This month I finally got the new
chicken yard up and all hens into it. They responded by immediately
doubling their egg production, though the eggs are still small
as are the hens.
I am not sure if that is because they got stunted from chilling
during shipping, or if this strain is just tiny. Having more
space definitely made the hens happier, which lead to more eggs,
which made me happier.
Fence construction on this yard was a little different. You
can see from the picture that there is a mound of rocks along
the bottom of the yard's fence, what you cannot see is that
instead of burying the fence into the ground, this runs out
along the ground for about a foot. This meant that any creature
trying to dig into this yard will have to remove the mound of
rocks, then try to dig under the fence.
Doing so will not be fast or easy. If you look at my July blog
it shows how a coyote ate right through along the bottom
of the chickenwire fence, then deftly removed a rooster.
To counter that kind of attack, my yard now has a second layer
of protection behind the chickenwire, with a layer of 'hog fence'
that will prevent any coyote from reaching in, even if they
can chew or dig through the chickenwire surrounding the yard.
Chickenwire extends up about eight feet from the ground. Over
the top of the yard I attached some heavy duty poultry netting,
sewing it to the chickenwire with twine from hay bales. The
framework is dry-fitted (not glued) 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe.
My last chicken yard was framed with 4x4 wood and when a large
oak branch fell on the yard in a windstorm, the wood splintered
and collapsed. If this yard gets a visit from an oak branch
I think that the PVC pieces may break, but they will be easily
The larger old chicken house has been replaced by two smaller
structures which have roosts inside. The hens definitely prefer
the smaller of the two structures, they crowd into it at night
until you would think no more could fit.
To keep egg production up in the winter, both small shelters
have solar powered lights that burn for about four hours after
dark every evening. Simple, eco friendly and less dangerous
than a 120 volt system.
So my chickens are settled in for the winter, here in California
this kind of open shelter seems the kindest thing that I can
If you live in a cold climate, please check with your local
extension agent for recommendations about what kind of structure
is appropriate for your local weather. This structure, perfect
for my place in the hills outside Los Angeles, would be inadequate
where I used to live in Michigan.
Cheers for a new Chicken Yard!