And behind door number three is a spacious new sunroom as demonstrated by my beautiful assistant, Vanna White. Oh, wait, that’s Holly, my lovely wife! And yes, it is a sunroom – for the chickens! They are quite happy in there as you can see in the photo below.
On the right is our New Hampshire Red rooster. Closer to us are Black Austrilop and Buff Orpington hens. Up high you can see some White Orpington hens. There are also three guineas, Ariconnas and some mixed breed hens from our own eggs.
There are two vertical posts supporting the center of the 666 Welded Wire Mesh which we get from the lumber yard. Stock panels also work, as my brother discovered, for his chickens. Over the mesh is 2 mil sheet plastic. The plastic is wrapped around 2×4’s at the bottom edges and then stapled and tied to hold it tight. For extra protection against wind flapping I have strung some twine over the tops of some of these structures. The winter hoop house itself is up on bales as discussed last fall.
The hoop house is not 100% air tight. This is very important. The chickens have even poked a few small holes in the plastic. That is not a problem though. Some ventilation is good as it keeps down the humidity, condensation and gives the birds nice fresh air to breath. As you can see in the first picture, there is a doorway which we can use to access the interior. We leave this open all the time. At the far end of the winter hoop house itself, is a flap that we can pull up (as it is left most of the time,) or lock down with bungy cords during extreme cold at night.
The bales of hay are for spreading on the floor as the winter progresses. This covers up the hen’s poops and gives them fresh flooring to stand on. In the mean time, they enjoy having the multiple levels afforded by the stacked bales. Think of it as a loft space to get up and out of the fray.
Next to the rooster you can just see one of our home built waterers. It is a three gallon, covered, square bucket with holes near the top rim. The bucket is placed upside down in a larger lid. These work very well and are both tougher and a lot cheaper (<$2) than the store bought versions. The bucket handle makes it easy to carry and three gallons makes for a good weight. We have also made feeders like this. Between the birds, the deep pack bedding and the sun, it stays quite nice inside the hoop house and sun room. The birds enjoy having a little bit of sun space to wander around in on cold days. On warmer days, they come out and scratch in the snow as well. Also see: Winter Hen Coop
24째F/19째F, 1″ Snow, Sunny.