Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: chickens

More chicken coop ideas

Raising chickens for SHTFIn the previous article we built the first 1/2 – 1/3 of the chicken coop. Now its time to look at building the rest of the coop.

During the final stages of the coop construction, there are 3 things I want to focus on:

Security
Lights
Exhaust fan for the coop – this is a “maybe”

Lets see if we can break this down:

1 solar panel for the hotwire
1 solar panel for the 12 volt battery for lights and exhaust fan

My orginal plans were to run the light, fan and hotwire off one solar unit and a single 12 volt battery. But since the hotwire system has a 6 volt battery,I am going to have to go with 2 solar units. 1 solar for the 6 volt battery and hot wire, 1 solar unit with 12 volt battery for lights and fan.

Trying to raise chickens part 3

Chicken feeder and waterer

My first batch of chicks turned one month old on March 25th. All of the chicks were bought within a week and a half of of each other, so lets say all of the chicks are within 10 days of each other.

When my wife and I bought the chickens we bought two water dispensers. One of the dispensers was used for food and one was used for food. The one used for food did not work very well. But then again, when the chicks were a couple of days old they did not eat very much either.

Waterers

The first two waterers bought were red and screwed onto a pint or quart sized jar. The chicks quickly outgrew the pint sized jar and had to be upgraded to a quart sized jar.

The quart jar lasted only a few weeks before a 1 gallon sized container had to be bought. Currently 13 chicks that are about 1 month old take about 2 – 3 days to drink 1 gallon of water. I keep the quart jar in the coop with the 1 gallon jar just as a backup. Within the next week or so the quart sized waterer will probably be removed from the coop.

I imagine that the chicks will have to upgraded to a 3 or 5 gallon waterer before too much longer.

Chicken Coop Project Part 2

The first part of the coop was thrown together because rain was on the way. It was either get a section of the coop built and get the roof on it, or everything was going to get wet. Due to the rush, certain things were left off the coop during the first weekend, such as a vent window, the ladder,,, and a few other small details.

March 24 and 25 another door was added to the coop, the egg collection door was finished, the ladder was finished, and a vent window was added.

The second door was cut 24 inches by 24 inches square. The other door which measures 18 inches wide seemed a little narrow. The rugs of the ladder are spaced at 1.5 inches apart. To keep the spacing the same, I used a 2×4 on its side as a spacer. The problem is, 1.5 inches between the boards leaves a large gap for a snake to get through. To hopefully keep the snakes out, 1/2 inch square hardware cloth was stapled to the bottom to the ladder.

My Chicken Coop Project Part 1

Building a chicken coop

A few weeks ago my wife and I picked up 5 chicks, a week later we got 6 more, a few days later we got 4 more. Two of the chicks died, which left us with a total of 13. Up until last weekend the chicks had been kept in a large plastic tub, which in turn was being kept in the bathtub. The chicks can not stay in my house forever, sooner or later they were going to have to go outside. On Sunday, March 18, 2012 the chicks moved into their new home.

It took about 2 1/2 days, but with the help of my wife and my son, we got the coop built.

Before construction of the coop started I probably spent 2 weeks thinking about the specs, how many laying boxes were needed, how large the coop needed to be, how it was going to be designed, square footage per chicken, types of lumber, how the chickens were going to access the coop, coop security,,, just lots of details were thought out.

One of the first things I did was get out on the internet and look at some chicken coop pictures. There are a lot of different designs out there, that is for sure. The plan I wanted was for the coop to be portable. The type of coop I was aiming for is called a “chicken tractor”. Its a type of coop that can be moved around the yard. Once I got some pictures, and got some ideas, it was time to start making sketches.

I took several pieces of paper and made rough sketches of how the lumber was going to fit together.

Raising chickens is a labor of love

Chicks inside chicken coopMy wife and I are in 3rd week, going on 4 weeks of having chickens. One thing I have realized in this short period of time, raising chickens is a labor of love. Unless you are ready to check on your chickens everyday, feed, water, clean, inspect, worry about,,, don’t even bother.

From February 25 – March 18 the chicks were kept in a plastic box, that was in kept in a bathtub. On a daily basis I had to clean the tub, replace the newspapers, refill the water and refill the food. For the last week that the chicks were in the box I put some pine shavings down in the tub. This made matters worse as the chicks scratched the bottom of the tub and threw the pine shavings into the food and water bowls. The water bowl was the worse, as the pine shavings soaked up the water and stuck inside the water bowl.

