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How we build our Framebow Houses

How we build our Framebow Houses

Handcrafted in our Dorset workshop, detailed below is the design process and the materials used for making all Framebow Housing; from pet house to play house.

Hopefully this will give you all the information you need about the build standard of our housing range and our adherence to build quality.

However, if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to call on 01300 345 229 or email admin@framebow.co.uk

Pressure Treated Swedish Redwood Timber

We source only joinery-grade pressure-treated Swedish Redwood Timber from one family Mill in Sweden and bring it direct to our workshop here in Dorset. On arrival it is put 'in stick' to air-dry in lovely Dorset wind and sunshine for a few weeks until it is ready to be crafted into one of our designs. The plywood used on floors is a hardwood exterior grade ply and is equally carefully sourced and scrutinised for quality.

We then weave our workshop magic on the timber to bend it into the shapely curves and arches used in the Framebow designs and, with our special wood-bending techniques, this can take several weeks to achieve.

On leaving the workshop, the roofs of all Framebow Houses are given two coats of Thompsons Waterseal to ensure weather resistance. We take pride in making sure the timber is finished well, with all corners rounded and sanded. This is important as it prevents the edges of the timber from splitting and the sharp edges harming your chickens (and it looks so much nicer too).

For the roofs, depending on model, we use either 19mm or 25mm thick tongue and groove shiplap timber; for the walls we use 19mm tongue and groove cladding. The frames are either 38mm x 38mm or 38mm x 50mm timber. The floors are 9mm thick coated exterior hardwood plywood.

By using pressure treated timber we can guarantee the wood against rot and fungal attack for 10 years (depending on how it is cared for of course). We further guarantee all our units for two years against manufacturing defects so that if you feel the timber and build quality is not what you expect we will repair, replace or refund without quibble. Please remember; timber will move, expand and contract throughout the seasons therefore hairline cracks will appear over time. This is not faulty, it is simply how timber behaves.

Timber Housing Aftercare

Even with these guarantees you will still need to take care of any timber housing. To this end we recommend annual application of Thompsons Waterseal for the roof. We also advise that you should not leave your housing standing in water for any period of time although, to site it on wet grass or earth is perfectly fine, as long as it isn't consistently waterlogged ground.

To keep your house in good condition make sure it is cleaned regularly and kept dry inside to prevent mould. All our houses have built in ventilation to ensure a constant circulation of air so that levels of humidity are kept low. Do not allow dirt to build up in or around the house as this will degrade the timber more quickly and also lead to breeding grounds for harmful bacteria.

Ventilation in Chicken Housing

We have incorporated ventilation features into the Framebow designs, allowing clean air to be drawn up from under the eaves or base and the stale air escapes either via the ventilation louvres or the meshed apex, enabling a flow of clean air and exit of ammonia.

Foul air will cause serious problems for your birds. Adequate ventilation in your chicken house is a very important requirement and one we have catered for very well in the design of our chicken housing.

Don't be tempted to add heat lamps to a chicken house though, or artificial heat of any kind. Chickens cannot control their body heat as we do (and they are covered in a layer of feathers after all) so rapid changes in temperature are generally not good for them. If you heat the house overnight and then they exit into a very frosty outdoors this can cause respiratory problems or even death through shock.

Equally for pets, although ventilation is not needed for the same reasons as chickens, you do not need to 'hermetically seal' the house, but adding lots of extra bedding and keeping it draught free is essential in winter months. For small pets, like rabbits and guinea pigs, you could put a small box (e.g. cardboard box) inside the house for them to snuggle into to keep warm when necessary.

Chicken House Nest Boxes

Your Framebow Hen House comes complete with a nesting box, an internal nest box tray which is placed inside the chicken house. This is a deep wooden tray with plywood base and sloping plywood privacy walls (sloping to prevent perching).

Add a nice deep layer of bedding to the nest tray to ensure comfort for the hens and clean eggs for you. Egg collecting is easy by opening the back door to reveal the nest box tray just inside to collect the bounty within.

The nest box should always be lower thean the perches, not only to prevent the birds sleeping in the nest box at night, but to encourage them to lay their eggs in the cosiest, lowest part of the house.

Chicken House Perches

Our chicken houses come complete with perches of course, and these are either free-standing or mounted depending on henhouse design. All are easily removable, a must for cleaning them off regularly.

