Chicken Housing Question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by riftnreef, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. riftnreef

    riftnreef Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, Just so it is understood I don't intend to do this, I'm just wondering if any one does, and if so, how well it works out.

    Given a large enough enclosure with a DLB and adaquate ventilation, is it possible or even ideal for a small utility flock of hens to never really go out of the coop? I was just looking through some of the photos on the coop design board and can't help but wonder why the chicken would need much out time. Maybe a timed lighting system for winter months, some open windows during the summer, and maybe an exhaust fan...just thinking out loud I guess but it would possibly be an option for those of us that live in less chicken friendly environments.
     
  2. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's how commercial chickens are raised so it could certainly be done at home.

    The trick would be ensuring adequate space, ventilation, and light. Preferably including natural light with direct sunlight unfiltered by glass available every day for the manufacture of vitamin D because vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of health issues in pet birds such as parrots.

    Commercial birds only live a year or, at the most, 2 years so a full-indoor-confinement system for home use would have to go above and beyond commercial standards to ensure continuing health.

    And for people who want the advantages of chickens but who absolutely can't create an ordinary, outdoor run it would certainly be a way of evading oppressive regulations. If you can keep a breeding aviary of cockatiels or lovebirds in an outbuilding you ought to be able to keep chickens in the same fashion.
     
  3. riftnreef

    riftnreef Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was just thinking of my own circumstance...I have a nearly empty 8x10' yard barn and four hens...that would be 20 sqft of floor space per bird. I don't think I personally would go through all the effort of keeping them in that manner, but it sure seems like it could be done effectively.
     
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    You certainly have options- turns out that chickens like to go out and that the increased light is good for their feathercoats and egglaying. I keep mine in if there is a severe storm and we use snow board on the run to keep snow load down. Our run is roofed. You'll have to use your judgement when the weather is bad, but I urge you to give them as much exercise outside as possible! I do understand what you are saying, though, and it sounds like you would provide the best indoor environment possible. [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't have known how to answer your question, before I saw my chickens running around on grass in the sun in my yard.

    There is something just so right, so natural about a chicken outdoors. They scratch, they run, they're so happy out there. Even if you house yours indoors most of the time, let them see the sun, breathe the fresh air, and feel natural earth and grass under their feet whenever you possibly can.
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I agree with elmo. It doesn't seem natural to think of raising a chicken totally indoors. It just sounds so....cold....factory-like. And having said that, as other posters have said, it can certainly be done w/proper facilities. For that matter it cold probably be done with improper/inadequate facilities (w/a shorter lifespan).
     
  7. AmyRey

    AmyRey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I second (or third) this sentiment.
     
  8. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I second (or third) this sentiment.

    The question though is,

    Is it better to have well-treated, carefully-kept indoor chickens or to have no chickens at all?

    That appears to be the OP's dilemma.

    If I can keep cage birds in my house and give them a good life, even though it little resembles the life wild cockatiels would have in their native country, wouldn't it be possible for a careful and diligent chickenkeeper to give a flock of chickens a good life in a correctly-constructed building even though that little resembles the classic barnyard?

    I submit that if given adequate light and ventilation, plenty of space, a good diet complete with fresh greens and, perhaps crickets, mealworms, and the like, along with some environmental enrichment in the way of structures to sit on, hide under, and generally enjoy the OP's proposed flock could have a life that, though different, is just as good as the life in the ordinary coop+run situation. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, but that's exactly the question. What's a good life for a chicken?

    I know many people keep cage birds indoors with clipped wings. But if you've ever seen a cockatiel fly (I have), you might wince at the thought of one spending their whole life in a cage barely wide enough to flap its clipped wings. They're magnificient fliers, swift and agile.

    I know it's relative, though. Certainly, a chicken would be better off in the indoor atmosphere described in this thread, rather than in the conditions on a factory farm.
     
  10. riftnreef

    riftnreef Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To be honest, I wasn't looking for an ethical treatment debate...though that is an interesting subject when dealing with livestock animals. I found myself with four hens a couple weeks ago and have intended to build one of the A-frame tractors that I've seen a number of. I chose this route due to a small lot and local restrictions on keeping chickens. What brought this issue to my mind was seeing some of the larger coops displayed and thinking a bird would surely be more comfortable in a nice large coop like that than being able to "free range" all of 30sqft. For now the girls(about 2 months old) are living in a temporary winter shelter I have built in my garage...

    Pictures removed until I resize them...[​IMG]


    They seem OK for now, though I'm not happy with the amount of space they have in there, but they are sheltered from the weather and get a couple days outside weather permitting, so I guess it's alright.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009

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