Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chicken coop tour

I got my "saltbox" chicken coop, made by Berg from Seattle Chicken Coops, delivered over the weekend and, instead of explaining every detail, I made a quick and dirty movie for you guys to see all the features.

I have to admit that I'm still a little anxious about taking on a flock of chickens. I know they are easy to take care of, but we've had a bad history of pets that haunts me, mostly because we end up having problems of one kind or other. But, now that we have a coop I'm feeling a little more committed.

I'm undecided about where to keep the coop, wondering if (once we have the run built in) it would be better to keep it on concrete or on grass. The benefit of having it on concrete is the easier clean-up, but I would need to build up at least something for them to scratch around in or they'll go crazy. The grass area is a little less convenient, but then I would be able to let them do their chickeny business, which is eating grass and enjoying some dirt. But the poop clean-up isn't as easy.

If you have chickens, what's your set-up? Are they on dirt, grass or concrete? What do you recommend?

Sorry about the spots on the video - the camera has some misty goodness on it from our trip catching crab that needs to be cleaned. And I'm still trying to figure out how to convert the HD video into something that isn't 150 MB and isn't squished or herky-jerky. But, you'll get the idea. If it's cutting off, you can go directly to the video here.



21 comments:

Sustainable Eats said...

I would most definitely put it over dirt/grass. You can practice the deep litter method so you never in essence need to clean it out, or you can get free coffee chaffe from upcyclenw.com to use. It's loaded with nitrogen and breaks down in the compost pile in weeks so you simply need to rake the poop and chaffe out and into a pile. Plus it's free! Love the plexiglass window - I may need to make some changes to mine now. Ours is our old dog house converted, bumped out for nest boxes, doors and windows cut out and put up on a platform. I attached a wooden roost across where the sleep at night. They just free range the yard during the day and we lock the doors at night. Enjoy your chickens - and your eggs!

Lisa Sharp said...

Looks great! About time Crunchy CHICKEN had some chickens lol.

Bucky said...

Damn but I am jealous. I want some yard birds.

You should plan on the grass for the birds but know that if you keep them in the same place for more than a few days it won't be grass but dirt instead. chickens will eat anything down to the dirt.

Annie said...

Our chicken house is raised. One side has a wire floor...I originally thought the poo would fall through. It mostly gets gunked up in the wire, so the second side (which was an addition when we expanded the flock) has a wood floor. We keep a thick layer of straw or leaves in the house and periodically scrape that all out and put it in the compost. Every so often I go out there with the hose and spray it all down and scrape it with a hoe or scrub with a long handled, stiff bristled brush and then let it dry out all day with all the windows and doors open.

Kelly said...

Nice!! Wishing we could have chickens but I dont think we're allowed in our borough area. Need to cbeck on that.

Kelly said...

Nice!! Wishing we could have chickens but I dont think we're allowed in our borough area. Need to cbeck on that.

Amy said...

Love it! I agree with Lisa, about time you had you some chickens :-)

panamamama said...

I know mine love the grass. I need to get a run set up because I'm so scared when they start laying it will be under the deck! :) My house is similar size but not as cute. The cleanup on my 3 isn't bad. I compost it and use hay for the tray so it cleans easier. Believe me they aren't as scary as you think. I had my coop about two months before I got chickens- then once I got them realized how easy they are. They love kitchen scraps and I have almost nothing to go in my compost pile now!

Anonymous said...

Love this coop. Does anyone know if I can use this type of coop outside in the winter or do I need to insulate it? What about heating? I am in zone 5a (Canada) and sometimes the temperatures drop to -30 celsius. We also have a lot of snow cover. Raccoons and foxes are also prevalent here. Will the chickens be safe?

meg said...

We have a coop on a tractor-like run (though we aren't using it as a tractor). We opted to put it on a brick patio (of sorts) that I put together. I did that to keep the rats from tunneling in as the area we have the coop has pretty hardpack clay and I didn't want to dig down to place hardware cloth.
The plan is to build a larger enclosure so they have protected area to run around during the day with dirt/grass...but for now I let them out sometimes when I am home.
We have a ton of raccoons/possums so I'm leary of having them out unprotected.

Debra said...

Our chicken coop has a dirt floor with about 5 inches of pine shavings mixed with the dirt. I think it is called the deep litter method. We change the shavings about once or twice a year, depending on how much rain we get. The hens get to explore the back yard grass for a few hours everyday.

The pheasants stay in their cage because they would probably fly away if they could. Their cage has 3 or 4 inches of hay covering the dirt floor. We change that 4 times a year.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be a spoil sport, but I understand from previous posts your husband has cancer. Have you checked with his Oncologist if you can have chickens around? Normally cancer patients are warned to stay away from birds. A friend of mine w/lymphoma caught a major infection from a benign disease his chickens had. It was a sickness that normally does not commute to humans, but due to his low immunity, he was quite suseptable.
Good luck and best wishes

Crunchy Chicken said...

