Chicken coop under a deck?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by drewski, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. drewski

    drewski New Egg

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    Aug 24, 2010
    Hello all. I'm new to this forum, though I've been reading it on and off for months now.

    Some background: My wife and I are going back and forth about raising some hens. Our family of 5 eats about 1 1/2 to 2 doz eggs a week and we'd obviously like to have fresh eggs, for all the usual reasons. We live in a suburb that considers chickens to be "livestock", but we're good friends with the village inspector and she's assured us that we'd be safe from persecution. Also, our neighbors are pretty much on board, they don't seem to have a problem with us keeping chickens (unfortunately, bees were ruled out).

    So here's what we had been thinking. We've got a 10' x 20' covered deck in our back yard that currently has nothing underneath it. It's about 4' off the ground. Next to the deck is a perennial garden with about 400sq feet of foraging space. Would it be feasible to put the coop and run under the deck, with occasional use of the perennial garden (possibly covered with netting)? The area would get some sunlight, not direct though. It could be fenced off to keep any predators out. Also, it will stay fairly dry under the deck.

    Our main concern is that it might smell under the deck and we wouldn't be able to sit out there. It's easily accessible from the basement stairs, so it should be easy clean the poop.....and I know that's the main culprit as far as odors. The nesting boxes could be accessed by the basement steps as well. Any thoughts on this scenerio?

    Thanks!
     
  2. hallerlake

    hallerlake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Interesting idea. I'm eager to hear the answers. I have a deck, too. I could use hardware cloth inside the lath to make it secure. It would give them more room than the tractor does.
     
  3. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    Columbia,SC
    I've been wondering the same thing. You have to consider ventilation, which if u put on a corner could be acheived. I think it would also discourage predators. If you use poop pans under roosts & let them out to free range duing day I think it might be feasible. Would love to hear from some more experienced keepers. [​IMG]
     
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    May 6, 2010
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    My Coop
    That sounds very interesting. I'm sure the birds would like the shade. How many birds are you thinking? Fewer birds=less stink. Maybe you could put the spot where they roost at night in a location near the edge of the deck so that you could access the droppings easily (goes for the nest box too).
     
  5. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens can be stinky at times. There are lots of things you can do to keep things fresh, ventilation is probably key. I would be more concerned about the livestock ordinances. There have been many many too many stories on here about people that had to get rid of their chickens. It is heartbreaking to read, but completely avoidable. Friendly or not, village inspector may be forced by, perhaps, a disgruntled neighbor - to uphold the law. Something to consider seriously. Maybe you could apply for a variance, or whatever the right term would be!
     
  6. drewski

    drewski New Egg

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    Aug 24, 2010
    Wow! Thanks for the quick responses! I was thinking along the lines of 5-7 hens, or enough to at least put a good dent in our egg consumption. It's a matter of finding a balance between egg-production and odor-production I suppose. If ventilation and cleanliness are the main issues, we should be able to work around that. The deck is open on 3 sides, and if we need to supplement the ventilation with some sort of fan, that's do-able. We've got an electric outlet and a hose connection close by. The nest boxes and floor could be put at the edge of the deck so they're easily accessed from the basement steps (the stair landing is about 3 feet below grade).

    I'm not so concerned with the village. This would all take place in a secluded spot, so it's not noticable from the street or alley. Plus, knowing our village and the people who work in it.......they're more likely to grant us a variance AFTER being caught than before (they've done it with bees, for instance). Worse case scenerio is we have to give them up, and we've got 2 friends with farms and hens who would likely take them off our hands.

    The other thing I guess I should mention is that there's a raccoon den in the neighbor's yard. Knowing that (and knowing how nimble and agile they are) I had planned on finding a racoon-proof means of tucking the hens in at night!
     
  7. I have WHAT in my yard?

    I have WHAT in my yard? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Eggberg, PA
    My niece's coop is under her deck. And it works out fine for her.

    Only reservation would be the height of your deck and your ability to get into the space. I know you said it would be accessible (pictures would help!) via the basement stairs?? Think through the competing needs of security vs access. You will need to get in there every day, and having to do the whole feed, watering finding eggs or tending to a chicken thing gets old bent over at the waist.

    You also may want to lay down chicken wire or something on the ground otherwise you'll get diggers. I had a raccoon take 12 young chickens in one night! Could you extend a small section out from under the deck for a feeding area?? I have a habi-trail section for a section of my run - long and low and I am forever needing to drop a kid in there to retrieve something or pick up and overturned waterer

    You also might want to check to see just how dry it remains under your deck. A serious hard rain here goes right through the deck. That would be fine for their run but the coop part might need a roof.

    My niece's is different since her deck is a full story up so it merely provides some shelter/support for the whole set up.
     
  8. drewski

    drewski New Egg

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    Aug 24, 2010
    This is the scenerio I had in mind. The coop is the yellow box.

    The deck actually continues above the basement door, but I left that out for clarity. The other side of the basement steps are screened with lattice.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    Columbia,SC
    Might work if u put poop trays in for ease of . Would u be able to get inside it at all?
     
  10. Xanthro

    Xanthro Out Of The Brooder

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    It will work but there are issues.

    1. Cleaning the run. It's not enough to have access to your coop, you'll need to clean the run as well.
    2. Enough sunlight under the deck for a run. Chickens need some sunshine for egg production, if it's too dark, then you won't have happy chickens.
    3. Access to chickens. You'll get a chicken that is injured, and you'll need to get access to them for treatment, so be prepared to crawl under that 4' deck.
     

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