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Am I out of line thinking I can do this?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by qtrtilldawn, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. qtrtilldawn

    qtrtilldawn Hatching

    Oct 27, 2012
    Hello everyone, my real name is Ron, my screen name is abbreviation of: Quarter Till Dawn - long story, tell you later. Now this is another long story.

    Anyway, this site is more like friends helping friends rather than ‘my way or no way’. I like all the different thoughts of how to do things. I, as most people know, every situation is different. So we all need to pick and choose what works for our particular situation.

    Well, I really do have a question. Couple things first to set up the question:

    I am handicapped, wheelchair bound, (accident), so I am healthy and strong enough to get around.

    I am handy with building anything needed, but SSD doesn’t leave me much money to buy stuff to build with. Although I have or can get most everything needed, (I sit all day, I got a big mouth).

    OKAY, here goes, I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, (planting zone - 6 or 7), on about an acre with neighbors, no problems, others have chickens around here.

    To make it easier for me, I wanted to put my coop and a covered run under my deck, (covered deck, upstairs), it is about 470 sq..ft. total. That way, the chickens have a non-snow / rain run, although we have minimal snow here. But it is next to a heated basement where I can store supplies, come out the door to feed, clean and collect eggs.

    Also makes it easier to feed and water, if need be, I have hot & cold running water right there. Plus a window I could use to set up feeders & waterers right there as well as easy to run power for lights and/or coop heaters.

    Because the way the deck post are, I wanted to build a 70 sq. ft. (10’ X 7’), coop with nesting boxes outside on the wall to allow more floor space, several roost with drawer type poop-box (s) under. Then later use that ¼ inch hardware cloth under the coop for baby chicks hiding place, (later).

    Then the other end take about a 10’ X 10’ section to cull out the roosters until I can butcher and/or sell. With a much smaller coop for roosting if I get to many, just to keep them warm.

    Then a fenced 20’ X 30’ outside run, unprotected except for fencing, during good days. Then when I’m here, let them out all together in the evenings to hunt bugs and stuff.

    Gonna get Rhode Island Reds, straight run from a hatchery and hope for close to a 50 / 50, in early spring. Find the best Roo and all the hens and keep in the main area, cull the rest of the roosters in the little area until ready to butcher.

    Hoping for a dozen hens. With all my studying, the general food cost compared to selling most eggs should offset most feed cost, then sell off a few whole live culled Roo’s, butcher and freeze the rest. I’m hoping I will be close to a break even situation, (less the initial cost of pen & coop, etc).

    Then, with good cleaning, is that too close to the house for smells. Noise doesn’t matter to me, I kinda like it, (cept it may make me sleep in). I have access to plenty of hay and wood shavings, and will have a compost to take the old stuff.

    Around here, range chicken eggs sell for $3.50 to $6 a dozen, but I priced regular food, not organic. So the lower end. Live chickens sell for $14 to $25. Again, I’ll assume the lower end. That’s live to butcher, these are RIR, not a fancy breed.

    Am I out of line, am I reading too much into this and will be in for a total shock? Barring the initial cost, is this feasible?

    Thanks, sorry this was so long, but I want to do this right.

  2. Welcome to BYC![​IMG]

    In regard to cost, I think a lot of it has to do with you, and not the chickens. When we got into chickens (it's only been a month) we figured well...it's not going to cost that much, really...just buy a couple of basic hens to pop out eggs, build a small coop and we're all set.

    Well, then I came here to BYC and everything changed. LOL! I just had to have beautiful chickens instead of basic ones. Then I had to have a beautiful coop instead of a basic one. Then I had to get gourmet chicken feed instead of "that other stuff" (which is actually better for them than the gourmet stuff, I compared the ingredients and nutritional values).

    SO..if you stick to your guns and don't go crazy over the costly, and really unnecessary things - it's definitely cost effective.

    Not only that but you can also farm your own mealworms easily, and maggots too [insert vomit here].

    Chickens don't need much...it's some people who end up spending a lot of money on things "for the chickens" that are really not a necessity for their chickens, but only for their own distorted sense of self worth. (I'm guilty of the keeping up with the Joneses mentality).

