Category Archives: cattle panel chicken shelter

They’re chickens, not ducks!

So the chickens are drinking so much in this hot weather that we drug the hose right out there. Every few days we drag it back and fill the other animal’s big tanks. Tonight I went out and watered the chickens… then I came back up and we worked on the fence for about 3 hours. We finished it and weaned the lambs by putting them out on pasture and leaving the ewes in the garage. I’m hoping their milk will dry up this week – they won’t get any grain and will have only old hay this week. The babies are crying but the moms don’t seem to mind much right now.

Once the hard work was all done Brian went up to grab a pail of water for the lambs. Guess what? I had left the hose water on. For. 3. hours. Brian suggested I go check and see if they needed a life raft. They didn’t, since there shelter was there raft surrounded by 2 inches of water on all sides. I knew I put a floor in that thing for a reason!! Too bad the flooding wasn’t Mother Nature’s fault instead of mine. What a waste. The good part is that the water will absorb overnight and the chickens were enjoying running through it.

A lot of money could be made if someone would invent a buzzer that sounds after the hydrant is on for a certain amount of time. When I used to keep my horses at my Dad’s he finally made me hang my truck keys on the hydrant when I turned it on so that I couldn’t leave without checking it. Anyone have a similar idea for watering at home? Anyone else make this mistake or forget something else and cause waste in the process? C’mon – make me feel better, please!


Poultry Update – Cattle Panel Shelter – Pics

Well, the eggmobile sits empty. Part of the reason we finished it when we did was because the rooster was getting so mean I could hardly get the eggs anymore. Once the birds were out on pasture I could easily gather them at least once a day. Sadly, the hens must have learned to eat their eggs during that week when I wasn’t collecting them very often. I first culled the rooster and one hen that I suspected as being the culprit. Unfortunately, the eating continued and we were forced to cull the remaining 5 hens. I am very glad that this happened with such a small flock and not the large one that I hope to have in the future. Lesson learned here: no matter what – get those eggs!!

So, now we have around 121 chickens and no eggs! I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to buy a few layers to get us by or just get our eggs from a friend for now. If I bring in new layers now I’ll have to mix them with the heritage breed flock when they start laying. If I don’t get any now then I’ll have to stop trying to build a future client base by handing out free eggs.

The heritage birds moved from our basement to a small brooder in the garage to the old laying flocks quarters in the garage. The colored rangers went directly from the basement to the laying flock quarters then to the cattle panel shelter just in time for the heritage birds to follow. We could have turned one of the two brooding lights off by now except two of the colored rangers have developed pretty nasty sores on their tails so I have them in the small brooder as sort of a hospital pen. The one with the worst sore died this morning, I’m hoping the other pulls through.

The heritage breed chicks are doing great. We had a power outage last week so I brought them in the house to keep warm. Despite my efforts they all piled up and one of the Buff Chanteclers was dead in the morning. The remaining birds are thriving in their new, spacious quarters. You can read more about the breeds I selected and why in my post about that.

I took out some dry straw for the colored rangers in the cattle panel shelter. They’ve been out there about a week but I only let them out of the shelter and in to the fence this weekend. The electric net has to be working well in order to contain them. Otherwise they can put their head through and push right out.

See the one sprawled out there in the middle? They sure are good at making me think something is wrong. He was just relaxing, of course.

This morning’s rain showers tore part of the roof off. I secured it with more baling twine. Pretty fancy! 🙂

Happily lounging on the fresh, dry straw after I repaired the roof.

I need to have a better feeding and watering system in place for next time. This big feeder from the eggmobile is the only way I can keep food in front of these buggers.

Some prefer to scratch around and explore.

Napping peacefully.

He’s trouble, can’t you tell!

Here you can see the different colors. Most are dark red but there are some light, almost buff, and some with this neat pattern.

The turkeys are right at home in this small chicken tractor. We found two of these on craigslist and paid $15 total for them.

Aren’t they cute!? They really are the sweetest birds I’ve had.

How are your birds doing? Have you ever tried pasture raised chicken? I am so excited to taste it, although I am really worried about preparing it and working with whole chicken since that will be new to me.

Cattle Panel Chicken Shelter: Part 1

This have been a bit crazy around here lately and I plan to update y’all soon. In the meantime I want to share how we’re building another great (hopefully) chicken shelter.

I used treated 2″x4″ lumber for the base. The two side boards are 10′ long and the three in the middle are 12′ long. Place the 10′ boards on the outside on the 12′ boards as shown.

You’ll need 3 sheets of 4’x8′ treated plywood to make the floor. There are plenty of good designs out there for shelters without floors. I have too much money and time invested in our broilers to risk losing them to predators or flooding, thus I want a floor.
With the 2″x4″s set up the way I have them the plywood will not fit perfectly. I did this on purpose to provide as much floor space as possible. Position the plywood in from the edges the width of the 2″x4″. There may still be a small gap but the sides angle in enough that I don’t think it will cause any problems. Or, if you’d prefer, you can frame it to fit exactly.

Here you can see the cattle panels on and the three braces. Put the panels on first. You’ll need 2 standard cattle panels 16′ long and you’ll need to overlap them a few inches. You may want the front panel to stick out a few inches in front of the floor to provide an overhang. Hammer in fence staples to hold it on the 2″x4″. Have someone help you pull up the other side or use a rope to hold the curve, then secure the other side. Repeat with the second panel. It helps to wire the two panels together in a couple places before securing both ends.
We added the braces later after measuring exactly how tall the panel was in the place we wanted. The two braces in front will provide a door way so make the gap as wide as you need. We screwed the two braces in from the side so they sit on top of the floor. The back single brace is attached to the back of the 2″x4″ for extra support.

Next, attach chicken wire around the sides and the back. I used some that I had, about 2′ tall I think. You can see the fence staples holding the cattle panel in place, along with the regular staples holding the chicken wire to the lumber.

Here you can see how I held up the top of the wire. Simply use more wire to pull it taught against the panel. I’ll have to get a better picture showing the wire from far away. As I said, I’m only putting a short piece around the 3 sides. The tarp covering should contain the birds from there.

Stay tuned for the next steps, especially if you can’t quite picture the final result. This project is more of an experiment than the eggmobile but I’ll share how it works for us and any changes we make. I did get a lot more accomplished on it today so expect an update soon.