Chicken Feeders

Since my chickens have grown, I now have 2 girls laying eggs daily, they have outgrown their feeder. It has become almost a daily thing for them to kick it apart. As many other chicken owners know, feed on the ground is not half as delictable as feed in a feeder, and I am not excited about them wasting it. So I needed another feeder.

After doing a lot of research, and looking at many many pictures and ideas, I decided to attempt to make my own PVC chicken feeder. I knew this feeder had to be accessible for them to eat, and also short enough that I could fill it comfortably. Since I am about 5’1″ I ended up with the top of the pipe at about 3 1/2 feet off the ground.

I wanted something cost effective and functional, but also fit nicely in my smaller backyard coop. With this design, if the birds do not play nice, I will simply remove the ‘t’ pieces and move the 45 degree pieces to the bottom and add more feeders between the current ones.

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My neighbor was nice enough to stop by and cut the PVC pipe into 32 inch lengths as well as 2 1/4 inch slices to hold the ends on the verical pieces. He was also nice enough to screw the hose clamps to the sidewall and the landscape timber to the wall for the feeders to rest on in the even that the weight of the feed is too much for the hose clamps.

I have not started using the feeders yet, my plan is to let them empty their current feeder and then fill the new one. When I fill the new feeder, the water bucket will be moved. That is next week’s project, working on a new waterer. Also, in this pic you can see an egg!! I am so excited to announce I have two ladies now laying everyday!

On the list for the chicken coop are the new waterer, and a new ramp for the girls and me. The current one is not strong enough to hold me, so I plan to construct a new one that will not only support my birds, but also me so that I do not have to step around it or move it when I go inside the coop any more.

Hopefully I will know by the end of the week what the girls think of the new feeder, and will have an idea if any further changes need made to my little coop. I am getting ready for my first winter with chickens on the farm and am eager to see how a few things go. Stay tuned for information and to check out my next projects!

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Chicken Coop Updates

On my list of things to do lately, has been to put ventilation windows in the sides. I work mornings, and when I get off the chickens have been warm. The best solution was to put hinged windows that I could prop open or latch closed.

The design I came up with was just a simple rectangular window with 2 hinges, and a latch. Furling strips were used to frame it and help hold its shape.

received_1680825125572017This is a picture of the first window propped open, it ended up being 5 feet 4 inches long and I made it 12 inches tall. To keep the birds in and critters out, I put rabbit wire over the opening and secured it with staples with the help of my neighbor. The furling strips surrounded the opening to help it stay sturdy and to give the hinges and latvh a better foundation to be screwed into.

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I painted the furling stips as well as the exposed edges of the opening to help keep the board together despite the weather through the seasons. I like the way it looks with everything matching as well!

Putting the second window in went much faster! Things always seem to go that way with projects. After the first one, for the second we discovered it worked better to use screws than nails, and shorter screws at that. We made the top cut and about 6 inches down each side, put the furling strips on and then the hinges. Since we used the middle seam in the wall as the middle of the window, we made sure to screw both sides of that seam before putting the bottom furling strip on the window, which kept the pieces from slipping and let the window close cleanly.

Originally I had poultry staples, that we would have had to pound in individually with a hammer. That did not go well into the chipboard, so we ended up using a hand stapler and working from one end of the wire to the other keeping it even and taunt.

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This is how it came out with a window on each side. There is a nice breeze that blows through the coop now, and I no longer worry about my chickens getting too warm. In this picture you can also see the roost and waterer that we put together! It is really coming together. Down to building a sturdy ramp and a bigger feeder and the chicken coop will be deemed finished!

Big News!

It has been a busy couple of weeks around here and today was no different! I did not get everything done that I wanted to today, but there is tomorrow. Got another field of hay down and back up, another transmission in the car and the horse trailer painted as well as judging and racing horses.

Today was a big day! I have been gathering supplies and picked up the last few things I needed to put ventilation windows in the chicken coop! My neighbor helped, and we got one done but not the second, so I will post about that another time.

While we were out working, a reddish hen came running in the chicken run, right up the ramp into the henhouse, and right into the end brood box. Not too long after that, a black hen with white tipped feathers, joined her. The black hen started pecking the red hen’s head and trying to push her out of the box. We were working on installing chicken wire over the ventillation window, and he noticed 2 greenish eggs in the brood box!!

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This is the little reddish hen that came running into the henhouse.

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My two eggs!! I was soo excited to find! Hopefully there will be more soon. I feel like it was a big day for the hens. I can not wait until I can collect eggs everyday! Seems odd to be looking forward to more chores, but collecting eggs has been awhile in coming. Finally seeing some fruit for the hours building and cleaning the henhouse and carefully tending to the young chickens.

I found the first egg in the barn a couple days ago, but it was clearly a Guinea egg. I have not found more Guinea eggs since, but I know I have at least one Guinea hen!  I am looking forward to the next couple weeks when hopefully more eggs start to appear!

The next couple weeks will be full on the farm, several projects started or in the planning stages! Many things in store for next year that I am looking forward to and ecited about!

Chicken Roost

What to do with an unexpected open Saturday? Get as much done on the farm as humanely possible!! Started with cleaning and more cleaning in the barn and chicken coop, finished staining fence posts, that project is finally totally done and the designing a chicken roost.

The chickens have been roosting on the lip of the brood boxes, which is less than ideal. I took some of the day yesterday to design a roost. I knew I wanted to build it like a ladder, with two vertical boards and two horizontal rungs.

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I took measurements of the height and width that would I wanted the roost to fit into and also measured where the support boards were in the floor. I wanted the vertical boards of the roost to be anchored to the boards in the floor for maximum support.

After the vertical boards were in place, my neighbor was nice enough to run the drill and screwgun and circle saw, we eye balled the horizontal boards. I wanted two rungs, one higher one and one lower, because the Guineas like a higher roost. Currently 2 Guineas sleep outside on the roof. I am curious to see if they continue that habit once the weather starts to turn.

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My neighbor suggested sitting buckets in the brood boxes to discourage the chickens from roosting on them. It was a good idea and works except for one hen that knocks them off so she can roost on the lip of the brood box. They crack me up!

The past 2 nights, I have set the chickens on the roost. I am hoping they get the idea to roost there on their own. I am going to bed down the brood boxes tomorrow and see if that makes a difference in encouraging them to roost on the roost. Time will tell if they decide they like it. I hope they do so that they will keep the boxes to lay eggs in.

The chickens that I had before laid eggs wherever they decided they wanted to. With the changes I have made since then, I am hoping that these chickens make it easier on me and lay their eggs in the boxes where I can collect them! Eggs are getting closer! And I can not wait to have fresh eggs from my chickens for breakfast! They are already earning their keep with bugs, I have not had fleas or ticks, and when I stripped stalls out yesterday, no flies even landed on me! I am enjoying them, but now I have another reason to enjoy them even more!