Green Frog house

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chickenfan
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Green Frog house

Post by chickenfan » Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:15 pm

I notice from a recent post that both Marigold and Dinosaw highly recommend the Green Frog chicken loft house. I need another house. My first good house was an Eglu cube which works very well, but cannot be automatically shut at night. Its extremely easy to clean and the birds like it. I am just wondering with the Green Frog loft - which has the auto-closure I need - whether it breathes as well as a wooden house, and also whether a large bird like a Marans would have its head in a draught. It seems there is only 14" (350mm) from the perch to the bottom of the vent. I gather there is also some venting under the eaves, which must surely let in some draught where the birds are sleeping?

They have advised I would need a droppings tray if I am to use shavings because of condensation coming down the walls, which would make the shavings damp, but which would otherwise go to the sides of the trays. It must surely considerably raise the humidity in the house even if the condensation is going to to the edges of the coop?

I'm fortunate so far not to have had red mite in either a wooden or plastic house. Do most wooden houses gather red mite in time and with age? The most easy-care house I've had so far has been a spacious wooden one with room for a thick layer of litter on the floor. It seems to need less cleaning than a plastic house and I wonder if this is because the walls breathe a bit.

It would be nice to have a bit more feedback on the Green Frog house and the pros and cons of wood or plastic, especially as a house is such a big investment.
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dinosaw
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by dinosaw » Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:02 pm

Hi Chickenfan

I don't own a chicken loft, I own the medium lodge and I am fairly sure that is what Marigold has too. I've had one for about 5 years now and have never thought there was a problem with the design in respect to either draughts or breathability. I use aubiose so perhaps it would be different with shavings but I've never looked in and thought crikey look at all that condensation. Whether you get red mite in your house is mainly down to how many wild birds are around your chickens and what preventative measures you take. Wooden houses are no more likely to get red mite but tend to have larger infestations which are tougher to shift when they do occur due to the much larger amount of joints and nooks and crannies that they can hide in. I've had mite once in the green frog which was taken apart, cleaned thoroughly and then dusted, problem gone in a matter of days. I've had several infestations in wooden houses made from tongue and groove and they have generally taken a couple of weeks of slurrying and dusting to eradicate the problem. I have to be honest and say I now very rarely clean my houses out, they get poo picked and fresh bedding but I don't honestly think cleaning on a regular basis is necessary (i used to do it very regularly). It certainly never seems to hurt my birds. I'm sure Marigold will give you her take on the houses too.
chickenfan
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by chickenfan » Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:29 pm

Thanks Dinosaw. It does sound a very nice house. Do you use the droppings tray in your lodge? Re red mite in a wooden house, can this be eliminated with steam-cleaning?
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Marigold
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by Marigold » Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:46 pm

I have never had any condensation in my Green Frog, although I do leave the pophole and ventilators open at all times. The pophole itself can be partially closed if needed, as it's a triangle suspended from its top point, and can be fastened to become a narrower triangle if you want it to be, and have fairly small birds in there who can get through a narrower gap. Ventilation at roof level works very well - the roof is curved and rests on two or three raised stops along the top edges of the sides, so it basically floats an inch or so above the walls all round. This ventilation space is well shielded by the way the roof curves on down beyond the top of the walls, so no rain etc can blow in. There are also two adjustable ventilation circles on each side wall, which can be opened or shut according to prevailing wind and weather. I just put a couple of inches of Aubiose on the floor and pick out the droppings daily - a droppings tray isn't necessary, and would just be one more thing to have to keep clean. You could line the base with newspaper if you wanted to, I suppose. Like Dinosaw, I seldom do a very thorough clean up, it just doesn't seem to get dirty enough to need it. If you have large breeds who might prefer to roost on the floor, I believe the GF website has the option of a coop without perches, although I would go for the option with perches since they're easily removeable and if you had them, they might come in handy for smaller breeds later on.
I don't believe what is often claimed about chickens having to be protected from draughts, as in their original state they evolved to roost in trees, out in the open with wind and rain all around, and we all know that many of our birds still prefer to do this as far as their accommodation allows them to. I think that any coop which suffers from condensation running down the walls must be seriously under-ventilated, and the hens roosting in there will therefore be greatly at risk of bronchial infections, especially in the winter. I can't understand why the Green Frog people would have said this was likely to happen in one of their houses, unless the coop was sealed up and full of birds, in which case any coop would run with condensation. In fact, (just as my personal opinion and feel free to shoot me down,) I cannot see the point of having automatic pop hole closures at all. The security should come from the run construction, either from a strong mesh enclosure or electric fencing, as several sad stories on here this year have demonstrated that unprotected hens in open runs are at risk from foxes at any time of the day or night. Hence one should be able to be confident they are safe with the pophole open, in the knowledge that they're well ventilated and also they can get up when they like in the morning without having to wait in a hot, stuffy coop for a human to release them.
Like you, .Chickenfan I've never had redmite but I put this down mainly to having a run with a roof, which excludes wild birds, especially pigeons, and also the roof prevents birds from shaking redmite down from above, either when perching in trees or standing actually on the mesh if the top of the run isn't solid. But if or when redmite does somehow arrive, I don't think you could do better than a good plastic house like a GF, so easy to take completely to bits, and made of smooth sheets of plastic with the minimum of nooks and crannies for mite to hide. I've had mine for over five years now and is functionally as good as new and will never need creosoting etc.
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Marigold
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by Marigold » Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:12 pm

