I finally finished building my two new yuppie A-frame poultry houses a few weekends ago. I made one for chickens, with nest boxes and doors in the back for collecting eggs. The other one is just a plain night house. The two new houses are on the left, fully roofed; and the older, half-wire house is on the right.
I have the five duck hatchlings growing in the half-wire house. I bought some day-old Rhode Island Red chicks at the local feed store. I considered mail-ordering some, but have read a lot of the hatcheries are back-ordered quite a bit, and I was convinced I only needed a few. The feed store’s order was arriving right after I finished the houses.
I figured I only wanted about a dozen chickens, max, but asked for fifteen, figuring on some mortality. After I paid, the cashier said, “oh, you qualify for six free chicks based on the amount you spent today.” Ok, so now I have 21 chickens, and naturally, zero mortality! I think once you get them out of that mass-production environment into a roomy, warm pen with very accessible food and water, their individual odds of survivial go way up. Plus, I got there soon after their order had arrived, so got “fresh” chicks, and picked the most vigorous ones. I kept them in the house for the first several days until they were well established.
This was a pullet order, but I’m sort of hoping there will be a screw-up and at least one rooster in there, as I’d like fertile eggs. If not, I can buy one later. But these gals are a start, this fall, we should be able to start enjoying fresh chicken eggs, to augment the duck eggs. When they get a little bigger, I’ll teach them to range during the day, but go back into their house at night.
2 thoughts on “Poultry Houses”
I love the top photo of the A-frame houses! 🙂 I couldn’t tell if you move them like tractors or not — they look relatively portable. If you do move them, I highly recommend an automatic chicken waterer based on chicken nipples. I learned the hard way that traditional waterers like the one I see in your photo can spill on uneven ground in a tractor, and your hens can die of heat exhaustion. We moved to automatic waterers and never looked back!
Thanks Anna. Yes, I do think automatic watering systems are nice, I use float valves on some of my outdoor water tubs that the birds use; though we also have a natural stream, so there is always water available. The float valves are there more for me, because I often forget to turn the water off, sometimes for hours!! :-0 We only house our poultry in these at night, they are free-ranged during the day. I would hope that even for people using traditional water towers or tubs, that they are checking on their birds at least once a day, so would catch any problems well before the birds would be in danger of dying from lack of food or water.
We do move these houses, thus the long handles on them. I would guess they weigh 150 lbs or something, they are some work for two people to heft, but it’s do-able. It makes it really convenient for cleaning them out, and we also often change our minds about where we want them on the farm. We may soon start housing our poultry in the same fields as our big livestock, so then these will really come in handy.