What To Do!

Discussion in 'Coops, Runs and Housing' started by nxb161, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. nxb161

    nxb161 New Member

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    I am planning on getting 3 young hens this spring. This will be my first chicken experience. I don't quite trust the animals in the country to let them be free range. I am now trying to figure out what to do as far as a coop. Ideally I'd want something secure that has a run in it, but also I'd be able to move around the yard. I think it'd be nice to have part of the run sheltered from the elements as well. I am no carpenter, so I don't plan on making the coop myself. Any tips on size, style, etc would be great. Also would you guys recommend those solar powered night eyes, to keep animals from trying to break into the run/coop?
     
  2. Pinkter

    Pinkter Member

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    One thing I can recommend based on bad experiences is use 1/4" hardware cloth instead of chicken wire. I had raccoons come in night stuck their hands through the wire and eat on the chicken all night. It was very sad. Since the hardware cloth no disasters. Learning the hard way unfortunately.
     

  3. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    Know the wild critters in your area and plan on them coming to visit. (sorry, just a fact) Most folks have coons, (city or rural) others may have mink and such. (the weasel family can put a hurting on a flock) So plan a coop to keep them out.

    I've never had much luck with solar powered night eyes. A tight coop and run will be what you are looking for.

    Best of Luck.
     
  4. 7chicks

    7chicks New Member

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    A movable/tractor coop is fine for the day time but not sturdy enough to keep them safe at night from predators or at least not in my opinion. Most tractor coops tend to be on the more flimsy side. I used to put mine in a tractor during the day but at night, they're in lock-down in their main coop. I agree, 1/4" hardware cloth is the way to go for screening in the run. That's what I used too.
     
  5. troyer

    troyer Junior Member

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    Buy yourself an 8' x 12' mini barn and if you have the money to have it custom made, have them cut a small chicken sized door on all four sides that can be closed and locked from the inside. Then make yourself a run that can be moved around to each opening. That way they can have fresh grass all the time and keeps just one area from getting worn down to dirt. The reason I recommend an 8' x 12' coop is so you have room for expansion if needed which is likely, unless you have the gift of self-control and are able to just stick with your three hens. If you don't have the finances to do the custom made mini barn, perhaps you can buy a regular mini barn and have a friend or relative that is handy with wood and tools, cut some openings for you. I'm willing to do it for you if you're anywhere close to Denver, Pennsylvania.
     
  6. Mamachickof14

    Mamachickof14 New Member

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    First...plan on it costing more then you plan!! :rolleyes: I was going to just get 6...turned out 14... Planned on a small coop which we bought before we bought the chicks...the coop was too small for 14... $1000. later we bought and traded for a larger coop. :rolleyes: I planned on free ranging until I saw Mama Fox checking the girls out. Went to Craig's list and bought a bunch of page fencing:rolleyes:...now don't forget the water, food, lights, grit, a place to dust etc. Not trying to discourage you ...just plan on more $$. Am I sorry? No! Love my little ladies to death! I just never imagined it would cost so much... only my opinion! Jen
     
  7. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    Right on. My experience exactly.
     
  8. nxb161

    nxb161 New Member

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    I know what you mean as far as saying 3 hens and meaning more, BUT I really don't plan on anymore since I wouldn't know what to do with all the extra eggs. I've done it before with my Saltwater tanks, one became 2, then 3... so I do know what you mean, but I had the urge to go nuts right away. I really just want to have 3 hens. I agree that a movable one is not the way to go, all the ones i've seen are either too small or had a lot of gaps. That is a great idea about having multiple locking doors so I can switch the run around! Denver is about 2 hours away (according to googlemaps) I'm in the Bloomsburg area. I def think free range is too scary for me! There isn't a hobby that stays cheap, and I think my best bet is to get a pre-made coop and find a spot for it and make it as killer proof as I can, and work toward making a more customized one over the summer. I am by no means a carpenter, but this might be the hobby to make me one! Please keep the tips coming, I don't find a lot of coops to buy that use the 1/4" hardware cloth, but I doubt that'd be too hard to replace. I guess I should bank on adding circulating solar vents for the hot summer days?
     
  9. nxb161

    nxb161 New Member

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    Another question, but I think my land is going to do a lot of the deciding for me. Due to the lack of trees, plus I wouldn't want a lot of sheltered area for killers to sneak in, is it ok to plan on full sun?
     
  10. nxb161

    nxb161 New Member

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    http://www.frugah.com/Outdoor-Farm-Chicken-Coop-p/d3-0001.htm

    I am currently looking at this for a starter coop. It got decent reviews on here and amazon, and of course it did recommend some alterations. It looks like I might be able to move the run from one side to another. I would like to know if you had to use this coop, what changes would you incorporate? I don't see this as a permanent home, since I think the wood is probably a lot thinner than I'd want. Is 2 nesting boxes enough for 3 birds? Also on the inside there is what looks like a plexiglass tray for poo, does that need to be covered with pine shavings? Do they tend to just go from roost to roost to nesting box or walk along the bottom? I know at a minimum I'll need to secure any openings from prey.
     
