Coop / run expansion is complete!!
Welcome to the Metalhead Ranch Hen House. Landscaping is still to be done in the next few weeks.
And the tour begins …
As you see on the side, there is a set of tall doors. This is to let the tractor through when needed and the wheel barrow is just too much to handle.
When opening the people door to the new building, the grow out pen is to the left, the storage area is on the front wall to the right (not visible), the back of the nest boxes are to the right and through the door in front of you are the roosting bars. Over the door you can see a barn fan used to push the hot air collecting at the ceiling out through the window on the far wall.
Starting at the big tractor doors, here’s a view of the roost bars with a matching pair of tractor doors on the opposite wall. You might be thinking how will the tractor get through with the roost bars in the way? They are mounted on the wall to the right with hinges and fold up flat against the wall.
Turning to the left facing the inside of the people door …
You will see the front of the nest boxes. They are 2 levels high and equivalent to 4 nest boxes without internal divider walls. The girls would squish, argue and fight over the same nest box so these will allow everyone in at once. We built them in a rear rollaway design because we have an egg eater.
Since this is across from the roost bars, I thought it was the perfect spot for the ‘To Bed With the Chickens’ sign. Polly kept me company while I hung it.
Now for the grow out pen …
There’s plenty of room for new littles to grow up until they can join the flock. Right now I’ve got Isbar chicks in there … 2 are 12 weeks and 4 are 7 weeks. There are hangers for food and grit, a water bottle so they’ll understand the big watering system, a roost bar, a heat lamp (which they no longer currently need), and hardware cloth windows to the flock’s run. The babies and flock should be well acquainted between these large windows and the wall where the inside watering system is located. Final introductions should be quick and easy.
When the babies were first put in the grow out pen, I had the divider wall up (see picture below) making it like 2 pens. The 12 week old babies were on the left side and the 7 week old babies were on the right side. One morning I had gone into the pen and filled the feeder then walked back to the house to get them some ice for the hot Arizona day. When I got back to the pen to open the left door I realized there were 4 birds in there, not just 2 12 week olds. Apparently 2 of the 7 week olds had dug enough of the sand floor away under the divider panel and slipped across.
My intention was always to put them together before introducing to them to the flock, but not quite this soon. Oh well … they took care of it themselves. So I just removed the divider panel.
Back to the features of the grow out pen …
While the divider is in place, the shelf attached to it is to support a Broody Breaker platform. I haven’t had to use it yet but I’m sure the time is coming as Pearl is my broody Wheaten Ameracauna.
While standing at the roost bars looking through the interior door towards the people door, across from the grow out pen, is the back of the nest boxes.
Right next to the inside of the people door is my storage area. That’s the real reason we have the interior wire door … to keep the hens on their side. In this area I’ve got all of the feed and cleaning supplies. No more running back and forth from the house to the coop to the house to the coop over and over again.
The bottom shelf I put in a tap puck light incase we need to go inside after dark and don’t want to turn on the overhead lights waking everyone up.
Now that we’ve seen everything inside the coop let’s go outside to the run. We kept the original door the run so we can still enter directly from the backyard. The bench is still there from the original run along with all of the outside roost bars. The feeder and oyster shell dispenser got relocated since we tore down the old coop. The clay plates for ice (bottom right) are where the old coop use to be. We’ve added an old tire that has sand and dust powder in it for a dedicated dusting spot.
And of course the girls had to get their artwork put back up.
Since the first article, we have 3 new flock members other than the Isbar babies. Starting from the left is Lacey, a Silver Laced Wyandotte; in the middle is Daisy, a Speckled Sussex; and on the right is Carmen, a Gold Laced Wyandotte.
Lacey and Carmen are pretty quiet. Lacey is the only hen not laying in the new nest boxes. She prefers laying in the tire dust bath. Carmen isn’t too sure about these new living arrangements yet. She’s doing fine but not ready for me to handle her. Daisy … well, she’s more chatty than Pearl and does her best to crow a few times a day, not well since she’s a hen but she tries.