Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Refurbish Chicken Pen

No matter how well built a chicken pen is made, there comes a time that it will need a bit of maintenance. Now....my chicken pen isn't what I would call "well built". It's cobbled together re-using materials from other projects. So after a bit over a year, it's time to do some fixing. 

First of all, the roof tarps are showing wear. Time to put on new tarps. Simple. 

Next, the nest boxes. The unit I've been using was given to me by a friend and it's been well used. One day I came out to find the bottom had fallen out of the lower level of nest boxes. But since the hens only were using the upper boxes, I didn't give it much attention. But now the top boxes are getting wobbly. Time to replace it. 

This is what's left of the old nest box unit, behind one of their perches. No bottom floor. Only two useable boxes.......

Not having enough old plywood on hand, I actually sprung for a brand new sheet. How about that! Using that new sheet plus the used pieces I had in the boneyard, the hens ended up with two new nest box units....three holers to boot. 

They're plenty big, bigger than usually recommended. That's because my hens tend to cluster all in the same nest box. I've seen 3 to 5 jammed up in a tiny box, with one or two hanging their butts out. Not a good situation for eggs. So this time the boxes are a bit roomier. We'll see how they work out. 

The top of the boxes have a lip running around them ....

That's because I've had hens lay eggs on the top of the unit. The eggs roll off and break, of course. So with the lip they shouldn't roll over the edge. I'm using clean dried grass clippings in the nest boxes as needed, as well as on top of the boxes. 

Will the hens sleep in the boxes and on top? I expect that some will. They did when the boxes were regulation size, so I expect they will continue their habits. Most will sleep on the perches, while some will sleep in or atop the nest boxes. 

Speaking of perches, it as time to replace the old ones. They get dirty over time. So the girls were treated to new poles to roost upon. They now have about 70' of roosting space. Currently the flock is 60 hens, so they should have enough space. 

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