Springtime Survival Gear Preps for SHTF

Free ranging Dominique chicken

Spring is here, that means its time to stock up on seasonal preps. The local feed and fertilizer stores are getting their seed shipments in, as well as baby chickens, fertilizer,,, and so on.

Some stores carry farm supplies all year long, some places carry them on a seasonal basis. If at all possible, find a place in your area that carries farm and livestock supplies all year long. Here in Jasper Texas we have 3 feed and fertilizer stores that carry farm supplies all year long.

Pickle’s carries a wide assortment of seed, pesticide and fertilizer. If you want to buy corn seed, this is the place to go.

Circle Three Feed carries a lot of farm and livestock supplies. If you want to buy chickens, feed, deer corn, this is a good place to go.

Farmers Feed carries a lot of everything. I have bought deer corn, chicks, seeds, 16 gallon drums,,, all kinds of stuff from Farmers Feed.

Even if the stores carry supplies all year long, there are still items that are seasonal, such as seeds and chicks. If you want chicks and if you want seed, get down to a local feed store and stockup before the seasonal stuff is sold out.

Trying to raise chickens Part 2

Chicks under a heatlamp

If you have not read part 1 of this raising chickens series, please do so. Its been over 20 years since I have owned chickens, so this is kind of a new venture as I have fourteen a lot over the past 20+ years.

Week 1 – my wife and I bought 5 chicks. Within the first few days 2 of the chicks died. One of the chicks looked small and weak from the first day. One chick died on day one, second chick died on day 3.

Week 2 – on March 3, 2012 my wife and I went to a local feed store to buy some Production reds. When my wife and i arrived at the store, we were told they had sold the last of the Production Reds just a few minutes before we arrived.

After talking about what we should do, my wife and I decided to go to Farmers Feed on HWY 96 north of Jasper, Texas.

Farmers Feed did not have any Production Reds, but they did have several different types of chickens. My wife and I decided to buy 2 of each type of chicken, of a total of 6 chicks. Two of the chicks are Barred Rocks. the other 4 chicks, I can not remember the type. I will call the feed store Monday morning and ask what kind they are selling.

Trying to raise chickens Part 1

Heat lamp and tub for chicks

If you are planning on surviving some kind of long term SHTF survival situation, then your plans should include food production. Stockpiling rice, beans, oats, corn, freeze dried foods,,, is fine and dandy. The problem with having a static food supply, it “is” going to run out sooner or later. To expand my families food supply, my wife and I decided to get some chickens.

With the chickens we will have a steady supply of eggs for protein, and if bad turns to worse, we can eat the chickens. Eating the chickens would be a last ditch effort, as I would rather use the chickens for breeding purposes to make more chickens.

This is my first attempt at raising chickens in over 20 years. The last time I had chickens was back around 1989, 1990 and 1991. Over the past 20+ years I have forgotten a lot about raising chickens, but I am sure things will come back.

On the morning of Saturday February 25, 2012 a friend of the family called my wife and told her that Circle Three Feed in Jasper Texas has chicks. My wife and I grabbed a laundry basket to put the chicks in, then we headed to the feed store.

Upon arriving at the feed store, the lady that was helping us said the chicks were Black Giants, but the proper name was probably Black Jersey Giant.

The plan is to have at least 2 different types of chickens.

Disaster Preparedness Manuals

Disaster Preparedness Manuals, also known as survival manuals are often overlooked by preppers and survivalist. There is a wealth of information out there, but you have to have the books in hand for them to do you any good.

Over the past few weeks I picked up 6 new disaster preparedness manuals:

Homeland security field guide
Quick Series guide to public health emergencies
Quick Series emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities and medical conditions
Janes Chem-bio handbook
Chickens by Dereck Hall

I also have Chickens for Dummies on the way, it should be here next week.

Homeland Security Field GuideHomeland Security Field Guide, a pocket reference for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) & terrorism response:

One thing that stands out about this manual, the different sections have tabs that you can see without having to open the book. Need information about decon, find the decon tab, open the book to that section.

102 pages

Categories include:

First in response
Command considerations

Projects for 2012

snap beans survivalist garden

Some random thoughts about projects I want to work on during 2012.

Build a portable chicken coop
Plant a summer garden
Look into building a rabbit pen
Stockpile more seeds

The chicken coop I am looking at building is going to be 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall and 10 feet long. The unit is is going to have a coop on top of the pen, with maybe 4 – 6 boxes for laying hens. No roosters, all the chickens will be for will be eggs. Plucking chickens is a pain, it would be a lot easier and productive to harvest the eggs, and that is what my wife and I am planning on doing.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018