Chook Pen

January 7th 2008

The bare basics. I started out with a stretch of lawn below our veggie patch. We wanted a decent size chook run. We initially got a lot of designs off the web but finally settled on a simple shed, four walls and roof to keep the rain off. I have stacked out the shed here, very exciting. Measurements were based on "hmmm that looks good", a bit of the boundary fence and away we go.

Here you see the four posts and roof up. The other posts will support the chickenwire. The corrugated iron is half buried in the ground. This was to protect our chooks from foxes and dogs. We intially went to the local tip looking the second hand timber. We found some but more importantly ran into our local vet who kindly supplied a lot of old timber and iron. The posts on the building are 4*3s and the strainer posts are 4*2s. They are buried 2-3 foot in the ground. We didnt go for cement footings as these hardwoods will last ages in the ground and we might want to dismantle the structure.

Other strainer posts in, you can see the two lines of strainer wire at the top and middle. This wire leads from one side of the building to the door jam where we have ratchets in place to tighten the wire and hopefully the chickenwire. We put triangular supports at the bottom of the post but they still pulled into one another. Not really a problem, the netting is pretty taunt and posts work fine. The rest of the iron was dug into the ground. Massive trenches the size of your shovel head is the way to go. I initially started digging just enough to fit the iron down. Just dig it all out, a nice long trench, set the iron in place and fill it back in. The door came from one of Dad's sheds. It had the hinges attached and we just drilled it onto the shed. Dad did this with a real drill. I haven't seen one before, I am used to the household "put some shelves up" drill. This thing of dads just powers the screw it. However it can also break your arm, Lots of fun. The corrugated iron goes below the door too, if anything thinks of digging under the door they would soon meet up with 2 foot of iron.

Here we have the rest of the wire on, we used a staple type tool. You put a 1/2 inch bent wire in a pliers like tool and bend into around the two bits of wire you want to join. Very nifty. Anyway we used heaps of staples to attach the chickenwire to the strainer wire and also the chicken wire sections together. The chickenwire goes to the ground inside the corrugated iron. We put small screws through the iron and the chicken wire hooks over them. We had to put two wooden crosses up to hold the wire up. They are buried in the ground like the other posts. This was a last minute idea as the wire sagged. it turned out great inside, nice atrium atmosphere for our chooks. the wire roof was to stop crows stealing eggs and otherwise protect our chooks. The shed is now clad in corrugated iron. This adds rigidity to the structure. The nesting box level and roosting level are about waist height, 75cm, again what we read on the web. This allows them to feel high enough to be safe but a easy distance to jump down. This adds structural support too. Other advise we read was to have one level of roost. Different levels encourage hen pecking and isn't real hygienic. The base of the shed is a deep litter sawdust which we can shovel out and replace as need be. Inside is very cosy and nice. Ongoing adventures - Chook Pen 2.