Chicken Mansion Build
Chickens have never been animals I wanted to own. Having been chased by a rooster when I was only slightly bigger than the rooster didn’t help either. None the less we opted to have our own chickens for fresh eggs. To rationalize this I changed my thinking into “Who doesn’t want to own a dinosaur” and having seen our chickens hunt in high grass for whatever moves nearby they really are dinosaurs. Modern day Raptors. Just look at the educational films by Steven Spielberg. Exactly the same movements.
Stage one was building a chicken compound with a 2m electric fence. Actually the electric part is only a small piece on top to keep our evolved Raptors save from feline predators. A temporary living quarter was purchased. The only good thing about this tiny "house" was that is was as cheap as it was cheaply built. It was definitely not good enough for cold winters or long term.
After considering the pros and cons of different approaches - whether to buy or build, use pre-built parts, a trailer, wood, brick, stone or metal, etc. - we settled on building a wooden house ourself.
Floor, wall and ceiling are based on a standard solid wood framework with OSB boards inside, wood fiber as insulation and DWD boards outside. The veneer is solid larch and in an appropriate distance to the walls so the space in between wall and veneer is sufficiently ventilated. In theory this whole structure should support the transfer of vapor from inside the house to the outside and help regulate the inside climate.
The roof has a 10 degree angle protected by multiple layers of bitumen sheeting. The whole house rests on wood beams which in turn rest on concrete pillars. A very fine stainless steel mesh is covering the bottom of the structure and all open spaces agains rodents and insects.
Now to break even they only need to lay about 24.000 eggs. That's all. 🤪
Research, planning and building took a couple of month. I completely underestimated the logistics of this project. The smaller OSB boards weigh about 24kg. The weight is not a problem. However the dimensions of 2.5m by 1.25m make it almost impossible to get in a good position and get a good purchase on the board.
Now I understand why plumbers, electricians, you name it, always show up in pairs. Twice in the construction process I couldn’t find a way to move something on my own because the load was simply too much. Without help I would have been unable to move the finished floor in place and the second time to lift the partially finished ceiling on top of the structure.
If you are not under pressure to finish building by yourself is great though. It takes a lot more time but it's like meditating with brief interruptions of cursing and swearing when you've miscalculated and made a wrong cut.
As the saying goes "Expect the unexpected". A detailed plan is a necessity but will still change during the building process. For example a particular kind of board was not available so I needed to use a substitute with slightly different measurements which meant recalculating almost all dimensions.
Another problem were angle irons. I ordered ones with eight 9mm holes exactly fitting the screws from a different supplier. But when I began assembling there were only two 9mm holes per angle iron. The others didn't fit my screws. Since I wanted to go on building I didn't argue with the supplier and instead bought more new screws.
Of course there were many more unplanned interruptions that needed an immediate fix or stop construction. I guess these problems are one reason why there is a certain kind of chaos on construction sites where the plan doesn't meet the real live for whatever reason.
Still all turned out very well. The day before Christmas 2019 our chickens moved into their new home. My best guess is that they like it. The immediatle began working off their dept in eggs.
A lot of Images
Obviously our dogs were of great help in every step. Here Minnie is pointing out the excact spot where to cut.
It's winter time. Interruptions due to unfavorable weather conditions were expected but not welcomed.
That's almost the the same satisfied look I had when everything was finished and I put down the hammer.
The next step will be to equip the mansion with solar panels, a Raspberry Pi and other gadgets. Fun no doubt.