Building a coop, tractor or fixed, weather tight, size

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by intowncntrygirl, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. intowncntrygirl

    intowncntrygirl New Egg

    Mar 11, 2014
    We live in town. We are in the process of finding out if we can have a few chickens. Planning ahead in case they say yes-

    We live in the Sioux Falls area of South Dakota- So whatever we do has to consider the weather/wind we have here.

    1-tractor or fixed? We have a nice sized yard for in town. Unfenced. about 2/3 of an acre. Besides the house we have a large garage/shop and a small garden shed. We plan to have a small garden as well. I can't decide what would be best for us. Part of me says that it would be best for the chickens to have more space to roam on by having a tractor that we can move around. Part of me thinks that it would be better if we had a fixed building that had electricity and lights for winter time-heating the water. Thoughts?

    2- size. I would love to have anywhere from 4-6 chickens. That seems like a reasonable number for in town I think. I would not be opposed to 8. What size should I be looking at making the coop/run?

    Any other thoughts you have to share would be fine as well. I am kinda new to this. :)
    Thank you!

    PS- Oh, I am looking at getting Austorlorpe, wyandotte or buff orpingtons (or was it buff rocks)
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Did you know you can get Buff Wyanodottes? It’s hard to narrow it down since there are so many good choices out there.

    There are so many different ways you can do these things it is just ridiculous. There is not a right way or a wrong way, just the way you decide is best for you.

    If you have a garden, you’ll need to keep the chickens out, maybe by fencing the chickens out of the garden or fencing the chickens in a run.

    There are different ways of doing a tractor. If you totally enclose them and move the entire coop/run you will pretty much commit to moving it every day or two, whether or not you have the flu. It’s amazing how quickly it can start to stink especially of the weather is wet. Eight hens is getting to be a lot because the tractor can get pretty heavy to move by hand if it can handle that many birds.

    Another way to handle a tractor is to have coop that can be moved but surround it with electric netting to keep the predators out and the chickens in. Because they have so much extra space to forage the poop doesn’t build up very fast and they don’t run out of forage.

    Tractors are generally thought of as a way to get chickens on forage during the good weather months but they would be a real pain in the snow.

    With a permanent coop and run, you can build it more predator proof and provide better climate protection in the winter. They will almost certainly wipe out any vegetation in the run, depending on how big the run is and how many chickens you have. I really like having electricity to mine, not to keep water thawed in the winter but so I can see out there when I’m there in the dark.

    In your situation I’d suggest you build a permanent coop and run. Fix it up for your convenience. You can get some ideas on size by following the link in my signature. That way you are set up for winter.

    If you wish, in the summer get some portable electric netting. Fix a couple of different pop doors or gates for your run so you can let the chickens out into the electric netting when the weather is good. When they cut down the vegetation, move the netting to a different part of the yard using a different pop door or gate off your run. Depending on how much rain you get and how fast the vegetation grows, you’ll have to move that electric netting whenever the grass or weeds grow up into it and ground it out.

    This is just one way you might consider doing it. As I said, there are many different options.
    1 person likes this.
  3. intowncntrygirl

    intowncntrygirl New Egg

    Mar 11, 2014
    Those are some good ideas! Thanks! We don't have much lighting in the back yard. I hadn't thought that part through yet. I would probably really wish I had lights if I didn't do it.
    Off I go to do more reading. :) Thanks!

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