posted on Jan, 21 2015 @ 03:55 PM
I keep chickens.
I keep them in a large, walk-in pen/coop, about 6' high, 14' long, and about 6' wide.
I keep 7 chickens. All are hens, Rhode Island Reds.
I get about 2 and a half dozen eggs each week.
(we have a household of 5, but I still give away eggs to friends often)
We don't have to clean it often, we use the method mentioned above in another post (laying down more layers of sawdust). We do strip it occasionally
though, to maintain cleanliness, and we clean off the top of the nesting boxes each week.
Some tricks to less maintenance/good results:
1) Make large feeders. I used 6" PVC pipe, with 45 degree elbows at the bottom (capped on the tops with a screw on cap), about 3' high, and I keep
two of them in there. Holds chicken feed (which I get in 50lb bags for about $12).
2) Have a large water container. I use a 5 gallon container, so I don't have to fill it as often.
3) Check in the am, middle of the day, then early evening for eggs (once they are laying). Sometimes, if the eggs sit in there a while, the hens will
peck a few of them, ruining them.
4) The term "pullets" = baby hens. If you don't want any roosters. Isn't always full-proof though, so if you get a rooster accidentally, consider
your options. (if you don't want one. Personally, I keep chickens for eggs, then eventual meat when no longer laying, so I'd either give him away,
trade him out, etc.).
5) I have some nails along the top of my pen/coop, that are there and spaced to hold up a long tarp, in case we're expecting a bad storm. I don't
want my gals to get soaked if there's a really hard rain, and I also build up an area of sawdust in the center to give them some dry ground. I also
have perch sticks in there for them too.
6) Scraps are great (especially left over eggs), but I also get a bag of mealworms each week to put in with their feed, or just as a treat.
7) I used quarter of an inch hardware cloth (metal mesh) for the walls. Keeps any would-be predators out. Chicken wire is ok for holding them, but
isn't so hot against predators.