Allow at least 20 cm (8 in) of perch length per bird, for larger fowl allow up to 25 cm (10 in) perch space, and this is how we assess the capacity of our hen houses (along with floor space). Our perches have rounded edges, made using 50mm x 38mm square timber, it's the ideal size so that the chickens have a comfortable grip and can rest their breastbone on the perch.

The perches are at a higher level than the nesting box so that the birds will not sleep in the nest boxes at night and make them dirty. Always encourage your birds to roost on the perches to avoid leg problems, feather loss, mites & lice, as well as lying in poo and dirt for hours and, it does also make cleaning the house much easier for you if all the poo is under the perches.

Chicken House Pop-Hole

The chicken house pop-hole is the small wooden door that allows the chickens to enter and exit the chicken house into the run. We ensure that our pop-holes are large enough for most breeds of poultry at approx. 33cm (13in) square.

Our pop-holes are vertical sliding doors and can be opened and closed by the use of a drawstring cord. This enables you to open and close the door for your chickens without the need to enter the chicken run.

Automatic Chicken House Door Openers

If you are new to keeping chickens, you've probably never come across the automatic chicken house pop- hole door openers before. They are very cleverly designed little battery operated devices that can be fitted to your chicken house, either internally or externally.

It will let your chickens out in the mornings at sunrise by raising the chicken house sliding pop-hole vertically and close the door for you at dusk by lowering the pop-hole automatically.

We are able to supply and fit automatic chicken house doors to our hen houses; Chicken Guard or VSB units (both are available on this website). These are battery powered, electronic units that lift the pop hole via a motorised drawstring.

They will open the pop-hole door to let the birds out in the mornings when activated by daylight or a digital timer. They also, more importantly, shut your birds up for you at dusk by the same method.

It is important when using the automatic door for the first time, to ensure it is set up and working properly and the birds do reliably roost at dusk on their own before relying on this gadget.

Overall, a great product, very robust and reliably built and especially useful for those winter months when you are returning home late from work and unable to shut away your chickens within the safety of the chicken house before dark.

Chicken House Ladder/Ramp

Your new chicken house will arrive complete with a long ramp from the pop-hole to the ground, it simply sits on the ledge of the pop-hole door and the birds will run down it in the morning (or fly out instead) and then in the evening will gently make their way up it to bed.

Chicken House Sliding Bedding Tray / Removable Floor

Our large Arch Houses and the Rabbit Hutch come with a slide out floor. This sliding tray sits beneath the perches, or otherwise is simply the floor of the rabbit hutch. It can be removed completely for a thorough clean, either by pressure washing or with a good wash in disinfectant or purpose made cleaner (we do not recommend using standard household cleaners for animal housing - see our sister website www.flytesofancy.co.uk for a full range of husbandry products).

Curved Runs for Chicken Houses, Aviaries and Pet Houses

Framebow houses all come with integral wire mesh runs to keep your pets or birds secure. These shapely runs are the real feature of our unique designs and special (secret) methods are used to bend the wood into the arched and curved shapes you see. This method does take several weeks to achieve just the right shape but, we hope you will agree, the result is just gorgeous.

The main timber frames are built with pressure treated 1½" x 2" timbers to create a rigid unit able to withstand the weather and to keep your pets or hens safe from predators like foxes. Once the timber frame of the run is built we use a European quality (18g), 1" x ½" mesh size, plastic-coated green galvanised weldmesh to cover the framework and give a robust, strong run.

Most of our runs are extendable and bolt securely together, some can have added timber cladding to create sheltered areas too. Safety doors are another option you could add to your Aviary or Cat House for example, so you can safely enter the run without fear of escapees.

Please Note: We are delighted to say that the Framebow Animal Housing Company became part of the Flyte so Fancy family in November 2015 and the designs and manufacturing moved to Dorset. Flyte so Fancy are already well known for their high quality timber chicken houses and the Framebow range will be made to the same exacting standards as Flyte so Fancy houses - www.flytesofancy.co.uk.
Anne & Phillip, owners of Flyte so Fancy Ltd, bought the Framebow company on 17th Nov 2015 so any units bought prior to that date cannot unfortunately be guaranteed by Flyte so Fancy. If your Framebow house was bought before 17th Nov 2015 please contact Greenhill Joinery in Derbyshire 01629 822392 for any queries

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