Awhile back we talked about how many chickens would be needed for SHTF. We came up with a low number of 30 chickens, and a high number somewhere around 70 – 80. At the present time my wife and I have 13 hens.
In the next few months my wife and I are planning on moving to the homestead. Once we get moved, our chicken flock will be increased from 13 hens, to around 25 hens. There are a couple of problems we need to address before we get more chickens, such as – having enough room on the coop, access to feed and access to water.
Chicken House Size
The current coop size provides each chicken with 3.69 square feet. If the flock is doubled, that gives each chicken 1.84 square feet. 1.84 square feet is not enough room.
I do not want to rebuild the coop. My wife and I put too much time, effort and money into building it the first time, I do not want to build it a second time.
Instead of building a new coop, I am thinking about building in leanto around the existing coop. The chickens would use the existing coop for roosting, then they would have the leanto for when the weather gets bad, or they need some shade.
When the weather turns off bad, there is enough room under and in the coop for the chickens to spread out. Last weekend we got rain friday and saturday. The chickens were nice and dry on the perch under and inside the coop.
If the flock size is doubled, there will no longer be enough room in the coop.
The tentative plan is to build a leanto, wrap 4X8 treated plywood around the bottom, 4 foot side up. Then wrap welded wire from the top of the plywood to the roof. This should provide wind protection during the winter and ventilation during the summer.
Access To Feed
Currently, the chickens have two feeders, one in the coop and another one in the covered section of the run.
After my wife and I get moved and we fence off a chicken yard, there will not be a covered run. Well, unless we put the run inside the chicken yard. But still, I do not want to be walking through the chicken yard to check on the feeder.
I am thinking about building a chicken feeder out of PVC pipe.
I am considering installing a rainwater drum on the chicken coop. Catch the rainwater, run it through something like a slow sand filter, then send it to the chickens.
Or, install a solar water pump to pump water from a nearby stream.
Currently the chickens are using a 1 gallon and 3 gallon water. The problem is, I have to clean the waterers ever few days. If the flock size is going to be increased, I need an easier way to water the chickens.
From the rainwater barrel I am thinking about running some VPC pipe with water nipples.