One of the areas that is a basic requiement for animal rearing is that of adequate housing. Obviously every critter has a different need as far as housing is concerned. Starting with the chickens, we decided that we would build a coop that would support an appropriate number of chickens in an environment that would be suited to both Canadian winters and summers alike. Research was done and ideas gathered from the internet and books and ideas floated in regard to size, dimensions, materials and location.
We decided to raise the coop from the ground to allow air to circulate and keep dry the base and interior. We also decided that the coop should support windows to allow for ample air circulation in the summer plus allow natural light for the extent of the day.
We decided to insulate the entire building starting with the floor, walls and then ceiling. In retrospect we could well have reduced this somewhat but in the end we do have a draft free environment.
As we continued we decided to install power so that we could run lighting, heat lamps, fans or indeed other appliances that we thought we may need so we dug a trench and laid conduit for the power cable. This enabled us to install timers for the lights so that we could maximize light and see what we are doing in the darkness of winter. We have not regrets with this decision and use the powered coop as a point to power other local huts as well.
All things said and done we are very pleased with the results but would have changed a couple of things perhaps had we had known at the time of the design. One thing we would change is the positioning of the side pop door. This is on the wrong side of the coop and manages to collect all the snow, rain, wind and debris that is flung the way of the coop.
Once we had finished the hen coop we started on the pig hut and knew that we had different requirements to satisfy both the needs of the pigs and our own. Firstly we knew that the hut had to be sturdy with easy access and basic requirements (no power). We decided that the hut would follow a basic concept that would provide shelter from the elements and, if needed, protection from critters.
using sturdier materials we constructed a very simple hut that has stood well against the elements. The only aspect we would do differently is the roof covering. Don't rely on cheap materials .. it will leak!
From the pig hut other huts follwed in rapid speed. meat chickens, geese and then duck huts, sheep and then turkey huts.
Each one is a different design and build but all have a rustic appearance that we feel reflects the surroundings. With a couple of exceptions we are pleased with the builds and the critters seem to flourish well. Even though we have tried to keep costs to a minimum the total price can easliy run up there so as the farm project grows, so does the cost for housing!
This year we have decided to take on our largest build project to date. We are replacing our current sheep hut with a 12X16X8 barn like build that will supply shelter and protection for our sheep and goats while allowing us to go pay them a visit, feed them a snack or just check and see how their day went. (pics to follow)