Thursday, June 16, 2016

Chicken Coop Design: FEMA Camp 3.0

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.

The previous FEMA Camp iterations had serious problems, but FEMA Camp 3.0 brings tears of joy to my eyes. Long have I awaited this blessed day! At long last the McMutant race is completely subjugated—there is no hope of escape nor reprieve from the tax-harvester-man. Today is a good day to be a Critter Commandant.

Unlike 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 are not meant to be mobile. This is not inherently good or ill. It does not take McMutants long to bomb the ground into oblivion so you will want to create some kind of paddock system or throw straw or some other cover down and replace it as needed. A paddock system could be as complex as adding extra yards to the prison compound or as simple as moving the food and water around the yard.

3.0 did not have a fence around it like 2.0, but the pallets kept the most dangerous critters—the geese—away. Some chickens hopped inside and ate the food, but surprisingly it seems they did not cause any problems.

Herding is very easy, enjoyable even, in 3.0. The entire front wall of the prison is actually a door that pulls up. You can see the green cord in the first picture which holds the door up. At dusk we use furring strips to “motivate” the filthy beasts to go to bed while dropping the door on the stubborn. Once everyone is inside we lock the door in place with the furring strips.

The beauty of this design is that the McMutants are trapped in a small area in the morning. There is no chasing or motivating on Doomsday, just grabbing. There was resistance, but it involved kicking instead of pecking. Thankfully, it takes a while for roosters to develop spurs. Young roosters just have little nubs.

Unfortunately, we were plagued by two serious issues during the operation of 3.0: penury and death. We could not feed the McMutants enough of their proper food and had to resort to waterfowl pellets. We experienced a fairly high mortality rate for unknown reasons—four McMutants died, two of them on the same day. We immanentized the eschaton shortly after the two McMutants died on the same day. It was a difficult call to make.  I saw no signs of struggle, and did not have time to investigate further as I had other problems to deal with.  The weights were reasonable given the circumstances.

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