Monday, 17 February 2014

Modifying the Henhouse

This weekend was all about the chickens.
Luckily for once the weather was mostly on our side and after making plans on Saturday when the rain was falling and checking we had suitable wood ready for action when it stopped, we were able to spring into action on Sunday in the lovely sunshine and begin modifying the inside of the house.

When we got the house it had five perches over the wide shelf, and as they came right up to the edge of the shelf our birds couldn't actually get onto them, well about two of the girls learnt that if they did a vertical take off they could get up but the rest skulked on the floor of the house at night or crowded into the nesting boxes.
This was quickly altered, the front perch was sawn off and Lovely Hubby made them a ramp, this meant that come bedtime the girls could troop up the ramp and make their way along the bars.  BUT ... because the bars were so close together and all on one level once the girls were sat down on the front bars their tail feathers covered all the other perches, so the house only actually had room for one line of birds to roost...... not a good design in such a large space!!
So this modification still meant that lots of them slept on the shelf or in the nesting boxes, which made for more cleaning out each day otherwise the eggs would have been laid on dirty bedding.
So my plan was hatched to turn this .....

... into this.
By taking out another of the perches we were able to space them slightly further apart and by having the perches tiered it makes for more room for the tail feathers to naturally fall into the space between the perches thus freeing up lots of extra room.  So two less perches in this house has actually made more room for birds to use them properly.  And it somehow makes the house feel a lot more spacious inside and it is now so much easier to clean the shelf under the perches.
And it means the birds are much happier because every flock has a pecking order and the birds at the top of the pecking order usually like to sleep on higher perches to the 'lower' girls.  I say usually because I have had a few birds that were super confident and obviously led the flock during their lifetime but have been happier either in a nesting box or on the floor of the house.  Each to their own just like people.

We snuck out for a peek at bedtime to see if our little plan had worked.

It had ... for once the perches were in full use, all the birds except two who were in the nesting boxes and Poppy who has always slept on the floor in all our houses, had found a place on the perches.
Mission accomplished - happy chickens = happy chicken keepers.
And did you spot something in the top picture .... yes LH has bought the girls some fake grass to make the front of their house look nice and to make it less slippy for us when we step in and out of the house.  It looks really good, a patch of green amongst a sea of muddy grass the girls seem to really like it, they soon discovered that although it wasn't edible it warmed up nicely in the afternoon soon for basking on. 
Sue xx


  1. It's lovely to hear how well you look after your birds. I bet they never want to wander when they've got such lovely keepers. It's very inspiring.

  2. Great modifications, the girls seem very happy with their new perches :)

  3. Wonderful transformation :) but what about Poppy...doesn't she get pooped on sleeping under the others?

    1. You'd think she would wouldn't you, but she's always remarkably clean in the mornings!!

  4. Chicken do like their ex batts refuse to use the perches preferring the nest box to get all cosy in...what a clever husband to make your plans come to life.

  5. They look as snug as your dogs did in a previous post.

  6. O wow! A designer henhouse and designer garden! Lucky chooks!

  7. A great solution to the problem. I love the photo of them all cosied up together.

  8. Like most things, a little thought beforehand and a simple idea becomes in reality a great solution. Those chucks look more than happy, mmmmm proper eggs...

  9. Gosh. I'd even send a pic of your modifications (or link to this post) to the manufacturer who obviously don't know what chickens really need. Great job and happy chickens. Kudos.

  10. Think I may resort to fake grass for here,I'm beginning to forget what grass looks like.
    Jane x

  11. What a lovely photo of the chickens settling down for the night. I had to show my husband. They all look very snug and cosy - lucky them

  12. That looks very sensible, and they do look snug!

  13. The full three I's to this post Sue, interesting, informative and inspiring! :)

    Love the pic of all the birdies on their roost.
    Pleased you're all well n safe.

    Have a great week all of you.
    Rw x

  14. The picture of them on the porches looks great, so full of different colors!

  15. That`s no ordinary henhouse, Sue. You`ve given your birds a penthouse!

  16. A 5 star henhouse! What next? a Michelin star for the grub LOL!
    You've done a great job there, proof in the last but one photo. I wonder if they did a 'happy dance'?

  17. Good alterations. I'm constantly messing about with mine to see what works. I think next time I'll go bigger like yours as mine have nowhere to go when it's muddy.

  18. We always had multi-level perches for our hens, but hubby built them so they hinged at the back and went down to a foot above the floor. droppings went straight to the floor and when we hinged up the perch it latched to the ceiling so a couple of scoops cleaned up the whole place. He grew up where they had large numbers of poultry and that's the way they did it - must say I had no excuses for not keeping things spic n span!!-)

  19. oh the girls look so cosy in there. Great modification. Had to giggle about the grass as a friend of mine has gone in for a patch of fake grass which we joke about all the time !


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