Hi all, we are new to chickens, and we just hatched 14 Buff Orpingtons in a incubator I made. They're a week old today, so I'm starting to investigate coop options, including location. We live on an acre, but other than the middle of the yard (no trees), there isnt a fantastic place to put the coop without it being in the front yard, near the neighbors dogs in the back, or in a wet area of the yard next to the creek.Right in the middle of the backyard could work, but there is no shade. Not that I couldnt add some. So that might be where I build it.
Or... a crazy idea that I wanted to get some comments on is to put the coop and run in a 6 x 35 foot area between our pool deck and back deck of our house. I was thinking I would use the deck walls as the walls of the run and cover them in hardware cloth, and possibly put the coop itself on stilts so that its high enough that we could access the eggs from the house deck. As in, possibly have the egg access door at knee level and remove a section of deck balusters. I guess this could either be from the pool deck or house deck.
I see these as positives:
-Getting eggs entails opening the back door and walking 10 feet on a deck.
-Closer access to electricity/water
-Since its between the two decks, it stays pretty shady (I live in NC so weather is mild and can get upper 90's in the summer). I guess this could be a con as well.
-We could sit and watch them from the deck.
-We could hear them easier if there was a predator
-probably less predators being protected on both sides by a pool and a house
-Pretty dang close to the house. Master bedroom is on that side of the house, probably 20-30 feet from where they would be. We may keep a rooster depending on how loud it is. If its too loud, we may not be able to, not just for our sake, but we have neighbors kinda close.
-The area tends to stay damp. It doesnt get a ton of sunlight. When i walk through I often get a squishy feeling under my feet. However, I'm thinking if we put it here I'd put down gravel first for drainage, then cover in sand. So the question would be, would there be enough air flow and sunlight in there to dry the sand out or would we be fighting a water battle.
-It would be right beside the pool. During certain times of the summer, could be a lot of activity going on around them, and some splashing! :) But who knows, I dont know chickens well (yet)...maybe they'd enjoy it.
-What about the smell? This alone could could be a make or break situation. I've read that it wont smell if you keep it clean. But I wouldnt want to be sitting by the pool and smelling chickens. Or for visitors to have to.
What are your thoughts? Am i crazy? I've posted a couple pics from different angles of the area I'm talking about. And one pic of what i envision. A door on one side into the run (the pink rectangle). Hardware cloth down the sides of the deck (and over the top). The yellow box is the coop, the smaller yellow box is the egg access. And the ladder into the coop is that awful looking thing on the ground. And that white stuff on the ground is our yearly snow. Thoughts?