Sunday, April 29, 2007

Henhouse update

The henhouse is now 99.5% done. I am really excited, as are the young hens. I've taken a bunch of photos of the various features of the house, but as always the blog isn't good at allowing me to label photos, so please try to match the description with the photo as you go. They get more and more out of synch as you read down!

This is a front shot of the henhouse with attached henport. You can almost see in this photo that there are 8 wingnuts and bolts holding the entire front of the henhouse in place (one is visible in the sunlight near the top left). This will allow us to take the entire front wall off once a year or so to do a big cleaning of the coop. Also, note the elevated food sled to prevent the need to stoop under the henport to swap out food or water buckets.

Close-up of nifty dual purpose door bar. Keeps the door bolted up, or very tightly down, depending on how you use it.

The front and rear walls have vent covers below the roof line that can be opened to allow a cross-breeze, or closed to retain heat in winter. These pictures show the front left side closed, then opened. You can tell the rear vent cover is open in the second picture (hence the bright rectangle of sunshine in the center of the photo). I'm short one hinge right now so that vent cover is still waiting to be completed.

The egg door is now fully integrated into the fencing of the chicken run, and weather stripped. We'll eventually put a nicer doorstop in than that piece of yellow string, of course.

The back of the henhouse opens up into the vegetable garden with a large "maintenance door" that we installed. This allows Matt and/or me to clean the henhouse out with easy access and adjust the inside of the henhouse if that becomes necessary. This also permits the hens to access the veggie garden if I so choose. When I opened the door to take the picture, Mrs. Tweedy decided to visit me and you can see her in that last photo.

The food sled was a neat idea I had. I didn't want to have to lift heavy water or food buckets at a funny angle when they were under the chickenport. So I designed a little food sled (complete with rounded runners and a slatted top) to allow me to easily slide the heavy stuff out from under the chickenport like a drawer. The open design prevents mold or other yuckiness from building up under the sled. Also, it is suggested that you elevate the water to prevent poo contamination and this accomplishes that as well! I haven't found just the right size bucket for the food yet, so only the chick feeder is up there right now. Soon though, I hope to put about 20lbs of food on the sled, and about 15lbs of water. I hope the sled technology is as handy as I think it will be.

The only thing remaining is the anti-hawk netting I purchased on Ebay. Once it is installed (and I purchase one more pesky vent hinge) I'll put the very final results up on the blog!

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