The last fortnight I've been designing and building a chook shed and yard. The shed for three hens is to be contained in a birdmesh cube roughly 2.7 metres square and 1.9 metres high. This is complete except for the top of the cube, as seen in this picture:
(click to enlarge)
I had a deadline to finish this last weekend and pickup the hens from Cranbourne. The shed was ready. The three Isa Brown hens settled in well. This cube will be fully proofed on top and the bottom edges against birds and cats and foxes if they come. The top of the nestbox is hinged to retrieve eggs. The whole caboodle is made from recycled fencing except for the posts which are new.
The tall gate is made in two halves so that only the top need be opened to throw in green feed or scraps. The nest box was an instant success. We got two eggs yesterday, the first full day in the yard, and they found the nestbox without any prompting. The hens are supposedly POL pullets aged 24 weeks, but I suspect two are a bit older, which is fine with them laying straight away.
Here a hen exits the shed after laying an egg. The whole front wall panel from whence she emerges is removable for easy cleaning and collection of manure. The small gate closest to camera will allow access to the rest of the yard when it is complete.
Two of the hens looking for water in the temporary container which they have filled with leaf mulch. They seem very content and very busy scratching in the mulch for bugs.