October Coop Tour With Julie

by Meghan H

Published October 18, 2019

Join Amanda from Meyer Hatchery as Julie provides a coop tour! Julie is located in Wadsworth, Ohio with a shed converted into the Chick Hilton, also known as the “Chilton” of chicken coops.

Julie stumbled into the life of owning chickens when her son’s daycare hatched eggs. With no one else to take the hatchlings, Julie volunteered and hasn’t looked back since! Now with 32 chickens, Julie has converted a shed into a chicken haven with some unique DIY features.

Predator Protection

Living along the woodlands, predator control is a top priority, their enclosure is secured with hardware cloth providing durable protection. Julie has worked to make the coop as self-sufficient as possible for weekend getaways, ensuring her chickens are still well cared for. Feeders are constructed of PVC, holding up to 7 pounds of feed each and their waterer is constructed from an old cooler, providing insulation from cold winter months. It’s connected to a PVC pipe that runs through each coop with watering nipples attached. A camera is fixed at the entrance so she can check in on the chickens for peace of mind. 

The shed floor is lined with a piece of remnant laminate flooring for easy cleanup, and the nesting boxes are fashioned from old cat litter and laundry detergent boxes. Other features of her coop include installed windows, lined with hardware wire for ventilation and lighting set on timers to keep production rates steady in the winter. Nest pads are fashioned from inexpensive door mats cut to size. Throughout Julie’s Coop Tour, you’ll see her “use what you have” ingenuity knows no bounds!

Her outside run includes a top fill waterer, as well as watering cups attached to a hanging bucket. She prefers the nipple waterers for flexibility, and when asked how she was able to get her chickens to adapt, she simply says “Start them young!”. Julie added a nipple attachment to the top of a quart chick waterer, securing it with silicone caulk, so she can use it as a regular waterer when brooding chicks but can flip it upside down, suspending it in the brooder to train them to use the nipple. 

Before heading out of the coop, they spot a fresh pullet egg, and discuss how hard it can be to tell what chicken is laying what egg. The Meyer Hatchery team recommended temporarily isolating the chickens one at a time to determine the color. A separate space in the coop or even a dog crate will work well!

As they move to the outside run, they discuss security including double doors and ensuring your chickens are locked up at night. An outside covered run provides a great weatherproof space for her chickens to roam and soak up the sunlight without being subjected to the elements. Julie keeps a kiddie pool full of sand and diatomaceous earth to encourage dust bathing. They spot one of Julie’s new additions, a beautifully colored Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, and discuss how the blue gene can produce varying colored chicks of blue, black and splash. Amanda also talks about the benefits of having a rooster in your flock to alert to predators and protect the hens. Julie also keeps an owl on the side of her fence to deter hawks. These figures can also help reduce the wild bird population, maintaining your coops biosecurity. Lastly, they spot a homemade jungle gym for the birds as a great boredom buster

A Separate Space for Younger Chicks

Julie takes Amanda to show her the original coop and how she keeps flocks separated before integration. The second coop is also a shed, with space for the chickens cleverly built underneath a workbench. It provides protection to the flock and is also a great space saver! The outside run is an old dog kennel, which Julie had to cleverly reinforce from predators using old yard signs and plastic to allow light.

While Julie has received most of her flock as a result of her son’s daycare hatching program, she did commend the Meyer Hatchery shipping minimum. For backyard flock owners, it can be hard to make an addition to your flock if there’s a limit to your coop set-up or city ordinances. Meyer Hatchery ships as little as 3 chicks April – November, and 8 chicks in the winter months of December – March.

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