As you can no doubt tell, I really like my chicken tractor, but I want more chickens, and my yard just cannot handle any more tractors without having a traffic jam.
So I have been surfing the net and reading my chicken raising books to decide on the best chicken house set up.
I decided on building a raised chicken house (like a rabbit hutch) with a laying box arrangement.
I work a couple different jobs and Genny is always working at school, so I wanted a system that was pretty easy from a labor standpoint. By having a raised house with a wire cage floor, I won’t have to deal with cleaning out litter.
I know that chickens don’t necessarily like walking on wire mesh, but I plan on building and attached run, so the only time they will be in the house they will either be roosting or laying.
I saw a really ingenious laying box design on the web somewhere, but for the life of me I cannot remember where.
In this design the builder build a box on the outside of the house with a hinged lid so they could just open the lid and remove the eggs from the back of the laying boxes.
This looked to be a wonderful idea, as I know how much Genny hated having to go inside the chicken house to get eggs at her parent’s house.
Use What You Have
While planning for my new chicken house my work got some new equipment. And when we went to pick it up it came in long 9ft wooden crates. So when the boss said to throw out the boxes I threw them in the back of the truck. Tom Baugh Author of Starving The Monkeys has a neat article on pallet uses on his website Using scavenged wood allows me to build faster while saving money and landfill space.
Basically I took two of these long pallets and took the bottom off one and the top, bottom and side off of another. On the side I removed I cut a long rectangle out of the side and built my laying box. On the bottom of this crate I attached rabbit cage wire using screws and then nailed it to mu 4×4 fence posts. I stacked the crate that was missing the bottom on the top of the first crate and nailed it in place.
Eventually, I plan on drilling holes in the sides of the top crate to run dowel rod or pvc pipe for roosts. I will probably also remove one end and reattach it with hinges and a latch for access later. On the side on the bottom crate I cut a door for the chickens to enter.
More Upgrades to Come
Soon I will build a run off the back of my fence for more chickens, but I am not in a huge hurry, as chickens don’t lay much in the winter, and I don’t want to feed a bunch of freeloaders. The only reason I got busy on the chicken house was that I lucked into the wood, and I wanted to cover up some loose ends of fence wire where I messed up the fence install.