Today I will show you how we made a version of chicken sliders. Chicken coop window sliders. The main coop has big windows covered with wire mesh, which let quite a bit of light in and sound out in the morning. After a way-too-early awakening by Andrew one morning, in the light of a full moon, I decided it was time to come up with a window cover idea. I got this idea from Al from Lumnah Acres, one of our favourite YouTube homesteading channels. He did it as a goat door that slides up but I’ve done it as window covers that can be slid down.

Ingredients:

  • 3x thin pieces of timber (bottom support pieces), the same depth as the plywood covers.
  • 3x wider pieces of timber the same height as the ones above (top support pieces).
  • 2x plywood squares/rectangles (window covers).
  • 2x short pieces of wooden dowel or similar (holders).
  • Screws / bolts.
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The materials, plus two more of each size of support piece.

Method:

The bottom support pieces are screwed on first, leaving enough space on the backing surface for the window cover to overlap the window opening. This was a bit fiddly to figure out on the coop, as I was working with a pretty narrow backing of window framing, hence why the bottom support pieces had to be so narrow.

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The bottom support pieces were screwed onto the coop first. It’s funny that I took a photo of this one, as this is the one I installed wrongly. Oops! Don’t draw markers twice and forget which one was the right one. It was supposed to be right up against the gate latch, which had to be moved and that led to making a better latching system from wire…

Next, The plywood window covers can be measured to size, made around 5mm narrower than the gap between two bottom support pieces so they have wiggle room.

Then the top support pieces can be screwed onto the bottom support pieces so that they’re flush on the outer edge, or centered in the case of my middle one. This leaves a gap on the inside for the window covers to be slid up or down.

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A top support piece has been screwed (or bolted) onto the bottom support piece and coop, leaving a gap for the plywood cover to slide up and down. It was a bit tricky with the coop wall sticking out further than the window support – I had to allow more depth to fit the cover in at the bottom.

Of course, I determined to paint everything on all sides as part of the red mite prevention and minimisation strategy, so that took longer.

Once the sliders are sorted you need to figure out where to drill a hole through the coop wall, under the window opening. I held each slider up while The Husband drilled a hole under each one, in the center, big enough to poke the ‘holder’ through. The holder could be a piece of round garden stake or wooden dowel, hey, Al from Lumnah Acres even used an old screwdriver. We used pieces of a round garden stake. These hold the covers in place and when you want to let one down you just pull out the holder, slide down the cover, then poke the holder back in place.

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The holders, funnily enough, hold the window sliders in place. Although I can’t say I won’t replace them one day with painted wooden dowels.

I’m stoked with the window sliders. They do reduce the crowing noise and probably make the coop a bit warmer on these cold nights. Plenty of air can still get in through the wire mesh window at the top of the door.

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Window sliders up.
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Window sliders down.

As for the chickens, there have been a few more movements. With three roosters: Darrington, Andrew and Sandy Whiskers it was getting a bit noisy and testy and I realised I needed to figure out what to do with them, since I wasn’t planning to keep three of them in the main flock, being a small flock.

I was planning to put Sandy Whiskers and the two Dorking girls into the chicken tractor. I want to collect eggs for hatching from these guys as part of the Dual Purpose Meatbird Side Project. Sandy Whiskers had come of age but it would take at least three, and possibly four weeks, for the hens to be emptied of the goods from the Australorp roosters, Darrington and Andrew. Sandy Whiskers is the son of Darrington (Australorp) and Paris (Wyandotte-Australorp-tiny bit of something else cross). These crossbreds put on weight faster than the Australorps and are much easier to sex at a young age. Dorkings are supposed to be good for meat, hence why I want to get some of them in the mix. It’s a fun experiment.

Now, the problem is that the chicken tractor hasn’t come into existence yet, except on a spreadsheet. And then I changed my mind about the materials, so I’m onto the next spreadsheet plan. I decided that Sandy Whiskers, Moppet and Mittens needed to go into the Corner Pen, which has the small coop. That meant Frodo and her chicks would have to move out into the main flock. Next, my thoughts turned to Darrington and Andrew.

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Mittens says hello and Sandy Whiskers looks very pleased with himself up the back. He’s a fine crossbred specimen.
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There are little chickens all over the place.

We often think of breeding season as being in spring, but for chickens it generally starts in late winter, which isn’t that far away. Heading into the breeding season, I only wanted to have one Australorp rooster so that I could be sure of who was fathering the chicks and to keep my workload down. With Andrew well-grown, it was time to make a decision between Darrington and Andrew. It wasn’t too hard for me to make this decision. I wanted to keep Andrew. I just liked him better all-around; he was an improvement on Darrington, in looks and personality. When I get him out of the coop at night he doesn’t even flap his wings, he just sits in my arms like a good boy. No more of this rooster-shooting-up-into-the-air-when-I-try-to-grab-him business.

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Andrew’s tail goes a bit high, but he is overall more well-balanced than Darrington.

And so it was that Darrington walked the green mile, Frodo and her 14 chicks were introduced into the main flock with Andrew presiding as the new head rooster, the Corner Coop was cleaned and Sandy Whiskers and co moved in there. There were several escapes on the part of Sandy Whiskers and Moppet, which had to be addressed with some extra chicken wire and the clipping of Sandy Whiskers’ wings. Miss Moppet has just had her wings clipped too due to repeated, sneaky escapes. Whether she has had elicit escapades with Andrew, I do not know.

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Darrington Soup, anyone? Darrington’s farewell was rather timely with the onset of family sickness…
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