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Am I a bad father?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ssteiner, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. ssteiner

    ssteiner Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Orange, CA
    Well I'm new to all this chicken business, but I've seen so much good advice on the boards here I thought I'd toss this out.

    Several friends own chickens so my wife and I decided to join the crowd. We already have two dogs and a cat, along with a 2 1/2 year old who loves animals. So we got two chicks (a Buff Orpington and Rhode Island Red) about 7 weeks ago. They lived inside until last recently, where I put them in their new home during the day, which I did for about a week. Then last weekend they stayed overnight in their coop. They're fully feathered and here in Southern California, it doesn't drop below 50 degrees at night. I run out there every morning to check on them and they're happy as clams.

    Here's my question: is my coop design okay? I've employed a former small doghouse. It's about 30 inches long by 20 inches wide by 24 inches high. I've filled it with wood shavings. Then I attached a 2X6 foot run made of PVC pipe wrapped sides and top with chicken wire. The door to the dog house corresponds to the only opening on the run. What do you think of this design? They seem quite happy so far. Thanks for any input.
  2. setter4

    setter4 Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Central Pennsylvania
    Sounds fine to me. Can you move it around at all to give them fresh areas to forage on?
  3. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    Could a cat or dog rip into it if they got into your yard?
    That's the only thing that would worry me...

    And!!!! [​IMG]
  4. RIVERA69R

    RIVERA69R Songster 10 Years

    Jun 9, 2008
    "They say" rule of thumb is about 4sq ft per chicken in the coop. But only 2 chickens should be just fine in there just make sure you have a nest box about 1'x1' and you roost and you should be good. Also when supervised let them roam the yard if fenced in.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi, welcome to BYC!

    In terms of chicken-friendliness your designs seems ok to me. They would appreciate extra run space, especially if this coop stays in one place rather than moving around the yard -- people usually do something more along the lines of 10 sq ft per chicken of run space, as a MINIMUM, which would be like 4x5 ish OR MORE for two chickens.

    In terms of user-friendliness I assume you're satisfied with how easily you can get into the doghouse part to clean, so that's prolly fine too [​IMG]

    You will want to think about predator-proofing though, I think. The doghouse needs to be tied SECURELY to the run, so a dog or whatever can't pry them apart to get in the opening, and both need to be affixed quite firmly to the ground, again vs dogs and such, and it would be wise to have some sort of a wire mesh apron (or the equivalent in function) around the edges of everything so that nobody can dig down and go underneath the walls. I realize that if you live in the city or suburbs you may be thinking "no predators here!" but raccoons are almost ubiquitous in the US, loose dogs can get almost anywhere, and even your OWN dog could do who-knows-what in a moment when you're looking the other way. Honest, read the Predators and Pests part of this forum to see aaallllllll the 'lost my chickens' posts from people who were POSITIVE that either their dog would never ever hurt a chicken or that they would always, without fail, have him under adequate supervision and control.

    Have fun, welcome to chickens,

  6. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    You did good, but you know you need a bigger coop very soon,so bring your lumber and start building,at 12 weeks old you will see them much bigger,I am amaized how chicken get big so fast.

    Good luck.
  7. ssteiner

    ssteiner Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Orange, CA
    Thank you all for the feedback. The whole run only weighs a few pounds, since its made of PVC and chicken wire, so it's quite easy to move around.
    I've run bricks along the entire perimeter to prevent any critters from getting in underneath.

    The coop itself is pushed up against the run and held there with two cinderblocks at the rear of the coop which seem to do a fine job of keeping the coop fixed in place.

    The doghouse/coop has a roof that snaps off, so cleaning it is actually quite easy. I let them out on weekends for several hours. Curiously, they never venture more than a few feet from their coop, even when free ranging.

    Only one bit of drama so far, Judy, my Buff Orpington, got her head stuck in the chicken wire while reaching into her run from the outside for a drink of water. I heard her squeaking and ran out there and freed her. Otherwise things going very well. Thank you all again.
  8. You might be happier replacing the chicken wire with hardware cloth...it also keeps small predators out...of curse you'd have to house the two little cuties elsewhere for an hour or so...

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