Chicken Newbie -- Coop and Run advice?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by asionne, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. asionne

    asionne Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2012
    Vancouver, Washington
    Hello,
    I am new to raising chickens, and would love some input on coops and runs. I have 3 chicks and don't plan to ever really have more than 4 (I live in the city). I actually have quite a bit of space for them in the backyard, and wanted to dedicate an area to them. I bought a small coop (similar to this link) http://www.amazon.com/Precision-Pet...qid=1351601920&sr=8-10&keywords=chicken+coops
    The problem is.. the coop is really small! And I think I would like an attached run, but I'm not really sure how to do it. I was thinking of lifting it with 4x4s and enclosing it. Any suggestions?
    I live in Vancouver, Washington, it that helps. It rains CONSTANTLY in this area, so I need something that provides a little weather-proofing.
    Also - I got my chicks a little late in the year (Mid-October - day old chicks) and I am nervous to put them outside in the winter. I have a great brooder box (4ft long x 2 feet wide x 2 feet high with a roost and hardware cloth lid). How long can I reasonably keep the chicks in the box?

    Any advice is really appreciated! Thanks in advance!

    ~Amanda
     
  2. gardendufus

    gardendufus Chillin' With My Peeps

    First let me warn you that I have only had chickens since 3/12, so I am far from an experienced chickeneer.

    I went to your link to see what I could find out about your coop. Could find no measurements, but of the 6 reviews it had, several of them spoke of the small size. So, I would just caution you that if you are in a cold, wet climate, your chickens may end up spending a lot of time inside the coop. Crowded birds tend to have problems amusing themselves and often end up picking at each other. So, before you get a 4th bird, I would see how the 3 you have get along inside once they are full grown.

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "I was thinking of lifting it with 4 X 4's and then enclosing it". Do you mean the whole coop? The coop is already elevated. You could do something simple like attaching a fence to one side of the existing coop/run (I would do it on the left side of what is pictured), then removing the wire on that small section on the left to give them free access to the extended run. In order to give them shelter, you could roof it with those plastic roofing panels HD sells.

    A few more comments. I see NO ventilation on the side of the coop that is pictured. You may need to add some ventilation to that coop. Also, a few of the reviews of that coop mentioned that it might be affected by the moisture. Try giving it another coat or two of porch paint to increase the water resistance.

    After reading the reviews, I would not have bought that coop, but I understand how daunting it can be to think of building your own. It's what you have, so just try to improve on anything you can.
     
  3. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Generally, as soon as they are fully feathered, they can go outside. There is probably a break in period that someone can advise. The sooner they are exposed to the environment, the sooner they can adapt.

    I would add a fenced area off of the long end of the coop for them to roam about. It appears that there is plenty of space under cover for when they want to come in out of the rain. Mine don't always come in from the rain. Chickens are unhappy when crowded.

    As was mentioned, it appears that there is precious little ventilation in that coop. Moisture is a persistent problem in a chicken coop. Adequate ventilation cannot be over-emphasized.

    Chris
     
  4. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would add plenty of vents near the top of under the covered portion to keep water out. Add a secure run to it as large as you can. They don't like being over crowded although if they only sleep inside then as little as 2.5 sq ft per bird will work inside. Figure at least 10 sq ft per bird outside. I let mine "free range" the backyard while I'm cleaning,feeding,and changing water daily and it gives them exercise and seems to calm them.
     

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