Found this mainly "Florida" thread particularly with regards to Pinellas County, St. Pete, New Port Richey, etc. THIS is just the type of forum community I need.
My First 6 Chickens
My chicks are about anywhere from 4-7 weeks old (I think) and are inside the house in a spare room while I slave away all day everyday working on their coop & run. So far the whole main support structure is up. I made it all out of 1.5" thick walled PVC and lots.... I mean LOTS of connector T's and some 90's. The whole thing is about 14 ft long, 5.5 ft wide, and 5.5 ft tall. Certainly big enough to walk into. I need to get some pictures posted now that it is all glued together & painted BRIGHT BARN RED. Still trying to convince myself it didn't make a bad decision to not paint it usual green or brown or something boring. You can picture it as one big, long rectangle. The whole thing sits up on a box made of 2 x 6's to make it completely level & square, and give me some place to attach and bury some wire.
Being in FL and living every day as a battle against the heat & humidity I know the coop area needs lots of ventilation. I have read so many posts and looked at so many pictures so I have an ok idea of what I am going to do.
Basically I have a PVC run, plus a stand for the actual hen house to set on all made of PVC. It's very very sturdy. I am going to use standard 1" chicken wire on all of the run area (where they will have freely confined space to roam over all day) Now I need to design a box to sit on that pvc stand and fit up into the corner of the large chicken wire cage basically that will act as their coop.
Here's The Question:
For those that have done this in the St. Pete/Tampa- and Surrounding areas, how much needs to be actual solid walls. The floor will be, the roof will be rain proof, but as far as the for walls go. I was thinking of making one wall plywood, with the nesting boxes on that wall. then the other three walls basically a wood frame with 90% of the exposed surface 1/2" Hardware Cloth. Of course a pophole door too leading down into the run. I know I need predator protection at night, and I can't really have a traditional wooden closed in coop cuz It'll get real nasty real fast in St. Pete. Now I also know it needs to be ok in the winter (which I read shouldn't be a problem at all really) but more so of a worry, is that the walls being made of hardware cloth will let in a lot of rain gusts and that hurricanes may be a problem this time of they year. Also, I know that I see raccoons occasionally and opossums too so will a secure 1/2" hardware cloth cage for the coop be safe from predators. (I am picturing it like a rabbit cage +nest boxes, roost, etc)
For those of you that have made a coop in St. Pete/Tampa/Pinellas County area and used a very open design and suggestions (and more importantly pics) would be so much appreciated. Any suggestions on how to make it so that it CAN close all up in very cold weather (hahahaha, as if we get that EVER here) and severe thunderstorms???
More pics of my progress tomorrow. It got too dark outside after I finished painting before I could take some pics.
Any suggestions on roofing material on the cheap. I think I'll also need to shade the run (half in, half out of shady trees) or maybe even make the top of it rainproof. Suggestions?
The chickens can get under their coop (its about a 35" clearance from the ground outside up to the bottom of the floor of their coop, that I hope will serve as rain shelter for them if they are out during the day... or do they just run back into the coop to get away from the rain? Also, the spot under the coop floor is where I imagined putting the waterer & feeder, after I thought about putting them farther out in the run hung from one of the support pieces of PVC (I realized they & their food would get rained on there)
Looking forward to talking to some local chicken lovers. Message me if you are in the area. I'd love to chat. Thanks Everyone!
-Runnins with predators in St. Pete???
-Anyone have a roster in this city & tips to calm the neighbors???
-Does keeping a light on in the run help deter predators???
-How does this all work with anyone who has fruit rats in the yard???