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)
See that little plastic dot? That’s the light sensor outside the coop
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
As for cleaning the coops, that’s super easy too… we use child labor 🙂