A new den

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Tweetypie
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A new den

Post by Tweetypie » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:32 pm

I saw a second hand child's PVC playhouse for a tenner yesterday on our local facebook forum, so had a smart idea and bought it. I decided I would put this in the corner of the external pen and let the girls use it as a dustbath area, as it is shaded all year round with the tree that is covered in ivy. If it rains, it has a roof and the OH is going to ensure it is water-tight, too. I thought about putting down membrane, to elimiate weeds, then a layer of linoleum, as it can be easily cleaned. On top of that, I was thinking sand or clean soil, if I can buy that???

I probably seem a bit crazy, :-)07 but to me, it looks OK, what do you think? :D

PS OH is never amused with the jobs and inventions I come up with....
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Icemaiden
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Re: A new den

Post by Icemaiden » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:35 pm

I'd just put the dustbath under the coop, unless that's where you keep the feeder? It'd be handy if you could pull it out from underneath for cleaning, as they'll poo in it occasionally. :x
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Tweetypie
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Re: A new den

Post by Tweetypie » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:41 pm

Icemaiden wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:35 pm
I'd just put the dustbath under the coop, unless that's where you keep the feeder? It'd be handy if you could pull it out from underneath for cleaning, as they'll poo in it occasionally. :x
The area under the coop is very small and I always let them out in the external area from morning until 9pm. When the nights draw in, I will ensure they are in the enclosed area at 5pm, as it will be quite dark, then.

They usually use that corner where the playhouse is, to dig and bathe as it is shaded, so I thought it would be great when it rains, as it won't become sludgy. Yes, the linoleum stuff can then be pulled out to clean it. I was also thinking of putting it under the coop, too, as it makes it easier for cleaning. :D
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LadyA
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Re: A new den

Post by LadyA » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:46 pm

Tweetypie, have you not had any escapees? Or is your fence higher than it looks? I know some of the hens I've had over the years would have worked out in no time that by hopping up on the nest box, they could then trot up the roof, and be away over that wall on the far side before you would know they were even thinking about escape! :D :D
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Tweetypie
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Re: A new den

Post by Tweetypie » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:05 pm

The fence is about 4 foot. For perspective, OH is 6 foot 3. I took it from above. Barbie got out once, I am not sure if it was a mistake, as she saw a blackbird fly onto the wall. At that time, there was an old ornamental toilet in the corner which I believe she jumped on to and got out that way. I don't think it was intentional. I let them out onto the grounds whilst the weather is nice and can keep a watchful eye. They seem quite content and don't appear to want to fly off or escape.
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Marigold
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Re: A new den

Post by Marigold » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:33 pm

What a lovely setup. I think that playhouse is a brilliant idea for the dustbath. But I would just put it on bare ground, maybe just loosen the soil a bit so they get the idea. Wouldn't bother with any kind of lining, it will be more natural for them if it's just bare ground.
I can see that the fence is high enough to keep them in, once they're settled in their territory, but it would be no protection at all against foxes, if any came visiting. A worrying thought.
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rick
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Re: A new den

Post by rick » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:08 pm

I probably worry too much about the dust bath being too dry but ours is a shallow well (couple of bricks deep) in the floor of the run, with soil and sand in and in contact with the ground below. Keeps it just a little damp even though its under the run roof. A wooden frame keeps the Auboise out (for the most part) and is a popular daytime perch.
The house is fun! When we had a coop near the fence and wall the hens loved to get up on top of it, walk along the wall and look in through the neighbors window. They never went over though. Only Mo the CLB has been over and had to be retrieved when she took fright and took to the air one morning.
No chance of weeds with hens around!

... I think washed sharp sand is best (very common builders and gardening material.) Red builders sand stains their feathers because of the iron content and can be salty which isn't good either. Sharp sand usually has little stones in as well so plenty of grit at the same time.
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Tweetypie
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Re: A new den

Post by Tweetypie » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:35 am

Well good advice again and that saves money having to buy membrane. That corner was already their dustbath area, but now it is also sheltered from rain, so in winter they can still go in there and not worry about getting cold and wet.

We don't get foxes during the day as far as I know. The barn next door has a couple of acres and they have a large pond with ducks, guinea fowl, they are all wild birds. She's not had any taken and has lived there 11 years. (Fingers crossed).

At night, mine are shut in the internal pen and coop. If you look close, the coop and internal pen are attached and there is a small door where I let them out into the external pen that has the "unfinished" fence. There are concrete slabs laid around the bottom of the internal pen, plus chicken wire, so a fox cannot dig under at night.

Over that tall, old, wall is a sloping bank about 10 foot deep and then the road (lane), which is a dead end at the top. Incidentally, part of that old wall used to be a pinfold many years ago, to secure wandering cattle. :) I believe all this land was part of the farmhouse next door.

Here's the main garden and I let them out for a few hours a day. They seem more interested in the green grass or shading under the bushes.
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Marigold
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Re: A new den

Post by Marigold » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:08 pm

What a lovely picture, fantastic garden Tweetipie. They just look as if they're models posing for their photo shoot, don't they?
I very much hope you're right about freedom from foxes where you live, but if you browse the horror stories in the Pests and Predators section, you'll find some anguished stories from people who crossed their fingers but the foxes did find them and took no notice. It's absolutely devastating when that happens to people who have put such a lot of love and care into their chickens, and we really, really wouldn't want that to happen to you. All may be well for years and years, and then, one day, a fox moves in out of nowhere... If you could convert your very nice layout into a covered walk-in run with weldmesh sides and a roof, you wouldn't need to count the hens every time you got back home from work.
bigyetiman
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Re: A new den

Post by bigyetiman » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:03 pm

Lovely pics and a lovely set up and your garden looks fantastic. Marigold is right re the foxes, you can't be too careful.
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