“I told ya them chickens was organised.” – Mr. Tweedy
Affectionately dubbed the “Palais de Poulet” (Chicken Palace), the henhouse is based on a chicken tractor design modified by Tom, the resident Ranch engineer. Since we didn’t need mobility, however, the henhouse is stationary.
The fenced poultry-yard measures 50’ x 35’. The 8’ x 12’ henhouse is oriented east to west within it. When going out to free-range in the pastures, the girls come and go via gates.
Pine shavings and the deep litter method do a great job of keeping the plywood floor tidy and dry. Fir branches were used for the crossbars of the roost which is affixed 18″ from the east wall to ensure droppings fall on the floor, not the wall.
The peak of the metal shed roof is 5′ from the floor of the henhouse; this pitch allows snow to melt off instead of sliding off in big sections. Screened vents along the upper walls and a large south-facing window provide plenty of healthy ventilation and light.
Being 16” off the ground, the birds have shelter from sun, rain, and winged predators under the henhouse. A clean-out access door is located on the east side. There is a row of four nesting boxes- 12″h x 16″w x 16″w – affixed to the north wall which features a handy access door for egg collection. This entire section also tilts up for cleaning out. There is another bank of four stacked nest boxes on the west side with its own access door. Nest boxes are lined with pine shavings to keep the eggs clean. We also add diatomaceous earth (DE) and various dried herbs to keep the girls free of external parasites.