HAYDOCK CHICKEN HOUSES
When it comes to fowl housing I am of the opinion that to design, build and then ultimately market functional chicken housing worth the name you need to have been a poultry keeper. Being a ’Good Lifer’ in the late seventies I kept chicken and made my own housing. Initially making mistakes, mainly because I arrogantly assumed I knew more about what a chicken needed than the chicken did. The HAYDOCKS are the culmination of forty years of chicken keeping and building and selling poultry housing.
When creating any animal or bird housing I apply three criteria.
Firstly, and most importantly, the house MUST pander the hens needs and their natural instincts. As with all creatures hens are ‘hard-wired’ to certain behavioural traits, which to ignore is foolhardy.
Secondly, the house accessibility and functionality should aid the keeper achieve a high level of husbandry. Awkward, hard to clean housing gets steadily filthier, until in the end, the welfare of the hens becomes an issue.
Lastly, ensuring we do not compromise the birds and keepers needs, we strive to make our work aesthetically pleasing. Achieved by applying a critical eye to scale and proportions, the selection (and rejection), of materials, the routine use of sandpaper and adding those little bits of unnecessary detail, we accomplish the desired effect. Perhaps best summarised by a customer who said “this is housing even our neighbour can be proud of”.
I have more to say on poultry keeping, link here to Fowl Keepers Fantasies. I wrote this article a long time back for our then brochure, it’s a bit dated ( pre internet) and as is my style very much tongue in cheek, but on the basics it still remains relevant.
THE HAYDOCK RANGE
Has two segregated nests and 1.6mt of perching, housing up to six medium size layers or with the optional large fowl modifications one big nest, 1.6mt perching for three large fowl hens with a cockerel.
Has three segregated nests and 2.5mt of perching, housing up to ten medium size layers, or with the optional large fowl modifications, two bigger nests, 2.5 mt of perching for six large fowl hens with a cockerel.
Has four segregated nests and 3.4mt of perching, housing up fifteen medium size layers, or with the optional large fowl modifications, three bigger nests, 2.4mt of perching for eight large fowl hens plus a cockerel.
Has five segregated nests and 4.8mt of perching, housing up twenty medium size layers, or with the optional large fowl modifications, four bigger nests, 4.8mt of perching for twelve large fowl hens with a cockerel.
THE HAYDOCKS FEATURES
When both the nest bank wall and the opposite side wall are removed, it opens the house all through, you could even use the yard broom to sweep from side to side.
LIFT AWAY NESTS:
As said above the nest bank lifts off and has integral night shutters to stop the birds overnighting and pooing in the nesting litter. (poo encrusted eggs maybe a health hazard)
When opened in conjunction with the removable side walls it opens the house so you can clean standing up and not kneeling in the mud.
REMOVABLE PERCH BARS:
Can be taken out for scrubbing and gives access to the perch cups for *dusting against red mite (* G’Rob recommends Diatomaceous Earth
LIFT OUT FLOOR SECTION:
Enables the keeper to tackle the compacted crud that accumulates just inside the threshold as the birds trundle back and forth.
Low level nests are preferred by hens because they are ground nesters and have an instinct to find a nest site under a bush where they’ll scratch a divot in the ground litter and make themselves a secluded hidden nest. The HAYDOCK nests are sunken below floor level.
Even to us it is common sense, the higher you are up the tree the safer you feel. HAYDOCKS have various height perching, as the dominant birds will take the highest perch, even the subordinate birds will still get a roost.
Air flow is a vital aspect of house design, the birds should have access to fresh air, even in the winter. The HAYDOCKS have vents set in under the eaves allowing fresh air to be drawn into the house as the warm foul air (pun indented) rises to be vented via the full length ridge vents.
I have known customers block the vents in the winter in a misguided attempt to keep the birds warm. Obstructing the air flow could prompt respiratory problems, especially if floor droppings have been allowed to accumulate. If you want to keep the birds warm over a long winters night better to give them each a fist full of mixed corn about an hour before dusk. This is will give them a slow release energy source to overnight on.
SHADE AND SHELTER:
Shelter from the rain and shade sun is often sort by the birds. The HAYDOCKS are raise on extended legs giving the birds refuge from the elements beneath the house. The ground under the house can become dry enough to allow the birds to dust bath.
Handles on the gable walls are a must have when moving the house. Unlike a lot of housing I have seen especially recently the Haydocks can be moved without fear of it disintegrating, because we construct the Haydocks on ridged glued, pinned, mortise and tenon jointed main frames. Making the house ‘stiff’ enough that it can be rolled on its side for hosing.
The HAYDOCKS are shipped fully assembled and ready to use.
THE HAYDOCKS CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
All framing and cladding is pressure treated joinery grade red pine.
12mm thick tongue and grooved boarding.
20mm thick shiplap boarding (joints bedded on mastic)
12mm thick MARINE grade ply.
THE HAYDOCK OPTIONS
SECOND POP HOLE DOOR:
Fits into the back gable, making an alternative entry to house especially helpful when used with a split run or when the ground around the ramp gets poached (messy)
LARGE FOWL MODIFICATIONS:
Fewer, but bigger nests and a large fowl sized pophole door.
A complimentary designed run that abuts the Haydock (considered too small for fully stocked Haydocks 1300 & 1600)
(link to PADDOCK RUN)