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Last summer I declared that this spring we are getting our own chickens. My neighbors have chickens, my friend has chickens, I want eggs and busy body bug eating birds.

Up until I just started saving up to build our coop, I was thinking that my chickens would be free ranging all day/cooped at night. They could de-bug my yard. But it dawned on me (just) that... I have a garden. Wont my free ranging chickens eat the garden?

Assuming that they will and that I am now budgeting to build a coop, build a chicken run AND fence in my garden... will a 3' wire fence keep their beaks out of my garden or does this have to be a very tall fence?

I am looking for 10 or so chickens. Does each chicken need its own nesting box in this coop? I live in Michigan, it gets cold. Will a heat lamp keep them warm enough in the winter? Their coop will be enclosed, with a window or two, which would be shut in the winter of course. They'll have a little doggie door that will allow them to go out into their run, which wont be huge but it will be something. I am just wondering if they should have a coop built into the barn, rather than the separate idea that we have been planning for. The barn would be a touch warmer.

Do cats bother chickens?
 

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I have a cat and he prances right by mine. However I've never been able to trust my dogs although I've seen it happen. No you don't need a nesting box for each. I have six boxes and five hens and they all use the same box! I put some plastic Easter eggs in the others and they're getting the idea!! I've heard chickens can withstand zero degrees with a lamp but I live in Texas so....I do use a heat lamp even in the 20's here!
 
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