Planning my enclosure/aviery

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Marigold
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by Marigold » Wed May 06, 2015 2:54 pm

How tall are you, anyway? 2.5m. = 8ft 4 ins.
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rick
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by rick » Wed May 06, 2015 6:24 pm

Marigold wrote:How tall are you, anyway? 2.5m. = 8ft 4 ins.
:) not that tall! But its at the door/front which I reckoned to be 1.5m less the door frame in order not to shade out Carol's sunbathing space or I'll be in trouble!
The whole garden is only 4m wide by 8m long so its a bit of a squeeze. Got good neighbours (who like eggs) but yes, more than 2.5m at the apex would be trying my luck.

Woops! Posted twice. Thinking again about the floor.
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by rick » Wed May 13, 2015 10:17 pm

Hoping to have the base down by Sunday (shed to dismantle first.)
They are going to be able to roost anywhere they like in there. Going to put some perches around but use their roost (a walled shelf really) and nest box of their existing coop for familiarity to start with.
Is it best to give them only one alternative for roosting or, as they will be safe anywhere, just let them pick from the alternatives?
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by Marigold » Thu May 14, 2015 8:12 am

It's best to give them perches. Chickens have evolved a grip reflex in their feet, so when they sleep on a perch their feet lock into place and they don't fall off. Then they crouch down so their feathers keep their legs warm in cold conditions - a bit like pulling the duvet up nice and snug. Then their overnight droppings fall freely to the ground behind them, instead of sticking to their feathers, which may happen if they'd roosted on a ledge, or indeed in the nest box.
Perches need to be horizontal and all the same distance from the ground, about 15" max. Whilst some hens like to fly up to a high perch, others may not be able to manage this, for various reasons. Larger breeds can strain their legs by jumping down from too great a height. If you put perches at different heights they will usually compete for the highest one. They also need to be higher than the nestboxes, to become more attractive than sleeping in the boxes. Decide where the perches will be, in relation to how easy it will be to get in and collect the droppings without walking in them first. No need to give them too much choice, they like to perch in a line all together, they just need about 10" of perch space each. If you give them lots of alternatives, either they won't use all of them, or your job of daily poo picking wil, be more difficult because the droppings will be spread all over the floor instead of in a nice neat line. Use rails 2"" x 2" and sand off the edges so they are slightly bevelled and not sharp.
Also, if you're going to make changes, do it all in one go. Chickens don't do gradual change, they will get disorientated whatever the degree of change, so if you try to do things gently you will only be prolonging any stress they may feel. I remember the consternation when I moved their coop from one end of the run to the other, a distance of about 3-4 metres. They could see the coop, but simply didn't 'see' it in their brains, and spent a long time clucking around and flying up into the air where it used to be. I had to help them go to bed that night. If I had tried to move it in stages, the result would have been the same, only more drawn- out.
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by rick » Thu May 14, 2015 11:03 am

Right, I'll try to make all the changes for the better in one go. They currently have the roosting 'shelf' (really the small roosting box with the coop side wall removed) but it has a perch on the front edge. Trouble is the nest box is further to the rear and although I get a nice line of droppings in the morning I have to be quick or it gets trodden in on the way to the box.
Its also all a bit difficult to thoroughly clean so a 'new build' with clean and uncomplicated surfaces is very appealing.
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by rick » Thu May 14, 2015 5:21 pm

Trouble with emptying a shed is its full of all that stuff I didn't have anywhere to put in the first place!
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by rick » Thu May 21, 2015 10:10 pm

Finally got the base finished, in time to buy timber tomorrow before the builders merchants close for the bank hols. The girls got around the fence yesterday (luckily after all the mortar had gone off) and thoroughly inspected the construction - left marks of approval all over the place :(
Can't wait to get the roof on.
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by Marigold » Fri May 22, 2015 7:15 am

Sounds like a busy weekend is coming up for you! We shall look forward to seeing the results.
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by rick » Sat May 23, 2015 11:42 pm

Coming along... I think I may have over-engineered a little but bought all the timber so it going in.
P.S. Carol says I better build it well because I'm living in there!
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Re: Planning my enclosure/aviery

Post by dinosaw » Sun May 24, 2015 10:24 am

Better than it falling down because you skimped. Just make sure to add a perch for yourself.
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