October 28, 2010 at 10:01 am #253528LarissaMember
We have recently moved house and with our new backyard came a large dog house – I havent measured it but it is huge, it could house a great dane or a st bernard. It is made of weatherboard and has a strong wooden floor and roof and looks to be quite water proof.
I am thinking of getting a few chooks and am wondering if it’s possible to renovate the exisiting dog house into a chook house, and if so, what exactly would we need to do in the way of pearches and/or nesting boxes, and roughly how many chooks would fit? We have a family of 3 (for now), so I don’t think we’d need too many chooks to keep us in egg supply?
I had a look today at a few commerically made chook houses (some at bunnings for example) and they seem a lot of money to pay for something we have the foundations of already, and they were tiny!
I’d like the chooks to freerange as much as possible, but we have a dog (a labrador who is curious but scared of everything, I’m not sure how he would go with chooks but i think he would be ok), so we would need to have them locked up (in a fenced off part I mean) some of the time.
I’m not sure if we’d be better of converting the kennel into a ‘tractor’ style, or simply putting up a fence and putting the kennel/chook house in there (hope that makes sense)….
As you can probably tell, I’m a complete beginner at this, so ANY advice would be great!!
Thanks :shy:October 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm #481008osakasuzMember
My dad says – you don’t buy stuff for a chook house! I tend to agree – all ours have been made from recycled or scavenged materials.
I think keep the house as is, add perches and nesting boxes. you can then fence a roaming area for the chooks (star pickets and wire) and move this area periodically so that the ground gets a rest.
The chooks each will need about 50cm of perch space each. The perch should be a good diameter for chooks to get their feet around and made of smooth round wood – a branch from a tree is the best choice. It should be off the ground (of course).
You can use mower catchers for nesting boxes – one for every three chooks is ok, otherwise you can just make a little box. Take a look at the produce shop for samples. Chooks like to feel secure to do the laying.
Then you’ll need about one square meter for each chook of walking around space – if tractoring and moving everyday, this is all you need, but if keeping the house stationary and moving only periodically, then I would triple this size.
Something for food and water, the water must be fresh. The house will need a door (to be closed each night if you have predators. We don’t in suburbia, so our chook house has no door.
Dogs are usually ok with chooks after a settling in period.October 31, 2010 at 9:58 am #481009HayleyMember
Hi Larissa! I think you could definitely turn the kennel into a chook house.
Our chooks nesting boxes are lawn mower catchers and large plant pots on their side. I’ve recently read people using small wooden crates and the chooks sit in them.
For a family of 4 we have 4 laying chooks and a duck. For the cold of winter its just barely enough eggs but during warmer months we end up giving them away by the dozen.
For a perch any piece of suitable thick enough wood you can scrounge will do. Some of our chooks perch, some like sleeping in the nesting boxes.
When doing up the kennel I guess keep in mind being able to access it for egg collection etc.
Your dog should keep foxes away but you might want to put a door on for security. We never had a problem with foxes until our dogs got arthritis and we had to start sleeping them inside….
The dogs actually get intimiated by the chooks. Once I threw a ball down the driveway for a dog to chase and the duck ended up chasing the dog the other way down the drive!!! But said dog did develop a taste for baby chicks…..though she’d never go for an older one.
As for moving around or setting up a yard – it depends on what suits you guys. We tend to plonk a cage with a pen around it in a spot for a few months, then when its all scratched through we move the cage and re-do the pen and dig up the lovely fertile soil and scraps for a new vege garden.
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