Monday, March 3, 2008

Construction details

I have been asked for some how-to construction hints for both the raised beds and the day pen for the chickens. Lets start with raised beds. You can see the photo of my beds on the main blog page. These beds are 8 feet long and 4 feet wide (outside dimensions). They are constructed of 6 x 6 lumber, stacked three deep. We chose this sized lumber and this height because it gave us a nice wide edge for sitting, and at a good height. You can make your bed out of any kind of lumber, plastic, cement block, whatever works for you. If your ground is not wet you don't have to raise the bed at all! The most important thing to remember is to make the bed narrow enough that you easily can reach just past the middle from either side. What you see around my beds are old roofing shingles. They are there to hold down weeds while we decide what to put down for a more long term solution.
Construction project two: Above is a photo of the entrance from my fixed chicken coop to the movable day pen. You are looking down at the solid roof of the fixed pen, and the curved side of the day pen. We made the door of the fixed pen so it opens at the top and drops down like a ramp. The day pen was designed to do just the opposite: it opens from the bottom and hinges up and out of the way. This allows us to open the day pen, slide it in front of the fixed pen, then open that door into the day pen opening. The hens walk down the ramp into the day pen, then we slide it away and shut that door. Very easy system for moving the hens from one pen to the other. They figured out the routine after about 2 days, and now they line up to move from pen to pen. I hope the photos and explanations of some of these construction details are helpful.