I've started my coop and have placed an order for 10 chicks expected to arrive at the end of April. I decided to start with 8 hens and 2 roosters. Selected Black Australorps for being a hearty breed.
Edited by Imakedo - 4/4/12 at 2:51am
I feel I have know-how I just lack the experience. My cuts and measurements haven't exactly been the greatest. Looking closely at one of the middle trusses you can see the pitch or angle is slightly off. So I'm not overly fond of the quality but in the end the chickens aren't going to care how it looks. It just needs to keep them dry and safe from predators.
I'm going to eventually have 4 runs coming off of it. The three trusses laying horizontal on the right will form two outside fences and a divider. I plan to do the same with the other side but lack enough wire fencing to do it.
I would like to let them free range but too many things likely to snatch them up. Neighbors on both sides have dogs, occasionally have entered our yard. I've seen hawks carrying off small birds. Used to have a metal tub sitting on the porch that collected rainwater. Also collected junebugs. Had a coon come up one night and give the wife a fright. Apparently he was fishing out some treats and his body wight had tipped the bucket. Once he hopped off it came crashing back down. Owls and coons are nocturnal though so they wouldn't be as much of a concern as dogs and hawks.
No, more likely I'll fashion a pair of trusses into a tractor I can move around the yard. Maybe when I'm better established I'll let them free-range. Starting out it's too much of a risk for me.
I'm sure a good a rooster can fend off a cat or dog but starting out with so few chickens I can't afford to lose one. That's part of the reason I ordered two roosters. I want one to fall back on if anything should happen to the first. Original the plan was to get 5 or 6 chickens already at laying age. When I decided to go with chicks I went with more with "just is case" in mind. I'll probably keep them in a single run until they get older and then split the roosters into their own flocks later. If I can get the other two runs built I might be able to cycle the flocks so the greenery has time to recover and grow back.