You can read all the books and websites you want before you get chickens. But you just can't figure out exactly what and/or need until you actually HAVE chickens. Do you want an automatic pop door for the hens? Will rodents become an issue? How far is your run from a water source? Just to name a few.
So now that I've had hens for four and a half years, it was time to make some improvements.
First off, was to fully roof over their entire run. I had a roof over half their run. But when we got a big storm, the other half just turned into a mosh pit. And it flooded out their dust bathing spots. And wet chicken poop is just nasty.
I know it's difficult to see in this photo but the whole run is covered with a high quality corrugate panels that are supposed to hold up to the sun for many, many years.
|This is the view into my run from my backyard. The black thing in the middle is the compost bin where I dump the droppings. And I need a few more years before the Lilac grow up big enough to provide afternoon shade. But it will.|
|This is the gate into my run. It's nice and large. And you can see that it's got super heavy welded wire embedded into the gate and the contractors simply attached 1/2" welded wire to the top to keep mice and rats out.|
|I had the contractor remove the original roosts and install two parallel roosts that can easily be removed for cleaning. He also cut a piece of heavy vinyl flooring to put under the roosts so I can quickly and easily scrap up the nightly droppings.|
|This is the view the hens have from inside their run looking out into the garden.|
|Here's the view from the opposite side of the run. They replaced the security lattice with regular lattice so that we get better air flow through the run. And it's also covered with 1/2 inch welded wire.|
|And a closer view of the lattice with welded wire behind it.|
I also ordered a new waterer for the run. I'm frustrated with my current fountains as the O-ring that creates a vacuum seal, well, they fail monthly. And I can't find them locally, so I've got to order them which takes time. I can usually mess with them to get them to work. But I hate leaving them for someone else to deal with as it's not intuitive. I also hated all the nooks and ridges that had to be scrubbed out twice a week.
This new water has an internal vacuum seal at the base of the unit. Meaning, I can simply pop off the big green lid and add more water. It only arrived in the mail today and I'm testing it on the patio first before I put it in the hen's run. I love that the reservoir is smooth which should make cleaning a snap.
I'll blog again in a few months and let you know how it's working out. But from what I can see thus far, I'm going to love the thing. I may even order a second one. I do like having a back up fountain just in case.
|And a sweet photo of Pickles I took a few weeks ago when I was cutting flowers to bring into the house. Pickles had to peek inside each flower. I don't know if she was looking for bugs or literally smelling the roses. But it was quite sweet.|
|And the best group shot of my current flock. I planted a few pots of forage blend and the hens LOVE it. So much so that they've kind of destroyed them already. Guess I'd better get out there and plant more.|