Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chicken Coop Design: FEMA Camp 2.0

The “FEMA Camp” series of chicken coops I am going to discuss are designed primarily for the Cornish Rock Cross chicken breed, A.K.A. McMutant.  Always keep in mind competing considerations vying for control over the design: time, cost, space, etc.  The FEMA Camp series was designed to be cheap, constructed mostly out of spare materials.

FEMA Camp 2.0 was stationary and the prison yard walls were chopped off and replaced with a fence.  Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the Camp while it was in operation.  As you can see, it is a happening place–all the critters want to go there, which is precisely why the fence was up.  McMutants are fed a high protein food, and we wanted to keep all the feed separate, in addition to keeping the McMutants safe until Doomsday.

We did not have automatic waterers when this Camp was up, and it was very difficult to juggle all the morning critter responsibilities.  At one point we had over a hundred critters to take care of and it could easily take half an hour or more to get everyone food and water.  FEMA Camp 2.0 was abandoned before Doomsday because it was too much of a hassle.  The McMutants were moved to a different coop that was sited better, but had its own problems which will be discussed in another series.

Herding was a tedious operation in FEMA Camp 1.0, but we learned from 2.0 how to manipulate the McMutants to end the day where we wanted them.  We knew that chickens go to bed at dusk, and we knew that McMutants love stuffing their beaks, so we sited the feed near the tiny door.  At dusk we would go outside and see the McMutants huddled near the food and water and had an easy time shoving them in the prison.  You can spend all day trying to herd critters around or you can simply learn their nature and use it against them.

In the above picture you can see my pathetic attempt to auto-herd the McMutants in 1.0.  It was sad to be defeated by bird brains, but I learned from it.  The elimination of the prison yard, or rather the separation of the yard from the coop structure itself, allowed for easier access, herding, and grabbing.

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