Sorry Excuse For a Chicken Pen

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I can’t believe I’m showing these sorry pics of the current condition of our “large” pen & chicken house. I am so embarrassed it got this way.

Now that it is empty its time for an overhaul. This pen has been used full time for three years. A friend built the pen and I built the house out of reclaimed lumber. I had huge plans for the pen but with hubby working out of town and gone weeks at a time and then me with a difficult pregnancy maitenance and the great plans I had for it made it go downhill overtime.

I have a lot of things to fix. Chicken wire is loose in a few places so I need to retack it to the cattle panels. Wood needs to be checked for dry rot in pen and replaced if needed and then finally painted. I hate the bright blue fiberglass poles. Sticks out like a sore thumb, so I’d like to paint them too. I have always needed a top on the pen to keep out hawks, owls and provide shade. You can see the black looking sheet thing, that is a sheet of shade fabric I had stapled to the top. I found out soon after with our wind it needed a lot more support.

I don’t want to replace long lengths of the wood up top rail if I don’t have to so I’m trying to think of what I can use thats lightweight but durable. I am thinking of attaching cattle panels as a “roof” over entire pen and then either tack shade fabric on top or weave something through the panels. Not trying to keep water out just want to provide shade. Wish I could find some bamboo! Maybe that chair webbing. Not sure yet. Open to suggestions!

Other things to fit is the door to pen  is warped. I might be able to fit with wire attached with eyehooks and tighten. We will see if it works. The chicken house is a fright. There are two pieces of barn metal for a flat roof. I never sealed where the two pieces overlap and it leaked in a hard rain. I have a tube of this tar looking stuff that is a sealer you stick in a caulk gun I need to use. My flooring was some reclaimed oak flooring from an old farmhouse. It didnt last long with the rain over years. Flooring needs to be totally replaced. I have a 3/4 inch piece of plywood that used to be a folding table top I am gonna have hubby cut and install.

It also rotted out where rain blew in the chicken door. I have an idea to prevent this in future. I plan on the inside of pen (outside of house) building a wood or metal flap attached with wires, eyehooks and hooks as a tilted shade porch/drop side door to close opening to chicken house. Nice to have if your chasing a chicken and it keeps ducking into house to hide.

You may notice a lightbulb on the floor in the corner. That was the lightbulb the turkey was sitting on trying to hatch. I was told snake would think it was an egg eat it then die when it burst in its belly. Well no such luck. Snake skipped over it and that turkey still sat on the lightbulb.

Speaking of snakes, as you can see even when I fix door they still can get in through the purposefully left in chickenhouse to let in cross breezes to keep it ventilated. I am gonna leave the gaps, they serve their purpose but instead staple chicken wire or smaller over the gaps.

The nest boxes are vintage and I regularly think of painting them but still not decided on that. Some of the nest box bottoms need to be replaced. Thinking heavy gadge wire bottoms with that green fake plastic grass welcome mats cut up for liners would be great so that way could bleach them.

I had been letting them roost on an old ladder. It works in our small chickenhouse. I might paint so its easier to clean and less cracks and crevices bugs might hide. I am also thinking of painting inside of house in a white wash. Makes it brighter and also now I am paranoid theres a snake hiding in the corner. I’ve heard painting with a water & lime solution kills mites too. Might do some more research on this.

Another improvement is over time our chicken house door has sagged and now the latch for the door doesnt meet up right. So instead we used a very high tech way to keep door shut…a large brick. It works but needs to be fixed. Hard to fend off goats, protect the eggs you just gathered and move heavy brick. It also gets very muddy right in front of that door. Would love some gravel right there but since I have some mulch on hand we got for free from the tree truck that was shredding trees nearby one day I will use that instead. I’d like to also figure out how to “sterilize” the dirt in their pen before adding new birds eventually. Not quite sure how to do that.

I haven’t made up my mind how to paint the outside of the chicken house. I loved the raw, aged cedar planks we rescued from that old barn, but its only a matter of time it rotts away untreated. I’m thinking a stain/sealer combo instead of a paint. Would love suggestions.

I have a small baby and no money for improvements with hubby only working part time so depending on if I’m able to find secondhand supplies it will be a slow process. Hopefully not too slow I have chicks in the brooder cage!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Check out Freecycle (http://www.freecycle.org) to see if you can get materials you need.

    Reply

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