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I am NEW and I need help on deciding the best location for my Coop!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello to all!  I am very new to owning chickens, so new that I don't even have them yet!  They arrive in early April.  I thought I had the coop design decided but now I am rethinking it AGAIN!.  After reading many different chicken books, I thought the best option for me was to have the coop attached to the backside of my new greenhouse.  This would allow me to let them loose inside the greenhouse in the winter to scratch through cover crops that I will grow for them.  But if I choose this option, they will need to be in an enclosed chicken yard during most of the year so they don't destroy my garden and the dogs don't get to them. 

 

I am torn because after reading another good book on chickens, I really do want to free range my chickens in the pasture with my horses.  Moving them between the coop and the pasture would be too cumbersome because they are about 100 yards apart.

 

I know the chickens will benefit greatly from scratching through the pasture and eating all those great bugs in the manure.  They would also work for the horses because they would be doubling as pest control.... and last but not least, they would be safer from my dogs if they were in the pasture because the dogs are not allowed in by the horses. (my dogs have never been around chickens before so I am anticipating the worst case scenario)

 

So my other option is to attach the coop to the horse barn.  My worry with this option is predators being drawn to my coop and my horses. What do you all think would be my best option?  And would they attract predators big enough to be a threat to my horses?  (Hoping there is someone here who lives in northern Minnesota who can share their experiences)

 

And also would a hot wire fence keep the chickens in the pasture?  Thanks so much!!

"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
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"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
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post #2 of 8

Welcome!  Predators will come no matter where the chickens are, so building a predator proof coop and safe run is essential.  Having water and electricity available is a huge plus, and having it visible from the house will be good too.  My birds can free range in one of my pastures, and it's good.  Electric poultry netting is good for ground predators, but totally not safe for horses, and I'd think that multistrand hot wire would be tricky too.  Your birds aren't at all likely to range over 300 ft. of cleared ground, so probably picking one site will be best.  Hot wire or tape will protect your coop from bears;  fortunately they haven't moved here yet!  Mary

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

 

Thank you!  My pasture is approx. 3 acres and is fenced in with 5 strands of electrified rope.  The horses respect it but I am wondering if the chickens would try to cross it?  The barn is close to the garage which is close to the house.  We don't have a problem with the larger predators because of our 3 large dogs but my worry would be the bobcats, lynx, weasels, raccoons, fishers, etc.... if my coop is secure, would these predators strike in broad day light?  The pasture is a mix of woods and open area so they have plenty of pasture.jpg

 

cover from hawks and eagles.  I would attach the coop to the left side of the barn (the land is more level there)  The second photo is where the gate meets the garage...I am standing in our driveway taking the photo. (this was before we built the barn)

 

I have not found anyone up here who has chickens and who I can ask these questions :(


Edited by Siggie - 3/8/16 at 8:06pm
"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
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"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
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post #4 of 8

I think that chickens will climb through the hot rope with no problem.  Hawks are a problem during the day, and any other predator might also show up sometimes.  Chickens will go to their coop to roost at night, and must be locked in safely every night, unless they are in a very secure run.  I've got a secure coop and run, and free range usually.  BUT when a hawk takes one of my birds, the rest are locked in for ten days or longer, until that hawk moves elsewhere.  My dogs love chicken too, and are fenced away from them.  It's not too difficult to train puppies to leave chickens along, but adults may be much more difficult.  Nice if you can do it, though.  Chickens are jungle animals, and prefer to grub around under trees and shrubs, rather than be in the open.  Dogs and foxes will show up during the day sometimes and can wipe out many birds in a short time, not good.  Mary

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  I will be building a secure run attached to the coop.  They will be allowed out in the run during the day when I am not home.  They will only be allowed to free range in the pasture when I am home which will be 5pm until dusk most days.  I also thought I might get some Guinea hens....everything I have read says they are great at alerting to predators and anything else they think is dangerous!  I am on 15 acres so I don't think I will have any problems with neighbors complaining about their noise :)

"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
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"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
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post #6 of 8

Guineas really are super loud. Remember to use hard-ware cloth 1/16in and go at least a foot into the ground under the run and put rocks or bricks around the whole thing.

UTAH 4-H STATE CONTEST WINNER - (1ST) 4-H DEMONSTRATIONS!! [7/17/13] - HOW TO WASH A SHOW CHICKEN 

 - NOMINATE BYC MEMBERS FOR AWARDS HERE

Whit's Flock (My Chickens) (Click to show)

 

~Whittni, a happy owner of: No chickens :( I miss them SO much! However, I'm earning a degree at university currently..in Agriculture & minor in art..then I'm off to grad school in Fall 2018.
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UTAH 4-H STATE CONTEST WINNER - (1ST) 4-H DEMONSTRATIONS!! [7/17/13] - HOW TO WASH A SHOW CHICKEN 

 - NOMINATE BYC MEMBERS FOR AWARDS HERE

Whit's Flock (My Chickens) (Click to show)

 

~Whittni, a happy owner of: No chickens :( I miss them SO much! However, I'm earning a degree at university currently..in Agriculture & minor in art..then I'm off to grad school in Fall 2018.
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

I started a differ thread but I will ask here as well.  Would it be over-kill to line the entire bottom of the coop and run with the hardware cloth?  And based on the last post here, you suggested 1/16" hardware cloth?   I just purchased 1/4" hardware cloth, I hope that is small enough - it cost me $150!?

"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
Reply
"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
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post #8 of 8

I use 1/2 inch hardware cloth, and it's fine.  Mary

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