How to equip a chicken coop inside for laying hens
The productivity of chickens largely depends on the conditions of their maintenance. An important role in this is the arrangement of the chicken coop from the inside. How to do it right will be discussed below.
Interior arrangement of the chicken coop
The internal arrangement of the chicken coop begins with the preparation of a plan-drawing, in which the placement is displayed:
- containers for ash baths.
The constant presence of the bird on the floor leads to the spread of infection, so they build perches for sleep. For poles, the warmest, shaded spot in the chicken coop is selected. This allows you to copy the conditions of an overnight stay in the wild, when the birds sleep on tree branches. The optimal length of the pole is equal to the width of the room. The thickness of the wooden beam is 4 × 4 cm.
The density of placement of hens is 20-30 cm per bird. Based on this, it is necessary to calculate how many poles will be installed in the room. The distance between them should be at least 25 cm. To save space, you can arrange the poles in steps, but not one above the other, so that the hens sitting above do not get dirty with lower droppings.
Before fixing the pole itself, it must be processed with a plane and sanded with sandpaper. Paints and varnishes for smoothness will not work, because their composition is unsafe for chickens. After processing, the structure is strengthened at the corners with a screwdriver or drill. It is advisable to attach stairs to perches located at a height of more than 30 cm, along which chickens can climb up.
Important! For the construction of poles, only a tree is suitable. The use of metal strips will lead to hypothermia of the limbs of the bird in the winter.
The number of nests in the chicken coop will depend on the productive direction of the chickens:
- for meat breeds, one nest for 5 females is enough;
- meat and egg and egg breeds will need one nest for 2-3 chickens.
Wooden containers for storing vegetables or baskets are perfect as nests. The main requirement for the size of the nests is 40 × 40 × 35 cm. For the females to get used to the nests faster, lay a thick layer of soft hay in them (about 20 cm).
Nests should be placed in the most remote corner of the chicken house, protected from draft. It is important for laying hens to feel safe during laying, so they try to lay their eggs where no one will notice them. This factor must be taken into account when installing the sockets. The best placement option would be where the laying hens have already laid eggs on the floor. This approach will reduce the period of training for nests.
The volume of the feeding bowl will depend entirely on the number of chickens. Each head should have 10-15 cm, for chickens the area is halved. If the feeder is of a circular type, then 2–2.5 cm is enough for each bird. It is important that all birds have simultaneous access to food, otherwise weak individuals will remain hungry. When choosing a feeder or about to make it yourself, pay attention to the material.
Having departed 0.5 cm from the bottom, holes are made in the walls of the bucket through which food will be served in a plate. You don’t need to do too big so that the chickens cannot stick their heads in them.
The optimum diameter is 5 cm. Then the bucket is attached to the plate with a wire, grasping both containers with it and connecting the ends on the handle of the bucket. It is better to install the finished feeding trough on a small elevation, immediately remove it after a meal and wash it.
For dry feed, a variant of a hopper feeder made of wood is not bad. You can design a box with an arbitrary length (for example, 120 cm): the size of the sides will be 120 × 9 cm, and two small blanks - 20 × 12 cm. All these parts should be connected together using stainless steel corners. Along the entire length of the box, you need to install wooden poles at a distance of 10 cm from each other so that the bird could not get into the feeder.
Did you know? In order to announce to all the inhabitants of the chicken coop that it is necessary to get up, the rooster crowes once with long intervals at high frequencies. If he found food away from home and wants to call females, then his crowing will be low-frequency and often repeated.
The best option for chickens is nipple drinkers.
To do this, you will need:
- transparent flexible hoses;
- droplet eliminators;
- square PVC pipe;
- 20 liter bottle
Read more about how to make and install a nipple drinker for chickens with your own hands.
Tanks for the reception of ash baths
As containers for ash baths, you can use wooden boxes with a height of 20 cm. They contain a mixture of shell rock, wood ash and sand. The number of tanks depends on the number of chickens. For 5 goals, one box is enough. You can arrange them around the entire perimeter of the chicken coop, excluding the nesting zone.
Microclimate in a barn for laying hens
Most breeds of chickens do not tolerate winter cold, especially since this period often coincides with seasonal molting, when the bird's body is weakened. To regulate humidity, temperature and ensure the influx of fresh air in the chicken coop, ventilation should be equipped. In winter, chickens need to artificially increase daylight hours - this is necessary to increase their productivity.
Important! You can keep warm in the chicken coop by forming high snowdrifts in the winter at the outer walls. In spring, it will need to be removed before the thaw, in order to avoid flooding the barn.
The type of ventilation must be selected at the construction stage: depending on the dimensions of the building and the number of seats.
There are 3 types of ventilation systems in total:
- supply and exhaust;
An elementary ventilation system involves ventilation by opening windows and doors. The main task is to arrange the window openings so that the bird does not suffer from a draft. It is best to make a few dull windows (which do not open) and one small dormer with an adjustable sash, which will allow you to adjust the intensity of the air supply. The essence of the method is that oxygen enters through the door to the chicken coop, and carbon dioxide, along with ammonia vapors, is discharged through the window. It is permissible to use this technique only for a small livestock (up to 15 animals) kept in a small-sized building.
