Any Tips For First Timers???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kidwithchickens, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. kidwithchickens

    kidwithchickens New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2016
    Hi! I'm just starting out with chickens. I havent ordered them yet. My family is stuggling with the coop. Any ideas (pictures, tips, plans) I've decided on the breeds Orpington and Brahma. Any tips for those breeds? I would love to see pictures! Thanks for your help!
     
  2. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wish that we built a coop that was tall enough for me to walk in, standing up fully. And be sure that you have predator proof locks(two for each door) Also, don't waste your money on buying a pre-made run. I almost guarantee you will build an extension on it if you have a handy husband or dad. You learn a lot after raising your first flock:) You'll be so much more equipped. Even if you read all the blogs, nothing can really measure up to raising them and looking stuff up as they come along. I would have probiotics on hand. Good luck raising them!! You'll have so much fun!! Feel free to ask more questions
     
  3. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also sorta wish that we just bought a shed and made it chicken proof. You might need to add more vents/better locks, nesting boxes and roosting poles, but it is just SO much space.

    Also, I recently switched to sand in my run and it makes things 100% times cleaner and easier to clean up their poo. Just grab a litter box shovel thing and swift through it once per day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  4. Soylent Chick

    Soylent Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found this thread to be very helpful:
    Coop Builders - What would you have changed or done differently?
    Lot's of inspiration here too: BYC Coops and here

    I don't have any pics on hand and it's dark out but here's what my coop looks like. It is inside a covered run which is currently tarped on one side for wind protection. It's elevated on stilts so I can put the waterer and feeder under it. The hens also like to hang out there and helps maximize the square footage in the run. The front is basically a giant door so I can access the interior easily for cleaning. (Daily cleanings really don't take more than 5 mins. Yay!) The roof is slanted so they won't be tempted to get up there and poop. The hens' door is hinged on the bottom so it becomes a "porch" when it's open. I ditched the usual ladder/stairs and the individual nest boxes. It's a communal style nest box with it's own access hatch to retrieve eggs. No issues with this coop yet.
     
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  5. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Remember you need lots of ventilation with the coop. The upper vents can be big but make sure your roosts are lower than the vents so that no cold breeze blows on the birds during winter. I have my vents tucked under the eaves so they don't get much wind and get no rain. Unlike beb444 I don't want a coop I can stand in. Am perfectly happy to have large doors to aid in cleaning. My coop is 6' by 8' and there is 2 feet of space under the coop. The girls like to hang out in the area under the coop for shade in summer and a dry place to be out of the rain. We also used a piece of linoleum for the floor. Sure makes cleaning the coop easy.

    No matter what you do you may find that you want to change things in a couple years. This is my second coop. I have changed waterers and feeders at least 5 or 6 times. After 4 years I think I finally have a system that works for me.

    If you are in an area with a lot of 4 legged predators, read about electric poultry netting. Many people use it including myself. It has protected the girls very well when there is a fox or raccoon hanging around the neighborhood.
     
  6. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer Premium Member

    Access of some kind that doesn't make you have to bend, crouch, twist, duck, etc etc. I saw a fellow on youtube cleaning his coop, and it opened on both sides. All he had to do was push the bedding out into a wheelbarrow parked alongside. If I was building a coop from scratch, I'd do that, have the whole thing able to open up for cleaning.
     
  7. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm brand spankin' new at this myself and have had my first flock of 25 (16 Barred Rocks and 9 Leghorns) for two weeks tomorrow. I made the brooder and coop/run about 200% bigger than what I originally estimated I'd need since I figured you could always reduce space if need be but making it bigger is a lot tougher, and I'm glad I did. My brooder is a repurposed play set and is 7'X4' but the gals seem happy in it. They've been stretching out quite a bit and practicing flying around which they wouldn't have been able to do in a small brooder. So far I haven't had any problems (knock-knock) and I attribute some of that to low stress due to having enough room. I'm still working on my run but my 8'X8' coop is done and the 8'X24' run should be done in another week or so. The gals seem really used to me and my wife and I think it's because we go out in the garage where the brooder is at and talk to them a lot. They'll take chick feed right out of our hands and greet us when we walk in. I've read a lot about leghorn's being flighty but only some of mine are; most are just as friendly and curious as the Barred Rocks. I'm having a whole lot of fun with this and had no idea it would be so enjoyable. I'm even thinking about possibly getting ducks and turkeys too. I've always been heavy into vegetable gardening and hobby farm stuff but now I feel like I have a complete setup with the birds. I can see doing this for the rest of my days - it's a real blast!
     
  8. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lots of great suggestions. I've heard lots of good things about both breeds you've picked; mainly for egg laying, I would guess.

    We'd be able to help a lot more if you tell us what general area of the world you live in, so we have an idea of your climate.
    This can make a big difference with what is recommended.

    What kind of predators do you have? (You have them, even if you don't think you do. They may be raccoons, dogs, hawks/eagles or wild predators).
    Do you plan to free range in your back yard? Is a rooster permitted in your yard?

    How many chickens do you want, and you REALLY think you won't get more? They are addicting.

    And @ejcrist is right. They are SO MUCH FUN.
     
  9. kidwithchickens

    kidwithchickens New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2016

    Thank you! We live in North America. We have a (badly) fenced in yard, but we are redoing it. We live right in front of woods, so we have many predators. Foxes, coyotes, dogs, cats ect. We are really having trouble picking and predator proofing our coop.

    Another thing I'm having trouble with is trying not to get the Brahma fat! I know they can eat a lot (we are not free ranging), and I don't want them to get over wait. Thanks for your help!
     
  10. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Vancouver, Wa.
    We'd still need to know more about your climate, because Texas vs Maine is a lot different, of course.

    Have you looked through the Coop section? Pick the # of hens you think you'll end up with (accounting for adds over the years) and then look at Large, Medium or Small coops.

    *Make your run LARGE if you are not free ranging, even for a few chickens. Something like 20-30' long.
    *use 1/2" hardware cloth on all coop openings/vents attached with screws/washers or pneumatic staples.
    *use snap locks with carabiners or something similar on all doors.
    *use welded wire on the run, sides and top. In addition, add 1/2" hardware mesh on the lower 3' and fan it out 2' as an 'apron', then secure the apron with 12" staples and backfill with soil or gravel.
    (that's a lot of wire, and can be costly, but it's what you have to do if you want to predator proof a coop and run as best as you can).
     

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