I've just asked my husband [joiner/builder]and he says not MDF. He also says that OSB is cheaper than MDF anyway, but it needs to be waterproof.
If you're good at felting, he says that you could always use shuttering plywood.
Good luck, I keep saying I want chickens.
Never heard anywhere that you need permission to keep chickens though...I thought they were classed as a pet. It's only if you have cockerals making a lot of noise that you can be in trouble...or so I thought.
Well done FA, I admire your go-for-it attitude, it's only 5 minutes since we were discussing them!
Lots of properties have covenants about not keeping livestock, also need to check local bye-laws.Can't imagine anyone's going to take the point if you get on with your neighbours and you haven't got a noisy cockerel though.
The other thing is how to avoid any rat/mice problems which I have heard about??
Yeah rats are a huge problem too .. namely for the food spillage caused by the chickens. There are a couple of tips I can share to 'reduce' this problem though.
If you are wanting eggs then your chickens need to be fed layers pellets and grit and these need to be in ample supply for the hens to get to anytime they want. They do have a tendancy to stand in troughs and kick the food about ... bearing in mind they scratch the ground for food, they do this in their feeding trough too lol. It is therefore a good idea to suspend a feeder from the ceiling a few inches above ground, the hens can reach to peck but not stand in the food so less goes on the ground, less to attract Roland Long Tail, and less ruin too as no dirt gets in the feeder. Only replenish feeder when the last bit has been consumed, to ensure no rotting etc.
If you want to feed treats ... they like sweetcorn niblets and peas, maggots are a fave, fresh pasta and fresh greens ... these or any mixed corn feed you choose to give should be fed in the afternoon and only enough that they will actually consume. Any waste left on the ground calls once again to Roland. The afternoon specifically as the laying generally takes place during the night or early morning and at this point they need the vitamins provided by the layers pellets, if they've a supply of alternate foods they'll go for that and tbh it's not conducive to good eggs. They'll scratch for grit and the pellets have ash in them amongst other stuff but I mix grit 1/4 grit to 3/4 pellets. IMPORTANT - if they eat corn that has been left rotting on the ground it can be fatal as it produces toxins.
On the subject of food ... any unused eggshells can be crushed and fed back to them to aid new shell production.
For your new POL's be prepared for a few shell-less eggs. Not a pretty sight but common in young birds until their system adjusts correctly (don't know the 'technical' term for it lol).
Hope this helps.
BTW I've 2 cockerels ... I shut them up tight in a converted stable and they aren't allowed out until 7.30am otherwise my neighbours wouldn't be too pleased lol.
Point of interest, they scratch quite a lot so be prepared for the grass in the run to go in no time if they aren't let out to roam :0) ... they like dust baths aswell so you'll soon notice nice craters appearing which they lay and flap about in haha. They're funny when you're digging, would happily put their head under a shovel to get to a grub doh!
I think the law about not keeping chickens in the garden is one of those where as long as no one complains about it (why would they?) then it won't be a problem. Ive talked to my neighbours about it they loved the idea. They asked me what I was building, I said "It's for the Misses whilst the World Cup is on" (I had that joke ready from the start!) I won't be keeping a cockerel, just hens. So even if the deeds did say that I couldnt keep chickens I still would without a second thought.
Thanks for the info on OSB Eggbut The main reason I was thinking MDF is that its lighter and easier to handel on my own. My local B&Q only has OSB in thick sheets or the thinner sheets that are MASSIVE. They do a cutting service there so maybe they can cut the thinner sheet down for me? Those big sheets wouldnt even fit in a transit van. Oh and I'm deffinately no builder, anyone seen that episode of Men Behaving Badly where Tony builds a sauner? Well thats me
Thanks Ickl, some great info Ive been doing alot of research on the different feeds and extras, still not 100% clear on it. So the staple diet is layers pellets? then I can just give them a treat as and when I feel like it? Ive got a feeder with a handle so it can be hung from the roof. Do you leave the feeder inside the coop or in the run? Because if it's out in the run will I have to cover part of the run so the food doesnt get wet? Oh theres not much grass where the run is anyway so that doesnt matter
There's a thing on the deeds of our house that says we can't keep chickens but it also says that we can't have a caravan in our driveway and everyone ignores that. People are probably more likely to complain about chickens but if anyone else is breaking the rules then you've got some ammo. Or just bribe your neighbours with free eggs
I would love to keep chickens but I don't have any space in my garden. At least not any space that I'm willing to give up I buy my eggs from a local farmer, they are cheaper than Tesco and I can see the chickens frolicking in their big pens so I know they are happy.
Your chicken run looks awesome mate, I bet mini-FA is going to love them
I think alot of these laws (and correct me if im wrong) are set when the houses are built to make them easier to sell and keep the 'look' of the estate. Like the carvan rule, people might be put of buying a house from a developer if they think there will be caravans all over the place, likewise if they think the whole estate will be crawling with livestock. But as time goes by the rules are gradually ignored and no one cares (except your odd neighbourhood busybody who has nothing better to do than complain). But I can understand the neighbours getting a bit funny if the place is infested with rats or a noisey cockerel is keeping them awake. The way I see it is if everyone is allowed to keep savage smelly barking dogs that are just waiting to maul a child at the first oppertunity then I can keep a couple of friendly chickens at the end of my garden.
I'll be like the Milkybar kid only with eggs
Thanks Fishy, oh yes mini FA will love them! He goes mad for anything animal
Looks a lot like what I built for the rabbits Converted the old playhouse. Now the rabbits are gone the wife wants it extended for chickens next year.
A few things I learned - MDF is no good outside, but exterior ply (sometimes called marine ply) is great.
To stop the foxes fix strong mesh to the base of the coop and extend it 12" into the grass as a border all the way round. Peg it down to keep it in place until the grass roots through it. When the fox digs it digs at the base of the wall it wants to go under - it can't dig through the mesh so as long as the mesh is firmly fixed to the coop you're safe.
Yep the staple diet if you want eggs is layers pellets. Think about it in terms of any animal, give them something yakky and something scrummy they eat the scrummy even if yakky is better for them. Same applies. The pellets contain a mixture of essential vitamins and minerals to aid the egg production. It's quite stressful on their little bodies as is the moulting period, the right balance of goodness helps them get through it with minimal stress.
In order to give the chucks the right access I leave mine in the stable all the time. That way they can get to it whilst the doors are shut, or when they are indoors escaping the cold and rain. Incidentally, I've read they don't like rain and it certainly disrupts egg production if they're caught in a shower (it stresses them) but some of mine roam the land looking for worms and grubs when it's raining ... go figure! They get fed but I dont get an egg lol.
Another stressor to affect egg production is disruption at bedtime ... restrict feeding cleaning or any upset to afternoon/teatime if you can. As with everything, it'll bother some more than others, but it's a good rule of thumb to work with.
I have my chucks free roaming, they don't go far and always go back to their stable at dusk. I simply go out and shut the door :0)
Treats are just that, something to keep them happy and vary their diet. It's at your own disgression but a fat chuck will struggle with egg production.