Broody Hens, Chicks, and Young Pullets

A place just for them keeps peace among the flock. Here’s the set-up I have to help keep it all organized.

Funny thing about chicken coops, no matter how big we build them, they always end up being too small. Here at TBN Ranch we keep expanding, so rather than admit I can’t afford to build a giant elaborate chicken operation, we add-on. I prefer to call these add-ons chicken condos, where they are quickly multiplying in our large fully covered, partially enclosed shedrow barn.

There’s a young man here in town that builds quality custom coops, and a little at a time I’m able to expand my set-up.  I had another coop delivered today, this will almost complete my plans for the young birds, broody hens, and hatching area.

Now I have to get busy finishing my sale/quarantine pen on the other side of the property. I decided to minimize any health risks that could be introduced to my flocks by chicken owners visiting the farm to buy birds.

The Egg Basket Says it All

Chickens are incredibly adaptable to almost any living condition. They are hardy in inclement weather, require few amenities, no luxuries, and will thrive in modest accommodations with gratitude.

It’s amazing how little chickens really need. But, my hens have proved me guilty of not practicing what I preach.  I didn’t really learn this valuable piece of information until our farm was recently hit by a massive storm, destroying our chicken housing.

Chickens have been around for thousands of years, I knew that, and without anyone endlessly fussing over them either… I knew that too! They’ll eat whatever you give them, and are smart enough to find their own groceries if given the opportunity. Chickens also have a built in GPS system! Like clockwork, they will always return home every night at dusk to roost… once again, I knew that! But regardless, I still searched for my feathered lost storm victims in the middle of the night.

I’ve spent years trying to make my chicken yards the ideal environment to assure a healthy and productive flock. Well, since the storm from hell flattened the chicken palace, my hens are living in primitive shambles… and are egg laying machines. More than ever!

It’s hot (107 degrees) and there’s no longer electric available to run their fan. Do they care? No! They are too busy taking dust baths and foraging through the rubble for whatever eatable prize they might find. If they had chicken lips I’m sure they would be in a constant state of smile.

I may have been forced into this situation of what feels like chicken neglect, but as it turns out, my hens might be better off not having me as an overprotective mother hen. They have proved to me they are not only capable, but willing to accept things as they are… gracefully.

Bottom line, happy hens fill the egg basket…  point taken girls.

Did you know Silkies are classified as fair layers… really?

Warm Climate Chicken Enclosure Ideas

Solutions for Housing Urban Chickens in Moderate to Hot Climates

Thinking out of the box when it comes to housing chickens goes hand in hand when raising chickens.  The coop we choose seems fine at first, but it usually ends up being too small and flimsy. Keeping chickens in hot climates is tricky business, and when confined to small quarters, let’s just say the story doesn’t end well.

Expansions can be costly, and that’s when those creative wheels start turning. Maybe you didn’t buy smart the first time, or, you’re still looking for that perfect set-up. Whichever, here’s a  suggestion that will give your backyard chickens some space to spread their wings…

Lowes Enclosure

Your chickens will need a structure inside the pen for shelter and privacy. A new or used dog house is suitable and easily found on Craigslist. You can raise the dog house simply by using 4 cinder blocks. Put a few nest boxes in the dog house, and a few in the open pen, providing a cooler spot for hens who are laying on those really hot days.

For occasional rain, Home Depot carries this roofing material. It’s also available in vinyl, and comes in red, green, and white. You won’t be replacing this roof or enclosure anytime soon, which makes both a good investment.

roofing

Pick a shady spot under a tree for this set-up, and near a water source for convenience.

Remember, shade and airflow is the key to your chicken’s survival in desert regions. Cover the sides of their pen with shade cloth, the sun moves, so you’ll need to protect them from exposure throughout the entire day. Never use tarps, save that idea for winter.

Something to Consider…

If you should ever decide raising chickens is not for you. This structure will still be useful, even if it’s just for the re-sale value. Traditional put-together coops usually end up costing $500 or more when it’s all said and done… then are pretty much worthless after 3 years.

Silkie Chicken Coop

This is one of my Phoenix, Arizona chicken set-ups for bantams. It measures 6x10x6ft high. Purchased for $199 at  Home Depot. It houses 4 broody hens who have to option to roam free, but seldom do.

Note:
This set-up is recommended for urban backyard locations where the threat of predators is minimal.