Anonymous - You aren't being a spoil sport. I actually totally forgot about that. We have a call in to our oncologist to see what they say.

I'm hoping that if I'm the primary chicken whisperer then it won't be a problem, but if it is, I'm working with my coop builder to figure out what to do then. Cross your fingers!

Kate said...

I don't know how much dirt/grass you have in your yard. But we keep our four laying hens in a mini-rotational grazing system. The four hens are moved each morning before they're let out into the pen, which is 30 square feet. Mostly the grazing path just circles our 2000 square foot garden, though if the lawn there gets too beaten up by the hens, we do have a few other spots where we can move them to let the turf recover. I don't bother cleaning up what they leave on the lawn at all. After a few days it's mostly undetectable, and with the rain you get in the Seattle area evidence will probably disappear even faster. There's a link on my sidebar for going mobile with a backyard flock.

I recommend keeping them on grass. It's so much kinder than concrete.

Greenpa said...

We've been using our 2 chicken tractors to fertilize the apple trees. They're only confined overnight, on grass; and after 2-4 days depending on stuff, they need to be moved. The grass stays mowed for a month; and the apple trees turn green and happy from the poo.

It DOES disappear in 3-4 days; particularly if it rains a bunch. But- in the meantime that bit is very messy. And a worry if you have kids. it's generally not recommended to have kids get a lot of exposure to chicken poop. We've got 160 acres to play on so it's not hard to tell the kids to stay the heck away from there; but you'll have to figure out how to wrangle it for your own situation.

Our winter Poultry Palace, designed for breeding, has a dirt floor which we'll cover with 6" of wood chips, then add more chips. Figure to shovel them out and compost them 2x a year. We'll see.

Concrete I think is more work. Maybe.

Anna said...

Your coop is designed to be used as a chicken tractor! Once you get the run closed in with wire it's perfect to rotate your chickens around the yard one little patch at a time. Before you let down that ladder just tilt it back and move it to a fresh patch of bugs and worms and grass! High protein diet for the birds= super healthy orange yolks for you! No cleaning poop, just one or two days of droppings per square mixes into the ground pretty fast. We free range our chickens in the country, if you have gates/fences that might work depending on the local code. Chicken poop makes your soil happy (just not in high concentration). Oh we do deep litter method inside the coop too, but I think yours is too small. Makes quite the active compost pile!

Laura said...

Definitely grass! Agreed, it is designed so you can truck it all over the yard. FYI - you need to move it pretty often if you don't want them to denude your yard, but they love scratching around. And they may get sores on their chest if they are on concrete all day. :) My ten cents. Enjoy them, I LOVE my chickens.

Leevelyn said...

I vote grass/dirt. By being on ground they actually eat all the grit they need for their gizzards (& digestion) and it's one less thing to think about keeping. If you can let them out in your yard through the day you'll be surprised how little mess there will be to deal with. In my actual "house" I use straw and it just decomposes over time.

ChookChick said...

We have enough to free-range our flock. I'd still urge towards getting them in contact with dirt/grass whenever possible, and definitely feed them any weedlings from your garden---they'll love 'em! Avoid the usual toxic suspects of course (nightshade family), but otherwise let them feast. I've had chickens for 4 years now, and am still loving every minute! Whatever breeds you end up with, I reckon they'll still end up with their own unique personalities and provide PLENTY of amusing blog fodder. Enjoy!

Brad K. said...

Crunchy,

No one likes surprises. I would recommend you check the coop from the big, screened side before checking the nests.

I have an 8x12 walk in coop, 8x8 for the chickens with a raised plywood floor, the whole thing on runners. And a commercial 10-nest fixture, about 2 feet off the floor. I have had to deal with egg-stealing snakes (brown and rattler), and a series of possums.

My neighbor dealt with his snake problem with a shotgun, and about 5 or 6 shells; I didn't notice any significant change in the particle board coop. Mine is tin and plywood over a welded tubing frame, so I found an alternative. Just don't ask why I keep a three-tined pitchfork and 2 pound hammer in the chicken house.

Here in Oklahoma the winters get to -10 for a few days, most years. Ventilation, not "warmth", is what keeps the birds healthy, just avoid drafts like the plague. I put in windows that lean in about 7 inches at the top on one side, and a 5 foot by 15 inch screened (hardware cloth) vent, with plexiglass louvers, on the back. It seems to work. I do use a waterer heater in freezing weather - it even works well with a plastic waterer.

Margret said...

Annie said...

"Our chicken house is raised. One side has a wire floor...I originally thought the poo would fall through. It mostly gets gunked up in the wire"

I got my coop from Comfy Coops and we love it! It has a waterproof liner on the floor which makes it easy to clean. No poo getting stuck here! Here is the link if anyone in the seattle area is interested.

www.comfycoops.com

LinkWithin