    Others know exactly what they're doing and willingly share their knowledge on this board all the time - so I'd stick around if I were you. =) I hope they chime into your thread here.

    I think your plan sounds awesome.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
    2 people like this.
  3. ChemicalchiCkns

    ChemicalchiCkns In the Brooder

    Oct 27, 2012
    Can you post a Drawing or Picture? Many are not good at visualizing from Figures, but I can look @ an Immage and offer an Oppinion. As to the Sizes you say, it will depend on how many chiCkens you order for your Coop.

    One Thing occurs to me: 10 Feet by 10 Feet is little Space for many Cocks and no Hens. You might instead Tag the valuable One, and when Ready to dispence with the Term of them, select them out of the whole Flock.

    Just my Ideas...
  4. qtrtilldawn

    qtrtilldawn Hatching

    Oct 27, 2012
    Thanks so much for your reply. Just what I said before - good friends talking to good friends. I have been going through here, (and the internet in general), since before last Spring but decided to study a bit more before I jumped into this.

    Loose a few dollars I can handle that, loose a few chickens because of my being stupid, I can't handle that. Yeah, I'll butcher some, but if they die for other reasons it will kill me. [And yeah, I'm ex Military and shot people, but animals in my control, no way, I still have tear ducts].

    Pen, coop, runs are not really a cost factor, it is the food and medications, (if needed), that scare me. [I can buy a horse for $300, but it cost 7+ that a year to take care of it]. Is that comparable to a chicken(s)?

    BTW, I posted a large, varied post that is hard to answer, but I want to thank you for, (no offense), your two cents. Every little bit helps.
  5. qtrtilldawn

    qtrtilldawn Hatching

    Oct 27, 2012

    I am working on actual images, my design, etc. Just I mowed my older neighbors yard today, (she's 93 today, but she was outside burning brush - tough old broad), She don't know it, but I watch her cause she is frickin crazy, we live on a pretty steep hill.

    I did however, ask her if it would be okay for me to have chickens - she'd love it. Even if they made it to her house and pooped on her carport. I tried all BAD aspects of owning chickens, it all comes down to cost.

    Bout 15 years ago or so, I had chickens here when I had a wife, mostly those feathered foot, or fancy stuff. The best was a Golden Seabright that was sick, I medicated close to the house, then she stayed at the house. Next she slept with my 65 pound dog, then she rode the lawn mower with me, (still don't know how she saw bugs), but she did. Came in the dog door, I gave up, made a box for her inside.

    Don't know if Seabrights are different than other chickens, but they can fly. Not far, but far enough. More than once, I had to stop on the road to take her with me in the car. She would fly a bit and chase me down the road. Stop, pick her up, then she was as happy as a,,,, well happy as a chicken. She liked riding in the car.

    That alone kills me having chickens, I pet them, (meaning I will make them a pet, not stroke them), I will have to butcher a few and collect eggs to make it worth while. So I think I am out of my league.
  6. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    first of all Welcome [​IMG] from the San Diego High desert and a fellow mobility disabled person. Not in a wheel chair yet but will be eventually. Arthrits/snapped ACL surgery... Yata yata. I work from a walker.... My name is deb.

    You are Not out of line at all. Sounds like you have thought it out quite a bit.

    With regard to cleaning. Most of the poo in the coop is deposited after they go to roost. If you can hang a Poop hammoc under the main roosts then your clean up is a breeze. Key in the words Poop Hammock and you will see what I am talking about. There have been a couple of discussions here on the subject. The nice part about using one is you dont have to clean as often and you dont need shavings or straw to dry the poo out.

    I would suggest using shavings if its availble in your area. Straw is very heavy when it gets wet and hard to manage if you cant stand up to use your leg muscles to lift. I rake and scoot as I clean bringing the dirty stuff along with me till I can get it to a container for disposal. Shavings compost very well too. I use them in nest boxes too.

  7. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    It sounds like you have done a lot of research and are off the a great start. I definitely think you can do it. One thing that I have learned keeping chickens though is that they are not the hardiest of creatures. They live outside, are prone to various aliments and have LOTS of predators. I think at some point you will lose some. I do not want to discourage you - I just want to be honest about my experience. It is sad but it doesn't mean its your fault.