P.S. Green Frog design is miles better than Omlet cubes, they have proper perches which stay clean because the droppings fall to the ground behind the birds, whereas in the Cube, they have to roost on a plastic grid with no grip for their feet, which gets very dirty. The nestboxes are at the same level as the perching rack so hens tend to sleep in them, understandably as they're so much more comfortable than the plastic grid. Also ventilation is poor in the Cube and not as adjustable as in the GF. I think they put too much emphasis on insulation, which we all know isn't the main thing in coop design because chickens do really well in cold conditions in a dry coop, and are consequently overpriced for what they offer.
chickenfan
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by chickenfan » Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:01 am

Thanks so much for such a detailed description Marigold. The only reason I need an automatic door is because it does keep cockerel noise much quieter. Even in the field there are people 300 yards away who mind being able to hear a cockerel in the distance. I don't know what it is about cockerels that some people object even when the noise is faint.

I'm very pleased to hear the Green Frog Lodge has lots of ventilation and no condensation. I'm not entirely convinced that a draught eg whistling round your head, is quite the same as being out in the open but if you keep your pophole open all the time without problems I'm obviously wrong about this. Re the Eglus, I thought all your criticisms referred to the Eglu Go. I agree this is pretty hopeless as a general house and that all your comments are valid for this. However it makes an extremely safe chick/broody coop if you take the bars out and is also very good for fox protection or for enclosing a cockerel. The Eglu cube as a house only is the same price as a medium GF loft and seems very durable. Mine is as good as new after 7 years., I haven't noticed an issue with the perching bars. The droppings fall through to a slide out tray where you can put bedding, although I guess some do also get on the bars, and the nest box is lower than the roosting bars so I've not found an issue with birds nesting in it (a major issue with the Go). Being raised it makes a good shelter from the rain and provides a dry dustbath area underneath it. But it is ugly to look at and the door has to be closed manually. Its very secure from foxes but the doors and egg section are easy and quick to open.

Do you find your large fowl birds go under the Green Frog Lodge? There seems to be just 22.5 cm clearance from the ground.
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Marigold
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by Marigold » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:12 am

Yes it's a big decision, isn't it, not only on price and size, but other welfare factors as well. In the end it just comes down to personal preference, and it would be great if you could actually see an example of the coop before buying. I do think that ANY house showing signs of condensation is giving a warning signal re ventilation levels. My coop is situated so the open pophole faces into a North East corner of the run where the walls are covered with tarpaulin, so when it's a really icy winter blast the entrance avoids direct windy draught but gets constant airflow whatever the weather. Normal prevailing gales are from the SW of course so the house has its back to these.
If people object to crowing from 300 yards away, how do they cope with all the other normal noises from wild birds, dogs etc? And anyway he'll be crowing during the day as well. I would be inclined to tell them to stuff it if they actually complained, it's not as if the cockerel is going off under their bedroom window in a small garden. Just something you have to face up to if you want to keep a cockerel I suppose. However, if for one reason or another I felt it was necessary to shut the pophole, I think I would worry about whether it had worked OK, hadn't shut a bird out at night, or failed to open in the morning, and would have to go down to check anyway, so defeating the purpose of the device!
No mine don't go under the house very much, because the space seems to get bunged up with Aubiose scratched in from around it. They have shade in other areas so don't need the space for that. I do keep meaning to put it up on blocks to give extra height, mainly because it is a bit low to get down to when poo picking the floor. Apart from lugging the blocks into position this would be easily possible to add extra height, though.
chickenfan
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by chickenfan » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:11 am

Thank you Marigold. That's really interesting that the Lodge can be put on blocks to raise the height. It sounds very clever how you have your birds relatively draught-free but airy.
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chrismahon
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by chrismahon » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:15 am

I''ve found that 45cm is the minimum height under a coop for chickens to use it Chickenfan. All but one of our coops are now set with that as a minimum- the latest coop built is 60cm from ground to coop floor. Simple enough to build a wooden frame with four legs to stand a coop on. We protect the legs from rot by standing them in aluminium trays full of Cuprinol overnight, then fit a sacrificial piece of wood onto the bottom (which rots and is replaced every few years).
chickenfan
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Re: Green Frog house

Post by chickenfan » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:13 pm

Thanks Chris for the suggestion of a wooden frame to raise the house and for how high it needs to be. I hope the Green Frog house won't blow off in the wind.
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