A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

The Rabbit & Chicken House

We currently have about twenty chickens including two roosters and two broody hens that cannot be deterred from setting. Since for the past several years we’ve had the unique circumstance of urban acreage, there have been no predators aside from the occasional raptor from which to protect them. They simply roam free and roost in the rafters of the barn.

The new property will expose them to numerous hungry hunters, so at least at night, they’ll need to be cooped. With numerous outbuildings in various states of disrepair, I intended to fix one up to house the chickens and rabbits in the style of Joel Salatin’s “Racken House.” My favorite building seemed well suited, if a bit large, so we set to work cleaning it out.

After a few hours and a dump run, we had the place ready to litter and roosts. There was only one problem: everyone liked the place too much to give it to the chickens. It’s an early twentieth century cabin with true two-by-four construction and attractive siding on all but the front. (We will salvage the siding from a fallen building on the property to reside the front.)

So I changed course and located a concrete-floored shed at the back of what we call the Workshop. It needs to have a window installed, but it is otherwise perfect. We’ll mount the rabbit cages on the wall and the chickens will run below, eating their dropped food and aerating the litter to prevent ammonia build-up. For litter we raked dried grass from the field around the garden into piles, which we used also for mulch.

We removed the heavy door and replaced it with wire gate and a small chicken entry at the bottom, which with any luck, will keep the goats at bay. Add a few roosts and a window, and I think we’ll have a perfect little bunny-bird abode.

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5 Comments

  1. April 14, 2015    

    Thank you! Coming along.

  2. April 14, 2015    

    I have to keep my chickens on concrete over winter each year, and I dread it every year. It’s terribly annoying to keep clean. Predator proof, but a hassle all the same. It ends up costing me much more for bedding, since it needs to be replaced more often than on dirt.
    Other than the concrete floor, I’m very envious of your setup!

    • April 14, 2015    

      Thank you Roberta! We are attempting to utilize the deep-litter method to produce good compost at the end of a season. Of course, we would normally put in the fresh litter in the fall and let it be turned and broken down over winter. Since ours will be out during the day year-round, I hope the floor won’t fare too poorly, but we’ll see! This will all be a learning experience, that’s for sure. Thank you for sharing your experience!

      • April 15, 2015    

        Best of luck! I look forward to hearing how it all turns out! I could definitely use some tips on utilizing the concrete deep litter method.

      • April 15, 2015    

        Excellent– I will be sharing! Thanks!

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  1. One Month On The Homestead | Little Fall Creek on June 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Welcome!

I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

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