    Your chickens will have the most fun and a richer diet if you let them free range but you open yourself up to more loss. I take that risk but it is something you have to decide personally. I would make sure they aren't under the deck all day and they get plenty of light.

    I would make sure to stock up on the preventatives - the natural ones aren't too expensive. I would recommend reading about DE (food grade diatomaceous earth) for mites, pumpkin for worms, plain yogurt for healthy crop bacteria and apple cider vinegar for overall health. You can farm mealworms or grow fodder indoors if you are interested for super healthy snacks. Both are cheap and easy (feel free to PM for info on either). None of these things are treatments if the birds have a serious problem because they aren't strong enough but they should help these problems from occurring.

    I personally don't take my chickens to the vet. Vets with chicken experience are a little hard to find and I decided in advance of getting them that I was not going to pay hundreds of dollars in vet bills on very inexpensive birds that I was likely going to eat in the future. Some people do take them to the vet. Either decision is a fine one. I would call around and see what your options are and decide what you might do. There are a lot of treatments you can do on your own. I do a lot of reading and take care of everything myself. I have had loses but I have also had some very exciting successes.

    Just some things to think about I guess.

    The one thing I would consider with keeping the birds so close to your house is flies and mice really like chicken feed/poo, so be ready to deal with that.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012

  8. Ron, for the most part I think you have given the project a lot of thought and it is doable. I would sugest that you spend time reading this thread from the very beginning
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-horrors-anyone-want-to-follow-their-progress The question I have is how much natural light do you have under the deck? And of course the biggest problem is preditors. That alone will dictate how your coop and run should be built and the expense. Anyway, have a read through.... there is so much good info in that thread and "the Old Timers" Thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...l-up-a-rockin-chair-and-lay-some-wisdom-on-us. Much food for thought.

    The other thing is to weigh how much loss you might run into free-ranging as opposed to loss from health issues if you don't. I didn't think I could free-range in the beginning because of preditors...but I do it now, just bit the bullet and worked into it. And I started with a mixed flock of "pet" chickens. I think you grow with your chickens. The two threads above were not around when we first started a few months back. If they had been I would have done things differently from the beginning. No matter though, you tweek your plan as you go. it's just so much easier if you have the info from the beginning.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012
  9. Carols Clucks

    Carols Clucks Songster

    Oct 13, 2010
    Personally, I don't think I would use the under deck space only because it will be harder to clean out.

    My mom is the one that takes principal care of the chickens at her house. She is 89 and lives alone, but I am usually there a few days a week and just live 15minutes away. I do everything thinking of how easy I can make it for her. I made a coop that is raised to waist height to keep her out of it and make it easy to clean. (I catch her climbing in it though....) Both ends open all the way so we can use a hoe at one end and a wheel barrow at the other and a few good pushes and the coop is clean. We have been using wood chips but I plan on changing to sand soon and then we can use a light plastic horse rack to clean up. I need to add some poop boards, I am going to make mine so they rotate down to an easier level to clean. All of the pop doors open from the outside with ropes

    I bought almost all new materials to make mine. We had a bad coop for so long and live in $$ area with the coop visible from the street. But I have seen some wonderful coops made from free pallets.

    I am making a 12x12 stepping stone walk way around the whole thing, I know that would be hard for you to do on your own, but maybe a few friends could help. I buy the stepping stones about $20 worth at a time when they go on sale at Home Depot.
  10. Chicken Slave

    Chicken Slave In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2012
    Sounds like you have a good plan. I started in May, chose to use cedar to build by pen and other things with to prevent bugs and rot w/out applying anything. It was a little more expensive and my coop was a prebuilt playhouse size house built by a local builder for a tv ad. Pella windows and all.haha So I had a head start right off the bat. Def. utilize the under deck space. Keep it clean and you won't smell anything too bad, especially if you keep that door closed. I have seven hens and the smell only gets bad after about a week and then is only about 10' away. If you can keep them in the run most of the time, you won't have to worry much. Access is everything for you so remember that when you rake the coop and pen area to clean, removing the waste is the hardest part. Have fun w/ it, endure the problems, and you'll reap the rewards. I endured some local snakes taking my chicks undetected until it tried to eat one that was too big. He got greedy and lost....

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