Alternative options for coops and lots of newbie questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MasonMom3, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. MasonMom3

    MasonMom3 New Egg

    Mar 26, 2012
    Hello! I have been checking out this wonderful site for a few days in my quest to start raising a few chickens to provide our family with fresh eggs. I have lots of questions if someone would be nice enough to help me I would greatly appreciate it =) First, I would like to provide a coop without spending a lot of money. I am looking for alternative options for coops such as the kids playhouse or doghouse. Does anyone have other ideas? Does the coop need to be completely enclosed or can the front be open? Does the nest boxes have to be in the coop or can they be inside another shelter next to the coop? I was thinking of using covered cat litter boxes for nests till we were able to do something else? Do you even need a coop?? We live in north florida and we get some cold/freezing nights but the day warms up. I have a dog pen I am going to use for their run and put some smaller fencing around the bottom portion. We have a tarp over the top and the area is under trees which asks another question, do chickens need full sunlight? I plan on letting them out some during the day when I am out in the yard also as we have hawks. Another question about coops, do you need to close it up at night with the chickens in it or leave the door open so they can still go out to the run? Do you need to leave food and water in it? I am so sorry for so many simply questions, I have read several articles but none seem to answer these basic questions. Thank you so much!
  2. QuakerMom

    QuakerMom Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2012
    You need to close them up at night to protect against a myriad number of predators.
    I am new too, don't know answers to all your questions, but definitely think you'll need a secure place for them to stay at night.
  3. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2012
    [​IMG] There are several threads that have pics of coops people use.They go from cheap to really nice. The size of your coop depends on the number of chickens you'll be keeping. Most recomend four square feet per bird in the coop and about 10 square feet in the run. Generally any predator proof housing can be used. In Florida you probably could get away with a three sided structure to keep the wind and rain off if the run is secure.. The dog run is what I've been planning on too. Don't know what kind of predators tou might encounter but a skirt on the bottom either buried at an angle or sticking out just underground to prevent digging under might be necessary as well as something to prevent animals from climbing over the top also. They don't need direct sun and probably would like the shade in the summer. Best practice unless your run is predator proof is to lock them in a night. They won't go out at night anyways. Many people leave the food and water in the coop and posibly additional water in the run. Lots of good information here at BYC.
  4. Alesia

    Alesia Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2012
    all very good questions i was thinking of using a large outdoor type dog kennel for a coop also but i think that i would still put some kind of "house" in it so they could be out of the way of any preditors still trying to figure out quite what yet has any one tried a multi level coop to save space?

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