The chicks are growing fast. They have feathered out and they can handle the cool nights without the heat lamps. It’s time to move them to their permanent home. Although this year we will do it a little differently. Instead of using the movable chicken coop (built on runners), I will give them a room within the barn and cut an opening that will give them free access to the pastures.
The room we will use is the room we used to house them while they were chicks. I simply removed the heat lamps and built the roosts and trough and cut an opening in the wall.
I typically make the roost from dead branches. I believe it is not only cost effective, but the round edges of the branches seem to fit the chicken’s feet better than a piece of cut lumber. I really don’t know if this is true, but it seems reasonable.
Over the years I have tried different ways of supporting the branches; making lightweight frames that could be modified to accommodate more or less birds from year to year. A year or two ago I tried a completely different support system that seems to work well for me; I tie the roosts to the rafters.
The cords are strong enough to support the weight of the birds and enable me to easily add more roosts when needed. I attach the cords at an angle to hold the roosts tight to the walls so the roost doesn’t sway when the birds get on and off.
I believe the photo shows the cords at an angle. The angle is produced by the roosts resting against the wall, keeping the point where the cord attaches to the roost offset from the spots where the cords attach to the rafters. This offset produces the pressure that keeps the roosts stable. What isn’t easily seen in the above photo is the offset is in two directions; forcing the roost against both walls. This design keeps the roost securely in the corner.
This design can be easily modified and replicated. The branches are simply crossed and tied with cord into a single unit. The entire grid is suspended from the rafters by the four corners.
As I said previously, this design is easy to make, easy to modify, and seems to fit the chicken’s feet very well.
While I was at it, I put together a simple feeding trough. Just a couple of thin boards nailed at an angle with sides to hold it in place.
I finished off the day by cutting a small opening in the outside wall so the birds have free access to the pastures. I cut the opening with a jigsaw and I was able to use the cutout boards to make a door. The door is removed in the morning and replaced in the evening. The door is securely latched every evening.
It took less than a day to complete this project. The material was free; dead branches from the burn pile, scrap lumber, and available cord.
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