We’ve previously discussed the benefits of chicken fertilizer and its high yielding quantities of Nitrogen. We’ve also discussed the Nitrogen requirements of hop plants and how much Nitrogen hops’ extract from the soil by area foot (please see previous post below). Today we break down the chicken coop project into a step by step guide to how I’m managing my chickens, the hop hot poo, and its benefit to brewing beer. This will probably be the last post on the topic of chickens since their only connection to brewing beer “from scratch”… pun intended…. is organic fertilizer. Here’s a pic of my completed coop project. Step by step to follow below…
Proper housing is the key to happy, healthy birds, but building a chicken coop to the proper specifications was not as simple as it might seem. An adequate chicken coop design must:
- Be predator-proof, not just from the sides, but from above and below as well.
- Be secure from nasty rodents, field rats, which will be attracted to the feed and droppings. Rodents are burrowing creatures, so you need to block them from slipping into the coop from below.
- Be breezy enough to prevent respiratory diseases, to which chickens are especially prone, but not so drafty during winter that they freeze their tushes off.
- Be easy to clean so bugs and bacteria don’t fester.
- Provide “roosting poles” for chickens to roost on (2″ wide)
- Encourage egg-laying with a nest box for every four chickens. Nest boxes should be raised off the ground at least a few inches, but lower than the lowest roosting pole. They should also be dark and “out of the way” to cater to the hen’s instinct to lay her eggs in a safe, place.
- Be roomy: at least 4 square feet per bird if birds are able to roam freely during the day, and at least 10 square feet per bird if they are permanently confined.
- Accommodate a feeder and waterer, which should hang 6-8″ off the ground.
- Include a removable “droppings tray” under roosting poles for capture and easy disposal of droppings. (Or should I say for easy access to your Hop fertilizer?)
- Similar to the coop, the sides of the attached chicken run, if you have one, should be buried 6″ into the soil to keep predators and rodents from digging their way in. Once again, we recommend chicken wire fencing or half-inch hardware cloth. It’s also our strong recommendation that you secure the top of the run with aviary netting or deer netting. This will keep wild birds (which can carry communicable diseases) out and provide further defense against sly predators
In followings the basic guidelines listed above I planned on housing 6 chickens, each require 4 square feet of coop space, resulting in a 5’x5’ coop.
Since the coop had 5’ walls I went ahead and separated the nesting boxes each foot, resulting in 5 nesting boxes for 6 chickens. This exceeds the requirements of 1 box for every 4 chickens. It might come back and bite me in the ass…I’m unsure if it will affect laying… I don’t know much about chickens. Attribute it to the game….
The far side of the coop has an access door large enough to stick your head and arms into for raking and basic maintenance. The yellow wood at the bottom is actually a drawer that slides the floor out for easier collection of the Hot Hop Fertilizer.
This ice chest (old mash tun) is the water distribution system for the chickens. Three chicken nipples are attached to the pvc. To my surprise the chickens learned to use them within 5 minutes of being in their new coop.
My feeding system is nothing more than 3” pvc pipe with 90° bend followed with a 45° counter bend. The bends allow the feed to be located under the coop and away from rainfall. High and Dry.
To date I’ve gotten 7 eggs and way more chicken poo than I could even imagine!!! Hops are going to love me!!!
Happy Gardening, Brewing, and Beer Consuming. I’ll see you soon.