We’ve had a lot of storms over the past week or so. The lightning & thunder were scary. I thought, “I’m so glad our chickens don’t live outside.”
What?! Your chickens live inside? You have house chickens?
No. They are not house chickens. We do need one in the house to catch the occasional cricket though. Bitty Dog doesn’t like crickets. However, my husband is right: dust, feathers, and poop would be everywhere. I would think everything was fine until the first cecal poop arrived. With my luck, it would be on me instead of the floor.
Dirty Birdie used to get me that way. If I refilled their waterers before running errands, she would fly up to my shoulder and poop. Always cecal poop. Gross! The waterers are now refilled as far in advance as possible. I miss my Bok-Bok, cecal poop and all.
Back to indoor housing for our 10 lucky hens.
Our property was remapped by FEMA and is now in a flood zone. My husband and I are both certified floodplain managers. This was not supposed to happen to us! I mapped everything out by hand when the map changed and found our house is out of the flood zone, but the coop and the workshop are in. FEMA doesn’t care about my calculations though. Neither does the rain. We’re stuck with the coop in the mud, water in the workshop, a dry house, and flood insurance. It could be much, much worse. We are fortunate. A dry house is what matters most.
Our first fall with chickens, we learned when it rains in October the coop’s dirt floor doesn’t dry out until summer (the attached run is still okay). That is why the chickens had to move into a temporary sleeping coop inside the 16’x24′ workshop. Their brooder was in the shop, so it must have it felt like home. It was also unusually cold in Texas that winter, so it was nice not to worry about drafts. Then summer came and they had to go back to living in the coop.
I was pleased when it rained that fall and they had to move to winter quarters again. It’s much more comfortable to sit in the shop than it is in the coop!
Our four new girls arrived that January. Oh no! The coop can’t sleep more than 8 comfortably. It was time for a new roost with enough room for our flock, plus any additional hens in need of a forever home in the future. If we changed the roost, we might as well renovate the entire coop. The roof leaked where the new roost would go. If the roof was replaced, we might as well replace the siding and some of the wood. The cost was increasing by the second.
Finally, my husband said he would remove all the junk accumulating in the shop and build an 8’x13′ coop in there. It was much less expensive and I think it is as predator-proof as a coop can be. They have hardware cloth on the windows, cushioned mats over the concrete floor, electricity, window blinds, and curtains.
They are out in our backyard during the day when I’m home and in the old coop & run if I’m out running errands. If the weather is bad, they just stay in the shop.
When it rains more than 8″ in a day, water flows under the doors to the shop. If it continues to rain, the water flows under the mats. The mats float and the chickens are relatively light; they don’t get wet if they jump off the roost. The bedding absorbs what pushes through when they land.
They are safer inside during storms; not inside our house, but inside their house. We are so thankful we are able to do this for them.