|What we started with|
Mind you we have 2 hens setting right now, so we are having to deal with that also. One hen is setting on 8 eggs, the other is setting on 4 - 5. They switch nests every so often and we keep having to remove freshly laid eggs out of the nest boxes. Of course, they also choose to set in the two favorite nest boxes, even though there are six nest boxes.
List of upgrades:
1. linoleum inside the nest boxes
2. chicken wire instead of 1/2" hardware cloth under the roosts
3. multi-level roosts offset to avoid pooping issues not on diagonal posts
4. fold down flap at the bottom outside edge of the nest boxes
5. Installed storage for feed inside the coop
6. Nest boxes for setting installed inside the coop - no exterior access
|New roost setup|
|New setup complete with frame underneath|
|Our shelf for chickens|
We built the frame for the area under the roosts, but in trying it out we discovered that we needed to take off a quarter inch. After we made this minor adjustment, which included replacing one of the end boards due to cracking, the frame fit just right. This frame is covered as tightly as possible with chicken wire. The frame is held in by a board that is also removable and fitted into a space in between nails. This will make it much easier to clean out the coop next time. This arrangement should work well for us.
Since I had taken out the roosts, I had to do something else for the chickens. I started by screwing a post to the studs across from each other. Then I had to make supports for the other roosts. I took 2x4's and attached them in pairs on the sides of the coop and screwed them in firmly. After that I attached the roost piece to the top of the 2x4s. I still have one more level of roost to install after I find an appropriate piece of wood.
The next step was building a shelf about 14" wide about four feet off the floor. This shelf starts right at the edge of roosts and goes to right over the door from the coop into the greenhouse. This should give the chickens more space to use. Since we have all of these new chicks coming into the coop, we are going to need the extra room.
We also had to build a panel to go under the ramp into our greenhouse/run. We tried putting plastic up this winter, but try as we might we couldn't get it to cooperate. So we installed our panel and we will be able to staple the plastic to the panel this winter.
On a more fun note, we had our first egg hatch and it is an adorable fuzzy little ball of golden fluff. We had two chickens setting when I started writing this post. As of this morning they both decided to go on strike. So as a result, we have 2 hens that both think they should mother this poor little chick. At least we won't have to worry about the rest of the flock picking on her. As far as we can tell at this point it looks like it is a hen. But you can never have too many pictures of cute babies.
|This is Goldy|
|Such a good mama|
|Mama and Baby|
List of upgrades:
1. linoleum inside the nest boxes - Later
2. chicken wire instead of 1/2" hardware cloth under the roosts - Check
3. multi-level roosts offset to avoid pooping issues not on diagonal posts - In Progress
4. fold down flap at the bottom outside edge of the nest boxes - Check
5. Installed storage for feed inside the coop - In Progress
6. Nest boxes for setting installed inside the coop - no exterior access - Later