Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chicken Shak

Welcome back to The Shak.

I have been busy with other things since I built the chicken's nest boxes. Today, I got around to building roosts. It was an easy though somewhat time consuming process.
The coop before I began work on the roost.
After collecting some scrap lumber from the barns, I cut two pieces of wood for the rear, longer legs. These I cut to the height of the bottom of the nest boxes. This puts the highest roost just above the level of the lower nest box openings.

I cut two other pieces for the front, shorter legs. The length of each was half the piece of wood I cut. They amounted to just over 10" each. It was not important to me that they be any specific length.

Then I cut two pieces with the appropriate angles on each end to connect one longer leg and one smaller leg. These I screwed together with biscuits I cut from pieces of scrap 1" x 4" pine boards. This gave me the two end pieces I needed to connect the roosts across.
One of two end pieces. Roost poles will be nailed to these.
I recycled the poles I used for the roosts from the old chicken coop on the opposite end of the same building that houses the new coop and rabbit cages. This building is over one hundred and twenty five years old. A wall of horizontal logs divides the old coop from the current coop and rabbit area. The problem with the old coop is that one corner of the building is pulling apart. The work it would have taken to repair the building and use the old coop was prohibitive.
You can see where the stone foundation eroded and the building shifted. The logs are pulling apart at the corner and the front is buckling. I welcome suggestions about fixing this. As you can see, this picture was taken even before I began fixing the fence.
I laid the roosts across the ends I built, nailing them together 10" apart. It is rare that I use nails. In this case I made an exception.
Legs and roost poles in place. I think the chickens would have been outside in the courtyard had I not been tearing up their coop. They are inquisitive creatures.
Having a standing structure, I wrapped the outside vertical walls with 16ga. 2" x 4" wire. I only chose this because I had enough lying around to complete the job. From underneath, I stapled chicken wire to the roosts. This done, the chickens will not be able to access the area below the roosts by any means.

Because the chickens will be roosting there, their droppings will collect on the floor below the roosts. I do not want them playing in or eating poop. Can't blame a guy for that.

I used chicken wire under the roosts in case they would happen to lay eggs on the roost. This will keep the eggs from dropping through to the ground and breaking while allowing poop to drop to the floor.
No sooner finished than used. Yet another success!
After positioning the roost, which can be moved for cleaning, I removed all bedding from the coop, spread new bedding, re-positioned the feeder and waterer and rehung the heat lamp to a few feet off the lower end of the roost. At this point, the chickens are probably fine without the lamp, but there is a freeze warning tonight and with all the changes I made to their environment today, I did not want to stress them.
With that, I cleaned up my messes and headed for the shower. Then I ate the ice cream and strawberries I had so been looking forward to.

Thanks for stopping. Come again soon.

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