...BUT many backyards are missing the essential emergency quarantine or broody coop.
As a poultry pet sitter, I always fear one of my clients' birds becoming sick, injured or broody with no spare coop for isolation from the rest of the flock. In most cases, there is nothing I could even use to improvise with!
But even when I am not there as your pet sitter, having a quarantine coop will serve you well. No-one ever regrets having one ready.
Here is a great guide on simple-to-make quarantine/broody coop ideas that could work in your backyard.
Quarantine coops are used for:
- Sick and injured birds
- Broody isolation units
- Hatching fertilised eggs
- Introducing new chickens to the yard before integrating with the existing flock - preventing spread of diseases/pests
WHAT CAN BE USED?
- Large metal dog crate
- Pop up pet tent
- Omlet Eglu (elevated height or ground level)
- Mini chicken coop
- Baby cot conversion
- Trampoline - underneath fenced off
- Mini constructions with open mesh/run
- Arched weldmesh and timber construction with tarpaulin
- Old fashioned raised tank stand, fitted with a chicken wire frame door.
- Outside dining table wrapped with chicken wire.
- Combination of any of the above
- Keep the quarantine coop as far away as possible from the main poultry coop to prevent spread of disease.
- Quarantine unwell birds at the first sign of sickness/injury to prevent spread or attack.
- Have one or two plastic tarpaulins ready.
These are used for covering the quarantine coop if the sick bird has a contagious respiratory condition or able to keep the drafty winds/rain out.
- It must be fully cleanable and accessible.
- Food and water containers must be able fit within the structure.
- OBEY the length of time that quarantine needs to be. Do not be tempted to release the birds too early.
- If you have free ranging chickens that might wander over to the quarantine coop, add extra fencing to keep them away. The further away, the better.
BROODY COOP ISOLATION FACTORS
As broody hens are only going through a normal hormonal phase, the purpose of a broody coop is to "break" her out of being broody and help her resume normal free ranging and egg laying again.
- The broody coop is NOT for overnight use - only day time isolation - to keep her away from the nesting box.
- Broody isolation must NOT have any nesting boxes.
- Supply clean food and water.
- Keep the this isolation coop in a cool shaded position.
Grassy areas are highly recommended to bring down a broody's core temperature which aims "breaking" the broodiness.
- Creating a coop for a broody that needs to be broken really ONLY needs fencing.
An elaborate structure is usually unnecessary.
HATCHING WITH A BROODY FACTORS
Use the quarantine coop for hatching fertilised eggs. Be aware, that if sickness does occur with any other birds in the flock that another quarantine coop will need to sourced.
- Make best use of old trampoline frames.
This will keep nesting hen and chicks safe from predators and other poultry that are likely to attack them.
- The nesting area must be warm and secure. Mother hen must have access to food and water near to her while sitting.
- Hatching coops need more run area than a standard quarantine.
Explore the appropriateness of your yard before proceeding. Do you have room?
- Chicks integrate into the main flock around 16-18 weeks of age.
BE AWARE: This means up to 18 weeks of a quarantine coop in use.
PESTS AND CLEANING FACTORS
- Clean the quarantine coop THOROUGHLY before and after use.
- Food and water sources must be kept clean - washed out after use.
- After use, sweep, scrub down all surfaces, discard ALL nesting materials into a garbage bag for the bin.
- Spray with Virkon disinfectant throughout (after diseased birds have left quarantine).
- Spray with Malaban Wash or Maldisan 50 if mites and lice have been on the birds.
- Wear different boots into the quarantine coop to prevent transferring diseased matter out to the main flock.
- Use the quarantine coop for all the flock when thoroughly cleaning out the main chicken coop for its annual clean.
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