As some of you may know, we pasture our animals in portable, secure structures that grassfed industry types call ‘tractors’. They keep our animals on fresh grass daily, allowing them a clean and natural living environment that supplements their diets with a salad bar (bacon sprinkles being bugs with this analogy) and keeps (the many) predators from turning our critters into an All You Can Eat Buffet. It also stops them from using my children’s swing set as an interactive toilet, depositing their waste on my front doorstep (a time honoured favourite) and destroying my garden. Last year four hens decimated my one hundred freshly planted strawberry plants in one afternoon.
Our first year having layers, we kept them in our small barn and let them out into a static yard, with permanent fencing. Quickly we learned that regular fencing is simply a suggestion to chickens, who even with clipped wings, will just flap harder, and opt to roost ten, twelve feet off the ground. Since they turned their lush grass yard into a dust bowl within a matter of weeks, they also chose to clear the fence, to eat the green grass on the other side.
We then moved to the small portable chicken tractor, designs of which are innumerable via Google, and it housed half a dozen birds easily and happily. Our grass was greener, the chickens were happier, nobody had to open their front door and step into a fresh pile of shit.
We’ve increased our number of laying hens, and required a bigger coop at home. We had a variety of structures to chose from, and converting my garden shed seemed like the best route. I purchased PoultryNet from Premier (whose catalogs have inspired, thrilled and educated me for years now) one roll of 48″ x 164′ netting and a solar energizer.
Craig Colquhoun of Hosbilt went about building me the Hen Hilton. A coop beyond my wildest dreams. Classic yet inspired, and built to last.
Here’s a picture of the chickens out in their yard. We will rotate the position of the netting as the hens mow it down. So far, nobody has realized they could fly over it, and it delivers enough of a wallop to keep them off of it.
The interior of the coop is exceptionally pleasing. Branches were used for the perches and the roosts. Very natural, and enjoyed thoroughly by persons and poultry.
Very proud to have a Hosbilt chicken coop!