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 6 medium size layers.
Has three segregated nests and 2.5mt of perching, housing up to 10 medium size layers.
Has 4 segregated nests and 3.4mt of perching, housing up 15 medium size layers.
Has 5 segregated nests and 4.3mt of perching, housing up 20 medium size layers.
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)
INSULATED* HINGED ROOF:
With the advent of the extremes in the climate change, we insulate the roofs of our HAYDOCK CHICKEN HOUSING using FOIL MULTI-LAYER AIR BUBBLE THERMAL INSULATION, a consequently helping to keep your chicken house cooler in the summer and to retain heat in the winter. (* New Sept 2019)
When opened in conjunction with the removable side wall and nest bank, 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 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.
Foil air bubble thermal insulation.
THE HAYDOCK OPTIONS
SECOND POP HOLE DOOR:
Set 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).
AUTOMATIC DOOR OPENER:
Automatically opens and shuts the pophole door, either to your personal time settings, or at dawn and dusk. A priceless addition to your hen keeping setup, especially when still in your pyjamas you are duty bound go down to let the chicken out, or worse still when at lights-out somebody reminds you that it’s your turn to shut the chicken up! We fit the CHICKEN GUARD EXTREME which is the most robust having a 4 kg lift capacity, so will work with the standard Haydock door.
LARGE FOWL MODIFICATIONS:
Reduced number of nests, but they are bigger to accommodate the bigger hens. Also, large fowl sized pophole door.
A complimentary shape and designed run that abuts the Haydock. PLEASE NOTE. we considered this run too small for fully stocked Haydocks 1300 & 1600. see the optional PADDOCK RUN
(link to PADDOCK RUN)
Although the timber we build with is pressure treaded or marine grade and will last many years, we still think it prudent once in a while to apply a re-treatment. I have personal used this treatment on my housing, and can highly recommend it:
STOPS WATER DEGRADATION -
Forms a water shedding coating that stops water ingression which encourages wood rot.
CAN BE APPLIED TO WET WOOD -
No waiting for that elusive dry day when you have time and the wood is dry.
MICRO POROUS -
Allows the wood to ‘breath’.
Has a milky colour when applied but dry’s clear, so OK to apply liberally without leaving brush or run marks.
SUITABLE FOR ANIMAL HOUSING -
And says as much on the label!