Step-by-step instructions for the supply and exhaust system equipment:
- Fix the supply pipe so that it is 35 cm above the roof level and in the house at a height of 25 cm from the floor.
- Attach the exhaust pipe as close to the nesting zone as possible so that its lower end is 30 cm from the ceiling and the upper one is 1.5 m above the roof level.
- To prevent water from getting into the mechanisms, equip the ends located above the roof level with special metal umbrellas.
- To reduce the risk of overcooling, cover the lower end of the supply pipe with a net.
Video: installation of forced ventilation in the chicken coop
The mechanized system is a network-powered fan. The easiest option is to install it in a window opening. To do this, replace the glass with a plywood sheet with a prepared hole for the fan. Such ventilation is appropriate when keeping more than 40 chickens.
Daylight hours for chickens in winter should last 12-14 hours. To ensure this mode, use infrared lamps. This excellent device will help not only extend the daylight hours, but also play the role of a heater. Such lamps do not dry the air, and their soft light calms the chickens.
Important! Do not extend the daylight hours of chickens for more than 14 hours - this will lead to an early decrease in productivity. In winter, the bird needs to recover after the active phase of egg production.
The optimum indoor temperature for chickens in winter is +12 ... + 17 ° C. In different parts of the chicken coops, you need to place thermometers in order to clearly monitor the temperature indicators and quickly correct the situation with a significant decrease. If necessary, warm the room is better to give preference to infrared heaters. They warm the surrounding objects, not the air, so the heat will last longer. It is not worth overheating the room. + 17 ° С should be the maximum mark, otherwise the chickens will begin to hurt due to a strong temperature difference when going outside.
What else to take care of
In addition to all of the above, you should take care of high-quality floor litter and disinfection of rooms. And even if heating equipment is installed in the shed, for the winter it is necessary to additionally insulate the walls, floor, ceiling and window openings.
Find out more
The optimal composition for bedding for the winter:
- peat - 5 cm;
- sawdust - 5 cm;
- straw dust - 5 cm;
- corncobs - 3 cm.
A total of 18–20 cm is obtained. It is better to lay out the components in layers. Straw dust and corn cobs can be replaced with hay. In the warm season, the litter can be laid in a smaller layer (10 cm), combining peat and sawdust. Full replacement of the litter is done every 3-5 months. For the winter, the litter must be completely changed by the end of October. Throughout the cold season, as the water gets wet (about once every 7–12 days), the top layer is replaced (7–10 cm).
Did you know? The chicken is able to recognize the owner from a distance exceeding 10 m.
The most important measure in maintaining a healthy microclimate inside the chicken coop is disinfection, including:
- cleaning of the premises every 7-10 days with the change of the upper layer of the litter;
- complete litter change every 3-4 months;
- washing drinkers and feeders every 1-3 days;
- sanitary treatment of walls with copper sulfate once every 3 months.
Sanitary treatment of the walls is carried out with a 3% solution of copper sulfate. At the time of processing the chickens you need to take to the street and ensure high-quality ventilation of the room. You can start the bird back after the walls have completely dried. If there have been cases of infection, it is better to burn the walls with gas lamps. With a complete change of litter, the floors are also treated with a solution of copper sulfate. After complete drying, lay a new litter.
You will be interested to read about how to disinfect in a chicken coop.
Before entering the chicken coop, it is better to equip the vestibule, especially if the room is intended for year-round maintenance. In the doors of the vestibule and the chicken coop itself from below, you need to build a hole for the hens through which they can get out for a walk. This will reduce the cooling rate of the premises in the winter. Insulate the walls of the chicken coop from the outside with OSB boards. The material is fixed with nails, then treated with an antiseptic.
You can use a 3% solution of copper sulfate. The inner surface of the walls is best treated with a layer of clay with straw. This material helps to keep warm in the winter and lends itself perfectly to any type of disinfection treatment, including firing with gas burners. In addition, it is completely safe for chickens, which cannot be said about polystyrene sheets, when the walls are insulated in a chicken coop there is a risk that the chickens decide to eat them and die from intoxication. The ceiling is insulated with felt. If the floor is made of concrete, then you need to make a plank coating on top.
On top of it fit:
- peat layer (about 10 cm);
- a layer of wood sawdust (8 cm);
- hay layer (5 cm).
Did you know? The reason why chickens of the Araucan breed carry blue and green eggs is the infection of all individuals of this breed with a retrovirus. In the process of life, it is integrated into the chicken DNA chain, which leads to an increase in the content of the biliverdin pigment shell.
The internal arrangement of the chicken coop is an important component in maintaining an optimal microclimate and simulating natural living conditions. The right approach to this process allows you to increase livestock productivity.