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Recommendations for non-wooden hen house

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:26 am
by johncc
Hi!

We have usually 5-7 hens at home (although would happily have a few more if we had the space). For the last 3 years approx they've been in an old Flyte So Fancy that someone locally gave us (it's an old version of this one I think https://www.flytesofancy.co.uk/chickenh ... -3TIL.html).

This year, we had a mite infestation like nothing I've ever seen. I pressure washed it a few times, I used about 6 smoke bombs, a couple of cans of mite kill aerosol, a bottle of the pink spray, a blowtorch ... everything. Eventually I moved the hens out into our old Eglu classic that we keep for emergencies, but even after a few weeks and repeated treatments, you just had to tap the wood and a sea of mites would come swarming out. If you touched it, mites would start dropping from the eaves and roof and landing on you. Finally, I stripped it down to pieces (getting bitten nearly to death in the process) and pressure washed each piece, discovering every nook and cranny full of 1000's of mites.

As a result, we're thinking no more wooden houses for us. We started with an Eglu 25 years ago, and since then have had various wooden coops. My wife has always wanted one of the Eglu cubes. Her argument is that the Classic we have is 25 years old nearly, and is still sort of usable. Personally, I don't think I can bear to spend £600 + on what is basically a hobby :-)09 even if it will last for years.

She also found some cheaper alternatives like these:-
https://www.solwayrecycling.co.uk/shop/ ... -hen-house
https://www.the-animal-house-company.co ... -827-p.asp
https://www.durhamhens.co.uk/poultry-su ... -p99068553
http://arkus.co.uk/large-chicken-house- ... ct-reviews

Does anyone have any comments (good or bad) on this type of hen house? Interested in how easy they are to clean and how well they last. Any alternative suggestions welcomed.

Re: Recommendations for non-wooden hen house

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:23 pm
by chrismahon
We have a Solway which I think is pretty durable- well built, strong and heavy. The internal nest box doesn't work- too small and too easy to poo in. Ours came second hand with an external nest box fitted. Sits on the floor in our case as both hens are one-legged and can't climb steps (very happy, crowing and laying).

However, all our other coops are wood and all except one were homemade based on our experience (the one has been modified). We've had red mite many times and suffered initially as they weren't spotted soon enough- the coop was infested and had to be burned. Sprays are pretty useless when you realise that the mite (and their eggs) hide in the tongue-and-groove joints which the spray won't reach. To reach there, the coop panels need to be upside down, so the coop needs to be a sectional build. They are also carried on the chickens, so they simply bring them back in. You need to have removable perches you can check every day (spraying if necessary just the ends and underside) and a steam cleaner with a fine jet which will reach into the groove- you can hear them pop as the jet goes along the planking!

Re: Recommendations for non-wooden hen house

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:09 pm
by Margaid
Glad it's still going strong Chris!

Re: Recommendations for non-wooden hen house

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:46 pm
by Marigold
I've used a Green Frog medium lodge for nearly ten years now and am very happy with it. You can read about it on this thread if interested.
viewtopic.php?f=124&t=9947

Re: Recommendations for non-wooden hen house

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:35 pm
by Tweetypie
Have you tried looking for a second hand one on Ebay or local classifieds? Here's one, although in Notts:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Solway-Maxi- ... Sw5PRdY4GD

Re: Recommendations for non-wooden hen house

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:46 am
by chrismahon
Showing no real signs of wear Margaid, but the plastic has relaxed a bit in the heat of early Summer, before the Plane tree was in leaf. Surface temperatures can be over 50C- not something to worry about in the UK. We've also put mesh over the vents because something got in there and spooked them- they still won't go in on their own, a year later.

If you leave a coop unoccupied for 9 months the Red Mites will die off Johncc. Problem is that moving the chickens into another coop will infest that as well. Creosote only works as a preventative for a few weeks- we've had red mite cross creosote once it has dried. Good for killing them off in an infested coop though, but you need proper safety gear.