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Coop location help

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

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

 

Negatives:

-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?

 

 

post #2 of 7

It looks to me like you might be able to pull this off. The main thing I would be concerned about is the smell, as it does take a lot of work to keep a coop clean, which you will have to do anyway to keep your pool area sanitary even if you don't mind the smell. About the sunlight, it does seem like they would need some of that, so I would suggest letting them free range in the yard if it is warm enough and you are in the area. However, I believe you mentioned the neighbor's dogs as a potential problem, so that has to be taken into consideration. Overall, your idea does seem very tempting because of the convenience, so I would just try to figure out a good plan for sunlight and keeping it really clean. Another thing to consider is a mobile coop, which you could move around the space in your yard and by your deck, but you may have a hard time finding a good sized one for about 15 chickens. Still, I think that angle is definitely worth consideration. Hopefully I helped a little at least.

 

Good Luck! 

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post #3 of 7

It does sound promising. I agree with the above, if they can free range a bit, that would be great. 

However, if they can't free range because of those dogs, you could build a secondary run away from the pool, but nearby. They could access it via a chicken tunnel. The coop and run in the area you show would be the primary home, and where they stay at night. The secondary run would provide more square footage for them to forage (and poop!)  in. That might help control any potential odor as well.

This is what I have done.

 

As far as putting down gravel, the best thing you can do is put 4-6" down when the soil is DRY. If you put it down on wet soil, the gravel will sink down in. If you lay it down when the soil is dry, it will form a layer that stays on top, even when the weather is wet.

Then you can put sand or wood chips or whatever you pick for your coop run on top of this.

This is covered in this BYC article

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-fix-a-muddy-run-chicken-coop


Edited by lynnehd - 2/14/16 at 10:24pm
post #4 of 7
My two concerns would be:

(1) Noise - chickens like to TALK! It's not all about crowing roosters. If you're the sort that has open windows in nice weather...well, conversations will get interrupted!
(2) Smells - not so much the droppings, because if you're smelling that then it's a management issue, but the other associated odors? The dry-feather smell that is normal bird, bedding, whatever litter you have in the run...all generally pleasant odors, but that close to the house you couldn't really get away from them if you wanted to. For example, I enjoy the smell of pine shavings but aftera while it starts to get me in the back of the throat (I could never be a carpenter).

I like the middle of the yard with nice shady landscaping idea, but I am always looking for an excuse to buy plants, so...
post #5 of 7
It would be a good use of the space, but my one concern reading this is that it sounds like that space doesn't have the best drainage? That does seem like an issue, and it would be hard to know how well the gravel/sand solution would work until you tried it. As lynnehd says, the area would have to be totally dry before you lay the gravel, and from what you describe I'm not sure if it gets totally dry. If the sand does end up retaining moisture, that can definitely smell a lot. I've seen some people on BYC actually lay drain pipe around and under where the coop will be to improve drainage in the area. Is that a possibility? As one of the comments said, a dry environment is really important for the birds, not just for smell but also for their health.
Edited by Ballerina Bird - 2/14/16 at 11:19pm
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jensownzoo View Post

My two concerns would be:

(1) Noise - chickens like to TALK! It's not all about crowing roosters. If you're the sort that has open windows in nice weather...well, conversations will get interrupted!
(2) Smells - not so much the droppings, because if you're smelling that then it's a management issue, but the other associated odors? The dry-feather smell that is normal bird, bedding, whatever litter you have in the run...all generally pleasant odors, but that close to the house you couldn't really get away from them if you wanted to. For example, I enjoy the smell of pine shavings but aftera while it starts to get me in the back of the throat (I could never be a carpenter).

I like the middle of the yard with nice shady landscaping idea, but I am always looking for an excuse to buy plants, so...

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ballerina Bird View Post

It would be a good use of the space, but my one concern reading this is that it sounds like that space doesn't have the best drainage? That does seem like an issue, and it would be hard to know how well the gravel/sand solution would work until you tried it. As lynnehd says, the area would have to be totally dry before you lay the gravel, and from what you describe I'm not sure if it gets totally dry. If the sand does end up retaining moisture, that can definitely smell a lot. I've seen some people on BYC actually lay drain pipe around and under where the coop will be to improve drainage in the area. Is that a possibility? As one of the comments said, a dry environment is really important for the birds, not just for smell but also for their health.

You know I kind of agree with the above. I would really worry about the dampness combined with lack of sun much of the year (shade is great in the heat of summer, of course).

 

 I'd also go with the middle of the yard, and use shade cloth and even a free standing shade canopy or two until your landscaping matures.

Plan some Rose of sharon, and smaller trees (25' maturity), a trellis with vines or climbing roses, etc.,  to help block the afternoon sun. 

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnehd View Post
 

 

 

You know I kind of agree with the above. I would really worry about the dampness combined with lack of sun much of the year (shade is great in the heat of summer, of course).

 

 I'd also go with the middle of the yard, and use shade cloth and even a free standing shade canopy or two until your landscaping matures.

Plan some Rose of sharon, and smaller trees (25' maturity), a trellis with vines or climbing roses, etc.,  to help block the afternoon sun. 


The other advantage of using landscaping for shade, as in the suggestion here, is that deciduous trees and shrubs will shed leaves in winter, allowing more sun in, and fill out in the summer, when you want shade.

 

My chickens, at least, are total sun junkies year round and are most happy when they can spend the late morning and early afternoon snoozing and relaxing with their wings spread out in a sunny patch to get as much sun as possible. This goes back to the earlier comments as well that if you do decide to put the run in that space, you will definitely want to be able to give them some daily free range time/secondary run time outside it.

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