Relocatable Hen House
We have a flock of five Barnevelder hens in our backyard, and two totally enclosed chook runs, one a Summer Palace and the other a Winter Palace.
The runs are enclosed to stop stray cats and dogs from attacking the hens and covered to prevent wild bird droppings and to keep the run dry. You need three hens to form a flock as only one or two hens will become pets with you as the dominant hen.
We put the hens in one run for 6 months and grow vegetables in the other run, and then swap runs. This gives the ground in each run a rest for 6 months, and gives the hens new ground to forage on and fertilise for us naturally.
Instead of having two hen houses we made a relocatable one. We purchased six dog pound wire mesh sections. Each section is 0.8 metre wide and 1.6 metre high. There are four standard mesh wall sections and two mesh door sections.
There is a door section at one end and a door section at the side (with the door removed from the frame) to allow the hens to enter the nesting box and chook run.
We added non-treated pine tongue-and-grooved boards for walls. The roof is just a sheet of corrugated alsynite supported on 4×2 bearers and weighed down with bricks, but you could buy another mesh section for the roof and waterproof it with more boards. There is a gap at the top of the walls for ventilation.
One end wall is a mesh door section that can be swung open to clean out the hen house, and one wall section is a mesh door section (with the door removed) so the hens can enter the nesting box.
The nesting box is not attached to the hen house and the lid is easily hinged up to remove the eggs, etc. We can unbolt the hen house and move it and the nesting box to the other chook run in an hour. While it is unbolted we wash it down to get rid of mites.
We have never had any mites in four years, as we dust the hens, hen house and nesting box regularly. The hen house is very stable in high winds and warm and cosy in winter and cool and breezy in summer, and is big enough for 4-5 hens, but more standard sections can be added to make it bigger.
The hens love it, and so do we.
Dallas and Beth