We aim to try to learn from our mistakes. So in that spirit, I present you a few little tweaks that we’re making to our pastured poultry pens and chicken waterers that we’re making this year.
After a few of our pens went blowin’ in the wind last year, it looked like a little reinforcement of some key parts were in order for this year. The initial design goal was 2+ years of minimal maintenance, and after last year we had 66% of our pens in need of significant repairs.
The worst repairs are those to the wooden frame. Everything else attaches to the frame, so if the frame gets fragged, everything else has to come off to fix it. Last years frames had some issues, mainly a tendency to “toe-out” the big runner boards.
That’s being addressed this year with a few more/bigger fasteners, and the addition of an “L” bracket low in each corner.
The rest of the pens went together pretty much the same as last year, with the exception of the funky recycled-campaign-sign “skins.” Seeing as how this is not an election year (at least not a big one) the recycled campaign signs were in short supply. We made due with a few “heavy-duty” silver tarps. Here’s hoping that they’re heavy enough to last until next year. We’ve got a big election season lined up, so there ought to be plenty of nice campaign signs to use next year.
We had just enough leftover signs to finish out the sides. The chickens don’t seem to care one way or the other…
The last change we’ve made is to the pasture chicken waterers. The nylon fittings we were using to attach hoses to the buckets were prone to cracking after the first year. We’ve moved to using bottling bucket spigots in place of the nylon fittings. These spigots are a few bucks more, but they have gaskets on both sides of the bucket so they’re much less likely to crack the thin plastic of the bucket.
Great looking design. Do you have any predator issues with this design (raccoon, dog, fox, coyote, etc)?
I had a few chickens get chewed on by a skunk at the beginning of the year. The skunk would reach through the chicken wire or under the 2×4’s on each end and grab what it could while the chickens were sleeping. We now put one live-trap by each pen and haven’t had any issues.
Love this design. One thing we do for our hoop houses is take PVC pipe and cut it length ways and then screw that onto the bottom of the 2x6s. This makes them much easier to slide on the ground. Email me if you’d like to see photos.