the hen coop I’d prefer to make—each for my chickens and myself.
1. Elevated Air flow
Our tidy little coop is nothing fancy—only a raised field with a skillion roof. The construction is tucked subsequent to our storage and opens as much as their lined run. It’s all very ample, and I watch the birds fortunately cavorting by way of the run all day lengthy.
However I feel they may use extra air flow. We had some scorching days over the summer season, and I do know a number of nights had been very uncomfortable for our girls.
My chickens’ favourite a part of the coop expertise is the massive, clear-plastic window that they will look out of whereas cozy on their perch. (Additionally they like to peck at it and make noise every time my neighbor lets the canine out.) This plastic has grown soiled, although, and actually heats issues up within the coop in the course of the day.
This 12 months, one of many first hen coop enhancements I need to make is to interchange this plastic window with one thing that may enhance air flow. So I’m preserving an eye fixed out for a equally sized outdated window and even steel display that I can put in there come spring with out impeding their view.
2. Mud Baths
My chickens love the grime ground of their run. And, because the grime stays dry underneath the plastic roof, they like to dig mud baths within the grime to maintain themselves “clear” of parasites.
However this 12 months I’d prefer to make them a bit sandbox to mud bathe in. It’ll be nicer for them basically and maintain their run ground away from all these holes. (Simply kidding—they’ll nonetheless dig holes.)
I determine I’ll simply get an untreated fence put up and minimize it into 4 items to kind a tough field. I’ll loosen the grime ground contained in the field. Then I’ll combine some nice sand and dry grime, with a beneficiant dose of diatomaceous earth to beat back lice and mites. And in summer season, once I empty the fireplace pit, I’ll put in a little bit of ash to the combo (it provides nutritional vitamins).
I believe this shall be considered one of my hens’ favourite hen coop enhancements this 12 months.
3. Herb Backyard
My household is “that home” within the neighborhood, as we’ve torn up the entrance yard for extra gardening house. We develop decorative flowers there, in addition to a number of the extra engaging produce vegetation. And we develop a whole lot of herbs.
This 12 months, when selecting our kitchen herbs to develop, I need to be extra intentional about rising some particularly for the chickens to get pleasure from.
We already develop poultry favorites equivalent to sage, parsley and oregano. So it’s only a matter of creating certain we plant sufficient to share.
4. Area Journeys
As a result of we now have hawks and owls in our neighborhood (to not point out opossums, raccoons and the occasional fox), our girls spend their days in a lined run. They’re comfy in there, with loads of house to maneuver. They also have a handful of toys to fend off boredom.
However we’ve all the time free-ranged our chickens, so it form of bothers me that they don’t get to wander by way of the yard gardens.
Whereas I can’t actually open the door and allow them to out each morning, I do sit out on the patio and watch them when the climate is sweet. And I really feel like, with a bit effort, I can return a number of the pleasure they provide me throughout these instances by letting them out on subject journeys.
I’ll most likely have to put up some fencing to maintain my canines from messing with them. We now have step-in movable fencing at our household farm, so it could be as simple as bringing that to our dwelling. Or maybe I’ll simply usher them into the fenced–in vegetable backyard and allow them to have some tasty treats.
Then, at nightfall, I do know they’ll head again to the run and coop.
I do know my chickens helped us by way of the difficulties of latest years, so I’m excited to make their 2022 just a bit bit higher. And hen coop enhancements imply extra initiatives for me in 2022!