  11. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    For 3hens, a small wooden doghouse can be modified for a coop as well.
     
  12. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    I started with something very similar for $300 and outgrew it very quickly. I started with 4 chickens and needed to add two more because of the dynamics of the group. So much for the small coop. I'm thinking I'll use it for my chicks this Spring until they can be with the big girls so not a complete waste. But I will say this again... Get a coop big enough for 12 birds. That way there will be plenty of room, your birds will be happy and if your flock expands (and it will) you are good to go.
     
  13. troyer

    troyer Junior Member

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    If I had to use that coop, I would add a wire floor and set it up on 24 inch pressure treated legs, then I would add the 1/4th inch wire around the bottom and make so the hens could have access to the enclosed bottom for shade in the hot summer weather. The pressure treated wood is rot resistant. Perhaps you could even add wheels to the 24 inch legs for ease of moving. Two nesting boxes is enough for 3 hens. If you would cover the plexiglass with pine shavings it would clean off easier. They will probably walk on the plexiglass and/or jump from roost to roost to get to the nest.

    Here is a breeding coop that I am in the process of building. The whole coop measures 96" x 63" There are two pens, each pen is 4 feet x 5 feet and each pen has two doors for ease of cleaning, what I mean by that is this, when I want to clean out the coop I'll just open both doors and scrape the poo out onto a tarp or wheelbarrow. (I am planning on raising the coop another six inches). I am also planning on putting hardware cloth around the bottom for hens and their chicks to be in safely while I am at work, it also gives them shade in hot weather and cool dirt to be on. All the material for this coop except for the hinges, latches and hardware cloth, is recycled construction lumber that someone was going to burn and I asked permission to use the wood. I won't have more than $50.00 out of my pocket when I am finished with this project. But that's not figuring the time that it took to make the coop. I am willing to help in any way I can.
     

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  14. nxb161

    nxb161 New Member

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    Very nice, I know you think I'm kidding myself, but I really don't see myself going overboard with the hens. I've done it with other pets, so I think I'm passed that. I do realize that I'll be spending a lot of money with just the 3 :) I did end up ordering the coop I posted, but I plan on working toward building a more custom one from scratch. I haven't even thought about food or water feeders. Do you guys use something special? What can you tell me from experience?
     
  15. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Flocker

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    And be sure when you build a coop, to bury wire or building materials around a foot deep, or cement about a foot deep. Most predators will dig under a wall to get to food. Sad, but learned the hard way too.
     
  16. realsis

    realsis New Member

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    I'm just starting out like you and this is what I did. Also with three hens. See pics. I framed in the coop into the run. The run i made is 6 feet high to walk in easily. It is 8 feet wide, and 8 feet long. It has a door to the front. Extra wire on the bottoms I bury to stop digging predators. My coop is one I got off Amazon and I hate it! It's so small I'm adding another laying box on the bare side and having to single there roof. I wish it we're bigger. In the picture they showed it was much bigger! For 230.00 I got ripped off! Now I need to figure a way to expand it and make it better! Be careful when you buy online! Now I can't afford another coop so I'm going to fix this one up the best I can. But here is pics of what I've done so far.

    ForumRunner_20130125_100719.jpg
     
  17. nxb161

    nxb161 New Member

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    I like your run, a lot nicer than the one that will be coming with my coop (but i knew that when I ordered it, i think the only way to get a nice big run is to make one) I hope mine is as it is the size it states in the ad. Those who had it said it is a good size for 4 hens, so my 3 should be just fine, and if it isn't I want to build a more custom one. I was talking to someone at work today about burying wire. It was suggested that I buy plastic coated wire to bury (so it doesn't rot so quickly) and to go down 6" and horiztonal (away from the coop) 6" that way that'll try to go over and then down and be blocked.
     
  18. profwirick

    profwirick Yaya

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    yikes! I see myself a lot in this thread!
    my little tractor is not going to suffice, I know. We are looking to build the Mother Earth News garden box tractor. the issue I'm struggling with currently is house cleaning. I read they need an "immaculate" home. I'm no spring chicken myself! I can't clean their house thoroughly every day. in fact, I'm going away and the pet sitter won't even give it a sweep out for two weeks. Am I asking for trouble? Should I try to hire somebody to come clean? if so, how often? there are six three month Los in a two by five house over a run the is now sitting on concrete because I was unprepared to protect this many chicks outdoors and moved the entire tractor into the garage.
     
  19. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    I clean my shed once a week. Sometimes every two weeks. 5 birds in a pretty big shed 10X 12.
     
  20. profwirick

    profwirick Yaya

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    gee you are my friend. thank you. so, just sweep out or hose? or disinfect? or does "immaculate mean something different in different situations...like weather, health issues...?