Egg-cellent Christmas present
Q AWhat is self-sustaining, healthy, provides great fertilizer and is the perfect Christmas present for the whole family? If you said chickens and a chicken coop you’re right.
This week, veteran chicken breeder and Backyard Chicken Coops owner, Grant Kros, took Shopper through the preferred architectural design for a low-maintenance chicken coop.
“Originally, my partner and I were looking to buy a chicken coop but we couldn’t find the design we wanted so we adopted a design and made a few additions,” Mr Kros said.
The key to their additional features was to develop chicken coops that were easy to maintain and manoeuvre.
“The thing about chickens is that they poop straight onto the coop which makes cleaning messy and difficult.
“So we added a cleaning tray with a plastic insert. You can throw the manure straight onto the compost heap and hose them down or put a layer of newspaper on them. This makes it very easy to keep the coop clean.
We also added wheels. Some chicken coops can weigh as much as 40 kilograms, so we added wheels to make them easy to move around the yard.
“There are two wheels on one end and a handle on the other so they can be manoeuvred like a wheelbarrow. This is particularly handy for children and seniors.”
Other changes to the original coop design include the reduction of the wire mesh to 10x10mm to stop snakes entering the coop. The strength of this welded, galvanised mesh also prevents foxes eating through the mesh.
Foxes are renowned for digging underneath coops to gain access. Mr Kros has solved this issue with the addition of a mesh floor.
Backyard Chicken Coops also have a lockable nesting box bolted to the side of the coop so children can access it easily. And the roof contains insulation.
“Chickens can die easily in the Queensland heat so we added an asphaltcovered, green roof that reflects the sun. It also keeps chickens warm in southern climates,” Mr Kros said.
Shoppers contemplating buying chooks will be happy to know they tick all the boxes in terms of a child-friendly pet/activity.
They are self-sustaining creatures and a great garbage disposal mechanism for household scraps like fruit and vegetables. Once eaten the manure is subsequently used to fertilise the garden thus enhancing the household fruit and vegetable patch.
Eggs are healthy. And there is nothing better than watching a child’s face when they open the nesting box to collect fresh eggs. Chickens are inexpensive to buy. “A day-old chick sells for around $3 and a point-of-lay (a chook that is ready to produce eggs) for $12.
“Chooks start producing at three months old and are generally sold just prior to this when they are around two-and-a-half months old.”
A 20kg bag of chook feed costs $16 and lasts for quite a while.
As far as laying capacity, a hen will lay around 300 eggs/year so with several of them that’s an egg a day at least.
Mr Kros sells standard 1.7-metre coops that house five chooks for $429. For 10 or more chooks there is a larger coop that sells for $749.
“People can buy secondhand chicken coops for $280 but they don’t have the features ours do. And they aren’t easy to clean like ours.
“Features like the mesh floor are additional extras because not everyone needs them,” Mr Kros said.
Weekend Shopper offers both chickens and coops. In terms of what comes first; obviously it’s the coop.