Three of our six new hens we not integrating with our existing flock as the meaning of ´pecking order´ became very clear. They made their home on the roof of the hen house and struggled to get food and water. With the risk that any eggs layed would roll off the roof we decided to build them a small home of their own.
The result was a smaller version of the 2nd design. This helped reduce the cost with less materials and was all was needed given we let the hens range free in the afternoon and they were just three small hens. We utilised the shady and protected area behind the poly tunnel and before the terrace wall and shrubs.
With external access to the egg laying area and guttering to capture rainfall in a 200L barrel the smaller design included all the key feature of the larger design. The hens settled in well and immediately started laying in the designed space. Just before their move they had layed eggs in the shade netting roof of the larger pen - these first eggs survived and could be used but this would not have lasted so we moved them just in time.
From start to finish the build took about 20 hours to complete which we did over 4 days in a 6 day period.
Frances and Barry Copping bought Xalet Pigall in 2015. They are working towards resilience and self-sufficiency.