1/3 Acre- Urban Chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rvachickens, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. rvachickens

    rvachickens In the Brooder

    Apr 10, 2013
    Hey all,

    I have 1/3 of an acre in an urban/sub-urban area of Richmond VA and need some advise on what sort of coop to set up and how to raise my chickens. I would like to do a 'limited' range sort of thing so that chickens can graze a bit but can't escape. We are allowed up to 4 hens.

    My Space:
    We have a chain link fence around our backyard with some bamboo in the back. We have hawks, owls, and racoons in the area.

    I'm not sure if we should do a stationary coop, fence, tractor... generally overwhelmed with the option!

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
  2. thriftyfarmer

    thriftyfarmer In the Brooder

    Aug 24, 2013
    I'll address the tractor option. Others can chime in on the other options.

    Size of Tractor: My rule of thumb is 3 square feet per bird and move the tractor every day. You want to raise 4 hens, so that would be at least 12 square feet of space. A 6ft X 2ft tractor would be easy enough to move around and you could easily put wheels on it with a nesting box.

    Here are a few styles that would work: (If you are a DIY kind of person.)

    The City Chicken (Don't get overwhelmed!)

    Or you can always buy one:

    The Omlet by Eglu

    Frequency of Moves: I would move it every day. If you have to leave it for a couple days, that will be okay, but I would expect some bare ground in that spot. If you need to leave it for a couple days in one spot (while on vacation for instance) you might put it over a gardening spot that is barren or weedy.

    Feed: Four hens won't eat much and if you feed them kitchen scraps they will eat even less. Because they are limited to their tractor, I would always make sure to feed them at least 6 oz. of mixed feed per day, per bird or 24 oz. total. (a commercial complete ration mix). Any kind of container will work as long as they can all get access to the feed at the same time. In other words, limit competition at feeding time.

    Grit: This is one of the most overlooked needs of a chicken. By layer size grit in 50# bags if you can. Its MUCH cheaper that way. We use the "Developer" size from Gran-I-Grit. Ask your local coop if they can get it. I know the Staunton, VA, COOP carries that brand.

    Water: Any chicken waterer will do. 4 hens don't drink much water.

    Hope this helps!

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  3. yogifink

    yogifink Songster

    May 16, 2013
    Pinebluff, nc
    My Coop
    Some of my chickens have no problem getting up and over a chain link fence. If you have preditors I would do a perminate enclosed coop.
  4. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    You could make a traditional coop with a large run separated into sections if you wanted to preserve the grass. You could rotate which section they use. My run is 16 x 20 for what is now 9 chickens. Of course, nothing grows in the run any longer.

    My chickens forage freely all day, so they don't spend a lot of time in the run. When I am out of town, they stay in the run. The run has fencing 6 feet tall with and apron around the bottom extending 24 inches out.

    There are so many options. It seems to me that you need to decide on fixed coop and run or a tractor of some sort.

  5. rvachickens

    rvachickens In the Brooder

    Apr 10, 2013
    Thanks everyone! I'll probably go with the tractor---no real attachment to my lawn; mostly weeds anyway! I appreciate everyones comments and generally helpful nature :)
  6. pipemum

    pipemum Songster

    Apr 8, 2013
    I can't recommend enough the Garden Coop for urban lots. They have a tractor plan too. Man, I should be paid to promote them. Anyway, awesome plans, easy for a newbie to build and modify by herself (me, for instance) is completely functional and contained, and looks fan-freaking-tastic. http://www.thegardencoop.com/

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: