Hoop House

Last weekend we finally had the opportunity to transport my chickens from my parents place to our place.  Transporting them was a total adventure.  We had to scoop them up, put them in a cage.  It sounds so simple on paper!  I had to chase them around, hand them to my husband who put them in the cage.  It was extremely humid and hot, and knowing I was stressing the chickadees was stressing me!  Once we got them into their temporary cage, we worked at getting the coop onto a trailer.  This also sounds easier than it is!  Due to miscommunications when it was built, it is a lot sturdier and heavier than it would have to be.  ((Whoops!))  It probably weights about 150 to 200 pounds which is much more than a hoop house should weigh.  Thankfully my husband is like superman and we got it on the trailer and fastened it down.  Then we headed on the slow and uneventful drive home.  We unloaded the hoop house, put the chickens in, and they have been in heaven ever since!  Our grass hasn't been as damaged by the sun as it's pretty shaded and we've had a little more rain here.  We had to move the hoop house today because they had scratched up the ground quite a bit.  I said all of this, so I could show you our hoop house!  I had a bit of a rude awakening when I first started dreaming of coops.  I am guilty in hoping and dreaming of a coop like this...

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Instead, we made something that was completely free, and made up of recycled materials...

This is a hoop house.  It provides protection and the ability of chickens to "free range".  I would have loved to have had a stationary coop.  A cute one like the one above, and I would have loved to let the chickens meander where they please.  However, everything likes the taste of chicken.  From hawks, to dogs, to raccoons and even possums.  I could have had a stationary coop and had a run for them to go into, but within a certain amount of time they would have eaten and scratched up every single blade of grass.  Then the chickens would have no grass.  I can tell you for a fact chickens are happiest when they can scratch through grass!!  I want them to have that, and with a hoop house they get that, and protection.  The tarp has been great for shading the chickens during this hot, hot summer, and provides a break for any wind or rain we do get (not much!).  Once cooler weather sets in we will have to compromise some unfortunately.  We'll be converting a wood shed into a coop for the winter.  We plan to hook the hoop house up to the back so they will have access to outside, but they will also be able to go into the coop to stay warm.  They may even be spoiled enough they'll get heat lamps, so they can stay toasty all winter!

This is the front of the hoop house.  You can see the rooster there, waiting to make sure I'm no trouble.  We used a door lined with chicken wire and hard wire cloth.  In case you are wondering, chicken wire keeps chickens in great, but a predator (such as a coon) can easily rip it apart to get to your chickens.  It's why we put the chicken wire on the top of the door and not on the bottom.

Here is the inside.  I will say it up front in case you are not familiar with chickens, they are messy.  They poop whenever, wherever.  The top of their nesting box, and any stationary piece has poop on it.  You can clean it, and they'll just poop again!  If you can see there is only shavings in one nesting box, that's because although there are two, they all lay in just one of the two boxes!

You guys were lucky!  When I went out to take these pictures there was a surprise in the nest box!

Two, pretty, perfect eggs!  These were laid by the barred rocks, which are the black and white chickens.

I hope you enjoyed our little tour!

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