So we finally did it. we got our small flock of chickens. 6 years ago my wife and I had some serious talks about getting chickens but about that time we relocated and had to move into a rental and that lasted an unexpected 5 years. Last summer we finally bought our dream home and spent all last summer putting in most of our yard. fast forward to spring 2016. March 11th was the fateful day. We took the kids to a local farm for pony rides and they had hundreds of chickens. after that trip the wife started talking about chickens again and the same afternoon we went to the local farm store and the spring chickens were in. After 6 years we didnt give it much more thought and bought 2 Silver Laced Wyandotte's, 2 RIR, and 2 Barred Rock. We then gathered the necessary brooder supplies a bag of feed and went home where i spent a hr late at night building and setting up a brooder. 4 Days later we picked up 6 more chicks after evaluating our space.
Having committed to 12 hens I got started on a coop. I have in-laws building a house next door so daily I would dumpster dive collecting any usable building materials and ended up building a 30sf coop for about $60 which was the cost of mostly just hardware and glass for windows. I then cut up several free and old pallets for the trim and siding. I wanted a rustic barn look and never wanted to paint it ever. its only 30 SF but there will be a fall harvest and we will only be housing 6 hens during winters.
Now for the run. When we designed our yard we designated a back corner for a garden that I was not excited about but my wife was. This space became the obvious choice for the run. It gave us space for a 170 SF run which should give the chicks plenty of space to be comfortable. I built the run with some permanence because I wanted it to add to the landscaping and we really do intend to keeps chickens around for a While. The run was built with 1/2" hardware cloth around the bottom and 2"x4" welded wire around the top. I also dropped hardware cloth into the ground for the diggers. I worked hard to make this run safe and pest free. the lower 3ft has no gaps bigger than the hardware cloth. Where we are the predators are coyotes, skunks, rattle snakes, owls and hawks and the pests include mice. I roofed the run with galvanized metal roofing to keep the run mostly dry and for the birds of prey. The run was not so cheap. I had to use all new materials since I could not find any 8ft posts in the dumpster or galvanized roofing however I did have the stucco guy give me 3 rolls of chicken wire (did not use). the run took 4 full days of construction and about $700. This was a little more expensive and time consuming due to the corner door that my wife just had to have.
Today we took the chicks out to their new home and for the first time since March 11th I had time to enjoy my backyard and just sip on a coke. The chicks got comfortable with their new run real quick then they discovered the coop any basically refused to come out now but i guess they will figure it out. Watching the chickens run around and sipping my coke was the best day ever after so much work.
one of the huge reasons we wanted to do chickens was for our kids. We dont live on a farm but we feel like this can give our kids a little taste of that lifestyle with some responsibility and the enjoyment of having animals that provide our family with something. Thanks BYC for all the good info to prep us for this new adventure. let me know what you all think or let me know if I missed something. still a lot to learn.
Edited by ammocan - 4/8/16 at 11:55pm