1ST try with laying hens.....Please help

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by celticfarmer, May 1, 2009.

  1. celticfarmer

    celticfarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2009
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    I am in northern minnesota and I am going to try and get some eggs out of these girls. I have pretty much decided on Buff Orpingtons, but I am open to suggestions. I have a pretty decent amount of space available so I would like to free range them alot.

    I also am designing my own coop and am not sure how big everything needs to be. I won't be having more than 6 hens and no roos for now.

    Any or all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Hello, [​IMG] from South Carolina!

    My climate is so different, I wouldn't dare advise you on breeds, coop design or anything else. But keep researching in the Index above, and you'll find what you need pretty fast!


    [​IMG]
     
  3. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    do a search on here for coop contest. we just had it and there are some amazing ideas put to work and photographed to answer this question. Good luck!
     
  4. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    Quote:Plan on 4'sq per bird for the house, and 10' for the run (or more).
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    For northern MN I'd suggest more, possibly lots more indoor space. Remember they may not want to go outside much during parts of the winter. Mine have 15 sq ft per chicken indoors (plus run), and based on seeing their behavior in this and smaller size pens I would not want to go much smaller than that personally. Everyone has different philosophies about what's acceptible lifestyle for their animals, though.

    Don't let anyone try to tell you you need a small cramped coop for cold winters, btw. Hogwash. It is real easy to knock together something to concentrate their body heat in a small area -- partition off part of coop, hover or drop ceiling over roost, etc etc -- so you CAN keep them warm even in a large coop.

    Good luck, ahve fun,

    Pat
     
  6. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Leesville, SC
    Do what Pat says on this. I dont even have to read her response and I can tell you that much.


    (And no I actually didnt read it - take her on faith.)
     
  7. celticfarmer

    celticfarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2009
    Northern MN
    I can feel safe trusting anyone who is labeled as a "flock mistress" that sounds important to me.

    Any breed suggestions for my particular region?
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  8. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    In Northern climes, the birds need a well insulated coop with much ventilation. Do remember that.

    As for breeds I believe you said BO's? Those wll do.
     
  9. sugarbush

    sugarbush Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pea combs are less likely to get frost bite...something to keep in mind. Use 1 or 2x4s laid flat as roosts so the birds can sit down on them and cover their feet....If you use round roosts that they have to hold onto their toes will be exposed and frost bite.
     
  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Quote:This is right - providing you don't insulate.
    A properly insulated coop should be able to keep the interior temp above hard freezing. It doesnt have to be toasty warm, but freezing or just over is a good goal for a number of reasons. Wide side 2 x 4's would be just fine.
    However, the wider the differential between outside temp and inside temp, the greater air movement will be and thus air-exchange ventilation.
    In cold climates the greatest danger is moisture. Chicken manure is 70% water and it adds up fast in a coop that cannot ventiltate. So add insualtion to the recommended minimums for poultry:
    Zone 1 (N. MN) - R 8-10 for walls, R10-15 for ceilings. If you can manage more, so much the better.
    Then allow plenty of hi-low flow through ventilation.

    I would also consider that dreaded '4sq ft /bird' number as minimum space allowance inside. Again, the more you can give the better. I'd suggest a coop that is 8 x 8, with the lowest practical ceiling that allows you to work inside.

    Northern MN is a unique climate and the pea combed birds are a good choice there. That is a great recommendation. A bird of that type that is both commonly available and has done well there is the Wyandotte. There are others, from the rare to the oddball, but for your first time, go with simple. You should consider looking around a little locally, too, and see what others are keeping in your locale. What works for them should work for you.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2009

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