Sustainable Living Center Oregon
Picture chickens roaming freely throughout your acreage.
Picture them eating tasty insects and filling their nests with eggs containing bright orange yolks.
It’s a pretty picture, but is it realistic? Maybe?
The Problem? Your chickens are at risk from predators. If you have neighborhood dogs or trouble with wild predators such as foxes, raccoons or bird of prey, your chickens will be much more at risk free ranging than if they are in a yard or covered run.
Research backs up the importance of good nutrition in chickens. A report from the Oxford Journal notes that increasing a chicken’s intake of beta carotene increases the amount of beta carotene that is in its eggs. The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry claims that increasing DHA levels in a chicken’s diet affected the omega-3 fatty acids found in its eggs.
Give orange-yolked eggs a try. We guarantee that you won’t want to go back once you taste the difference.
Our protection solution – The Chicken Sanctuary
The Chicken Sanctuary consist of a Dome, Cube. and Triangle. We have 75 chickens and have not lost a chicken in the two years since we built them. We have built 10 of them. Each hold 6 – 8 chickens. We keep different breeds of in different Sanctuaries.
It is the chicken’s day time play pen. It is 10 feet wide and 5 feet high. The dome is light and can be lifted comfortably by one person. It is made from twenty (22) ½ electric PVC pipes and covered with 1” chicken wire on the bottom. That will stops dogs. Deer netting on the top to stop birds of prey. The pasture available within the Dome is 71 sq ft.
The Dome is composed of long, curving struts which crisscross and are anchored to the base. This means all the joins are around the circular base at equidistant points, which again distributes the stress and makes for a very strong yet flexible structure.
That is enough space for the chickens to find what they required to produce orange yolk eggs.
It is made of a 4’ X 4’ X 4’ plastic cube. It houses: the roll-a-away nest boxes, roost area, no waste feeder, and automatic waterier. Is made from a 275 gallon IBC container.
The plastic bottom floor is replaced with a welded wire floor. This is In order that the chickens waste will fall on the ground instead the cube. It can have either a 110 v or solar automatic door opener/closer. The red and green lights on the front, tell if the door is open or closed.
It is made of 1/2 ” PVC pipe covered with chicken wire. It has three purposes:
Since the Cube is small, it gives the chicken a place to go outside and be protected from the Sun and Rain. It also provides more pasture for the chickens to free range.
Since the Triangle is covered with weather proof material, it makes a roof. The rainwater runs off the roof and is collected into our special built chicken waterier. Therefore, if it is rainy weather we do not have to water the chickens.
In the center of the triangle there is a chicken wire barrier to separate the flock from any new chickens that we are introducing.
There is a pecking order among all chicken flocks. This pecking order is the reason that it is difficult to integrate chickens. Once the older chickens have a pecking order firmly established, it’s hard for them to change that again, and they feel that they must protect their spot, and push the younger birds to the bottom, when new ones are added.
The barrier in the triangle allow them to see each other, but not reach each other, for several weeks. Once you release them together, they may be so used to each other they might not even pick at all.
Have two of everything. This makes a tremendous difference! Two water’s, two feeders, older hens will often chase younger ones from the food,
Keep the bullies in a cage area, so that they can see the new ones, and the new ones can see them. This will give the bullies a chance to get used to the new ones, and they will also be so relieved to be out they might not care who’s in their Dome.
The Chicken Sanctuary is moved to new pasture location or different part of our yard every few days, which saves chicken feed. Since it is moves, we never have to clean the chicken coop.
The Cube is just the foundation and can be designed to look like a barn or anything else…….
After the Dome is moved and the Cube is inserted into the Dome to make what we call our Chicken Sanctuary.
Chicken Tractor is any structure that can be moved from place to place with a bunch of chickens housed in it.
The chickens living in the Chicken Sanctuary© do what chickens are so good at: scratching up the soil and turning it over, making short work of anything to be found, and spreading their manure the in the space available to them, not to mention producing eggs and more chickens. If you mulch with wood chips each new area heavily it is a great way to start a chicken garden.
The problem with a normal a Chicken Tractor, even is it a two story model that it is large enough to house the chickens on the top floor, it has to be moved daily because the lower level is not enough grass area for hungry chickens. One must set aside four square feet of floor space per hen, minimum. Less than that and hens will have behavioral issues, such as feather picking and bullying. Even if you have a small backyard, it’s not a great idea to keep just one hen. Chickens are flock animals and need to be with others of their kind. Start with a minimum of three chickens
Chicken manure is 75 percent liquid, which evaporates and dampens the air in the coop. As the manure decomposes, it gives off ammonia fumes, but not in the Cube.
Roosting is a wood bar placed at the highest place in the Cube. Since chickens like to cozy up next to each other, at bedtime your chickens will jostle for a favorite spot next to their buddies. Plan on a minimum of six linear inches per hen. The roost should be at least eighteen inches off of the floor. Chickens poop a lot, when they sleep.
Ventilation is 6 in hole in the top of the Cube, with ten (10) one (1) inch holes in the bottom of in the side of the Cube.
Sunlight is necessary for egg laying and to stave off disease. Chickens can’t see in the dark. If your coop is dark your hens will stay put on their roosts, even if the sun is shining outside. They won’t eat enough to be able to make eggs. And if your hens are in the dark, they won’t lay them either. Sunlight is also a natural disinfectant. Our Cube let that sun shine light in.
Eggs laying nest is a 6-gallon buckets mounted in the Cube. Hens lay eggs inside of the Cube in nesting buckets. These should be lower than the roosts, so that the hens won’t sleep in them and about 16-inches square. They are designed to roll the eggs away from the chicken to keep it clean. One nest bucket is plenty for a flock of up to a eight (8) hens.
A 15 Gal No Waste Chicken Feeder is attached to the outside of the Cube. It hold up to 100 lbs of chicken feed.
How is the Dome made?
The base is made from connecting 3 pieces of 10-foot sections of pipe with six (6) ¾ pvc tees slipped on each 10-foot section. Plus:
Five (5) long pieces of ½ pipe @ 15 ft.
Five (5) short pieces of ½ pipe @ 10.5 ft.
The end of all the pipes are placed into the base ¾ tees. Tees are used and can be moved around the base circle as we need to move them to make the door opening, to make the cube opening and to attach the deer netting. Once of the long and short are place where they cross, they are connected with UV resistant cable ties.
Once cable ties are in place, put a screw into base ¾ tee and ½ pvc pipe to secure them so the Dome now can be moved by one person.