|Posted by [email protected] on February 21, 2013 at 7:05 PM|
This was a project that I started about 8 months ago. Originally it was to store my tractor and other farm implements. I was originally going to use two sections for my tractor and for storing farm equipment while using the last two for chickens.
Well my chickens won out that battle and by doing that, started the Mega-Coop Project!
As you can see this structure has now grown and taken on a life of it's own!
When I had finished the building, I thought that I had the coops complete and had given the best care that I could be giving to my chickens.
Then, I had started reading articles about sand in the coops and proper roosting bar heights. Knowing that I have mainly rare large breed birds, I had to do something and revamp my coops that I had just finished a month or two before.
Well just a couple days before I was about to start on this project, I was reading several articles about sand in the coops and all the awesome benefits of doing this. So now I am thinking, along with lowering the roosting bars, that if I added sand that it would add a softer landing zone for these big, beautiful chickens.
[Here is a link that I ask you to read and see just how much this can help you and your flock. This was written by Kathy Mormino. http://www.grit.com/the-chicken-chick/chicken-coop-bedding-sand-the-litter-superstar.aspx
Here are some pic's and explanations of what I have done:
Prepping the coops
Below was the first task of removing the old bedding. I was using pine shavings and the were doing an okay job, but I was cleaning out the coops once a week. At $5.00 a bag and three bags a week, the costs were just too high. After stripping the floors, I leveled out all low spots and was prepped for bringing in the sand.
Lowering the Roosts
Next I had to lower the roosting bars. As you can see below, they were just too high. My thought was that they would have a nice view of our property down below, not thinking of the potential damage that I may be causing to their feet and joints. I had read some articles on bumblefoot and one of the main causes next to getting splinters from their roosting bars was jumping from heights and hard landings. There was a ladder system in there, but they were removed for cleaning. These roosting bars were between 40 to 45 inches in height. Way too high!
The pictures below will show that I lowered all roosting bars to 24 inches, altered the ladder to have a lower slope. Note: I only see a few chickens ever use the ladders anyway. This was for my piece of mind in knowing that I am doing all that I can for them. Just like nesting boxes, you can have eight boxes and eight hens in a coop but they all want to use that one darn nest.
Now came the time to sanitize everything top to bottom, We have become a Bio-Secure Farm and I was going to be repositioning my flocks in these coops. Originally I would have used a watered down bleach and as I was talking with a a friend of mine that raises chickens, she told me about a product called Oxine AH and all the viruses that it kills and how it can be used to help ailing chickens with respiratory problems. So again, back online I went, gathering all of the intel that I could about this product and why I should be using it. One of my faults is that I tend to go way too far into these things than necessary. After three hours of reading about Oxine AH, I came to the decision that I would give it a try. The best place and price that I could find it was at Revival Animal for $24.99 a gallon plus $6.99 S&H.
I had bought this a week prior and was going to use it before my revamping the coops. The link below is from Shag Bark Bantams has a great detaled article on the uses of Oxine AH. I encourage you to please go read it. The one thing I will say is not to use the citrus powder activator with it inside the coops. It is way too strong when used that way. Now we do use the activator in the spray bottle that is used for our shoes.
We wanted to get our NPIP certificate, which we now have. The worker that came and tested our chickens told us one of the worst places to pick up diseases was from auction houses and by letting other folks that have chickens walk around your coops and property, not even knowing that their own birds might be sick. There are some birds that carry certain diseases that show no signs unless they are tested. Now we will not go all TSA on our visitors but we will get some type of slip over boot cover for those who want to see the birds or spray their boots.
our NPIP certificate
Adding in Sand
So then in came the sand. It is between 4 to 6 inches deep or better in spots. I made it deeper in what I thought would be landing areas.
My son Cody's Zen Art
End result, Happy Chickens.
So to end this brief, but I hope informative journey with you, I do hope that you can take something from this and use it or improve upon it to your advantage. I do believe that with the proper work, you will reap the rewards.
God Bless you all and in all you do.
Fisher's Farm and Feathered Friends