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All Cooped Up~the coop and run thread

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by Beekissed, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Nov 2, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Thought it would be nice to have a place to talk about our setups, our seasonal changes, post pics and plans for coops, for the never ending coop tweaks, etc.

    I have a hoop coop, so each year I do the biannual changing of the tarps, from shade to sun and back again. I also take the feed bucket down to the house, as well as the feed storage can, and get out the heated buckets and bowls.

    The biannual changing of the hoop coop from season to season. I love this each time it happens because by the time I do it in the spring, it's pretty warm out and that shade tarp produces instant cooling....I always stand there and say, "Ahhhhhh! That's better!" as I can feel huge difference in the temps right away.

    Then, come fall it starts to feel gloomy and chilly in there, with a little dampness in the air. I start closing the sides and the back window first, to keep the cold and damp air out at night. Then, one day, I finally remove the shade tarp and apply the clear tarp. Like magic it's a sunny and joyful place again, like a sunroom for chickens. I always have a sit down there on a hay bale and grin, basking in the warmth of the sun through the tarp. I wash out and off nest boxes, try to sweep down all the funnel spiders, generally do a little tidy on the whole coop and leave it feeling good about where the chickens will live this winter.

    For a couple of days afterwards I'm sneezing my head off and all stopped up from all the dust and such, but still feeling good about the sunny winter coop. The winter coop in the hoop house was dismal before I found out about these clear tarps...just dark and dank feeling all winter long.

    This next few weeks will be leaf collection in town, to store for winter bedding in the coop. I'd like to be able to store enough for spring and summer too, but I rarely manage to work that out right.

    This year I'm going to try and funnel in some rain and snow to the DL under the roosts so I can get good composting once again...just need to bring all the components together. Last year the coop was so water tight that my DL didn't want to compost as quickly, so this year I'm going to tweak that.

    Do y'all do anything different to your coops and runs each season?

    Warm weather coop....sides lifted for extra air and shade.

    100_5534.jpg

    Cold weather coop....

    100_5374.jpg

    Sunny in the winter coop....

    100_5375.jpg
     
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  2. Nov 4, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    My grandgirls (3 1/2 and 1 1/2 yrs old) were out and helped me clean out the spare pen this morning, even though it was raining on us now and again. We all got very dirty and wet, so we just went along and deposited the chicken litter around the apple saplings and then cleaned out the flower beds around the house. Took most of that up to the coop to add to the bedding under the roosts. The little one took a 2 1/2 hr nap after all of that...could barely stagger to the bed after lunch. Funny!

    Each year I place a lot of woody plant stems and vines from the garden in that "sink" under the roosts so that when I add leaves and such later on, the woody stems, vines and stalks allow a lot of air flow into the mass. By spring you'll not see hide nor hair of that large, woody material...it will all be composted if I've done my job well.

    Tomorrow it will be change out the tarps day! :weee

    If my back holds out, it will also be clean out the dog's house and build a dog hay house day as well. Clear tarp will be placed around the spare coop also, to block the wind and rain from my leaf and hay storage.
     
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  3. Nov 4, 2017
    Hinotori

    Hinotori Super Self-Sufficient

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    My silkies sleep in little houses, but their runs are made from dog kennel panels. 3/4 of the 10x20 runs are covered. That is changing.

    The heavy snow load last winter bent the metal roof poles on two pens and I was only able to salvage enough to fix one. So using 1 inch pvc, 45° and slip joints, and kennel clamps I made a 10x20 roof over one pen. I can't justify spending the money they want for a lightweight tarp that would cover the whole thing when two of the smaller heavyweight tarps from Costco covers it just fine at a fraction of the cost. Those things will last two years in our weather. Ends of the tarps are clamped to the poles to help prevent movement.

    The roof stood up to our first windstorm of the year better than the roofs that came with the kennels.

    I have all the pvc and joints, so I'll be roofing the other kennels fully soon.

    I need to put down more straw in the runs. That will do the silkies fine for 3-4 months.

    The large fowl hens have an 8x15 dirt floored shed structure they live in. Their run is 15x35. 4 bales of straw every 2 months out there in winter. I really need to give in and just put down twice that amount. I put down two extra last year and it went almost 6 months. Mud is an issue, plus worms breaking it down from below. Lots of worms. Also no rocks like our actual soil so it can get soft.

    It used to be a lower-than-surroundings spot, which means standing puddles here even if it's not the lowest ground. After 6 years it's so built up it's much higher than around it.

    When I move the large fowl next year or so, I'm planting there. It will be the best garden soil I could ever want.
     
  4. Nov 4, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    I'll say!!! Should be able to plant dimes and grow dollars in soil like that.

    Probably pretty hard to keep silky fur and feet clean and dry in the wet months, huh?

    Straw is about $7-$10 a bale here and wood shavings around $7...about the same where you live?
     
  5. Nov 4, 2017
    Hinotori

    Hinotori Super Self-Sufficient

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    The silkies get their feet and heads muddy if I don't put straw down. Feet just because it happens. Heads they do on purpose. They don't actually get too bad. When it snows they stay very clean because silkies will NOT step one heavily feathered foot onto snow.

    Yeah. Prices run about the same. I'd use shavings with the silkies, but they break down too fast and it takes more. It only takes one bale of straw in their pens.

    Shavings are used in the coops
     
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  6. Nov 4, 2017
    NH Homesteader

    NH Homesteader Super Self-Sufficient

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    We will be working on the runs shortly, good to see what other people are doing. We use shavings in the coop and have not typically used anything in the runs. Our birds don't seem to mind snow on the ground, just don't love being snowed on!

    I don't even know where to buy straw, lol but shavings are about $6-7 so about the same here.

    The turkeys will be in a 4 cattle panel deep hoop coop for the winter. They don't mind the snow, the cold, rain or anything else NH can throw at them. We just try to keep them out of the wind and they're good.
     
  7. Nov 4, 2017
    Hinotori

    Hinotori Super Self-Sufficient

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    My ameraucana and EEs don't mind snow that much. Just seems to irritate them that they can't forage in it. I scape it back on the grass a bit when I let them out of the pen.

    Actually, the silkies are the only chickens I've had that won't willingly touch snow. And they have a ridiculous amount of foot feathering to make walking on it easier. I've taken foot feathers into account when breeding. It's kind of questionable if there is even such a thing as too much feathers on silkie feet. Mine have at least some feather on all toes.

    A third of this is foot. 20170928_191129.jpg
     
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  8. Nov 4, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    My birds don't seem to mind the snow if they think there is food to be had out there. The WRs will even break trail for me if they think food is coming! :D They find any exposed grass under benches and such and graze there.

    100_4110.jpg

    100_4111.jpg

    After the dogs break trail, then they are out there every day.

    100_4148.jpg
     
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  9. Nov 4, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    Wow - built in snowshoes (that don't get used)!
     
  10. Nov 4, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    Guess I'm just a cruddy chicken mama - my chickens all free range - they are scattered between several pastures and several barns. I don't really do anything special for them in the winter than their care in the summer - except for extra feed. Well, except for the stupid ones that want to roost outside on a fence no matter what the weather. If it gets much below freezing I'll pluck them off of a fence (if I can) and throw 'em in the closest barn.
     
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