Backyard chickens the easy way

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When people hear we have chickens they often say “I would love to have chickens, but they are so much work.” Honestly, I think a dog is more work than the chickens. You have to train dogs, they chew furniture and you have to clean up their poop.  Don’t  get me wrong I LOVE our dogs, but they are way more work than our 50+ chickens.  Although we still have to occasionally clean the coop by hand, here are a couple of things we discovered that make chickens easier than ever!

To keep chickens safe from predators they need to have a secure place to roost at night.  For years, I would go out at sunrise to let the girls out.  This required donning a cute bathrobe and muck boots and walking out in the cool morning.  Then at dusk, after the girls had returned to the coop, we would need walk out again and close it up.  This was a significant pain, because in the morning you can’t  sleep in and someone always had to be home around dusk, so predators didn’t get our girls.

After much research and even a few DIY ideas from my husband, we found an automatic coop door online and decided to try it.  We have two Chickenguard’s from Foy’s Pigeon Supplies (we have two coops).  You can put it on a timer if you like, but we use the adjustable light sensor.  The door opens automatically at sunrise and closes at dusk.  If you didn’t know, chickens have an innate behavior to roost every night, so they always return to the coop before dark.  The Chickenguard is a bit expensive, but well worth every penny.  In over 3 years, it has never failed.  We change the batteries once a year and that’s it. (no power needed, just batteries)

www.foyspigeonsupplies.com

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 See that little plastic dot? That’s the light sensor outside the coop

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So many chickens go through lots of water.  In the hot summer months we would have to refill the water fonts 2-3 times a day. We now have chicken nipples. Yes, Maddona had a good idea. We have metal chicken nipples and they are awesome! Hooked up to a hose bib, the system reduces the water pressure and always has fresh water available at the nipple.  I guess it is similar to the hamster water bottles with a ball, but I think the chickens like the nipples better because they are long like a worm!

There are several Youtube videos on how to make these, but after a year of trying different setups and becoming frustrated by water pressure issues, we broke down and bought one from HERE.  http://chickenfountain.com

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As for cleaning the coops, that’s super easy too… we use child labor 🙂

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~Chanel

10 thoughts on “Backyard chickens the easy way

  1. Maureen Pinegar

    I love your chickens. I rely on a neighbor who has 40 of them for fresh eggs. We trade and there is nothing better. Are you going to give a try at making goat cheese. A nice varietal chevre sounds pretty wonderful and you are the one who could do it!

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  2. Janet Edrington

    thanks for sharing your talents, … I’m one of those people who would LOVE to have chickens,- but our HOA and space (or lack there of) prevents it. I marvel at city people who do have them, though. One of the sisters in our ward has a very efficient coop that she designed and built by herself that is perfectly fit for her very small space and is complete with an automatic watering system and cleaning system for her chickens (around 2 or 3).

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  3. What kind of bedding do you use in the coops and nesting boxes? We use rice hulls and straw in the nest boxes. When you clean out your coops do you out the old stuff in the compost pile? Do you ever give your coops a big scrub down inside? Ours is so gross. Not sure if it’s safe to use a cleaner/bleach. Last question: do you get ants in your coop? We have had a bad ant problem this year. We have a broody hen right now and she has ants on her. So sad!

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    • Bedding we usually use straw in the boxes and rice hulls in the coop… But sometimes we use straw for both. We throw all the old coop “stuff” all over the field. We used to try to have a compost pile down there but the girls eat everything and scatter the rest. Now we have an area where we feed them all our green waste and it’s always gone the next day. We don’t use bleach at all. We try to clean on a hot dry day and usually we can scrape it clean. I do occasionally hose it out but you have to make sure it’s totally dry before closing everything back up. We have never has a problem with ants. I have no idea why that’s happening in yours. I would think the girls would eat them. We do get flys sometimes if there is water around the coop, but that’s not really been a problem. Our biggest problem is skunks. Eric shot one in the small coop a month ago and it still smells after a deep cleaning. That’s a problem!

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