Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Update on the new chicken house

Awhile back I started building a new chicken yard. Now that the yard is pretty much complete (for now), the time has come to build the new chicken house.

The size I decided on was 16 feet by 16 feet. 16 X 16 = 256 square feet. I figured 256 square feet was enough to accommodate roost, laying boxes, storage cabinet, water barrels and batteries for the solar power.

The laying boxes will take up 6 feet on one wall, and the roost takes up around 12 feet on another wall. The laying boxes in the new chicken house will be modeled after the laying boxes of the old chicken house.

An 8 foot wide leanto will be built off one wall. Which is where the solar panels will be installed.

Inside the house is a steel storage cabinet 36 inches wide and 18 inches deep. This is for tools, nails, screws, paint, chicken feeders, waterers, just your usual stuff.

When you walk into the shed there will be steel trash cans on the right hand side where chicken feed will be stored.

I want to set up some kind of rainwater catch system and a pvc pipe system with nipples to water the chickens.

Three months ago my wifes Buff Orpington rooster had something like a stroke. For a little over 2 months he has not been able to eat or drink by himself. Over the past month he has been getting better. He is finally able to walk short distances, eat and drink on his own.

While the rooster was recovering he was kept in the bathtub and on the kitchen floor. My wife put towels down to catch his poop.

Since the rooster can walk short distances on his own, eat and drink, we put him into an undivided rabbit box and then moved the box into the chicken house.

I did not plan on having an 8 foot long box inside the chicken house. My original plans were to have a couple of 4 foot boxes wrapping around a corner, which were to be used by broody hens.

I still have to finish painting the house, build the leanto and install windows. As it stands right now at least the hens have a dry roof over their head and a place to get away from hawks and out of the sun.

Size

Chickens need at least 3 square feet inside the chicken house, but that is if they stay in there for extended periods.

On the perch they need at least 1 square foot per bird for roosting.

The perch is about 12 feet long by 4 feet wide, for 48 square feet.

Right now I have 14 hens in the yard, but have another 21 chicks that are 6 weeks old in the old chicken house with attached run. When the new chicks get big enough they will go into the new yard.  For the fun of it, lets say the new house will have 40 chickens in the next couple of months.  I would like to maintain around 50, plus or minus a few, hens with 2 or 3 roosters.

Between February and March of 2014 my wife and I bought somewhere around 18 chicks. Between fox and coyotes, hawks, and my dog, all but 2 were killed.

My wife and I moved to the farm with 13 hens. We currently have 14 hens and 1 rooster who had something like a stroke.  The new chicken house and chicken yard is in direct response to losing so many chickens.  We simply can not continue to lose so many chickens.

To replace the ones we lost we ordered a batch of 20 chicks and 1 rooster.

Walls / Wall studs

At the bottom of the wall is a pressure treated, ground contact rated 4×4 beam.  The beam spans the entire length and width of the chicken house.

The bottom plate of the wall, which sits on top of the pressure treated 4×4, is also pressure treated.

The wall studs are spaced at 24 inch centers.

The walls were built flat and then stood up. An air powered framing gun was used to build the walls.

Regular pine boards were used for the wall studs.

The roof

Instead of building regular rafters like what you may find on a house, I took 2 x8’s, went from full width in the center, down to 3 1/2 inches on the side. This gives a slope of 3.75 inches on 8 feet.

If the roof starts sagging I will put a 2 x 6 edge ways inside the house on the bottom of the 2 x 8s.  The 2x8s are nailed and screwed to a 2×4 that is attached to the top plate of the walls.

Here in southeast Texas we do not get much snow. I am not worried about a lot of load bearing on the roof.

Rain runs off well, but there is a little beading back on the bottom edge of the tin.

If I did it again I would probably go with 2 x 10s instead of 2 x8s for a little extra slope.

Exterior siding

The exterior siding came from Lowes and is EverTrue knotty pine. The board is supposed to be made from a composite material and is recommended for dog houses and chicken houses.  The siding is supposed to come already primed and ready to paint.

The exterior is being painted a barn red color.  So far it has taken about 3 coats to cover up the wood color.

Windows

Chicken manure produces methane and it downright stinks.  To make sure the house gets enough ventilation I will be installing windows on all four sides.

  • Inside the chicken house start by using pressure treated 2x4s to frame in the window location.
  • From the inside, use a 5/8 inch paddle bit to drill a hole at each corner.
  • Go outside use a straight edge and sharpie to draw a line between the holes.
  • Set skil saw to about 1/8 deeper than the thickness of the siding.
  • Paint edges of siding, allow to dry, paint again.  Repeat for at least 2 or 3 coats.
  • Place hardware cloth over the window, allow wire to overlap edge of window about 1 1/2 inches.
  • Use galvanized 5/8 staples to hold the hardware cloth in place.
  • Frame outside of windows with painted pressure treated 1x4s.
  • Use outdoor screws to hold the 1x4s in place..
  • Leave enough room for 1×12 with hinges to be able to close and seal off the window during bad weather.

You now have a low cost, rustic looking barn window that cost only a few dollars to build.

What you think?

Share your opinions and thoughts below.

Are you a member of the forum? If so post your comments in this forum thread – New Chicken House

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Kevin Felts was born and raised in southeast Texas, graduated from Bridge City high school Bridge City Texas, and attended Lamar College in Port Arthur Texas. Hobbies include fishing, hiking, hunting, blogging, sharing his politically incorrect opinion, video blogging on youtube, survivalism and spending time with his family. In his free time you may find Kevin working around the farm, building something, or tending to the livestock

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