Chickens for beginners ???????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Countrystrong78, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Countrystrong78

    Countrystrong78 New Egg

    Mar 20, 2013
    ok i just got 8 chicks today 4 are americauna ( i think thats how its spelled) and the other 4 are leghorn pullets. i set them up in a brooder box in my basement for the time being and we are planning on building their coop and run this weekend with my kids. We are hoping that the chicks we got will make both good eggers as well as good pets. Any suggestions or info on these breeds would be greatly appreciated. Also why are all the coop designs i have seen raised off the ground. is this really necessary? Any information or pointers to help me get started would be great. thanks. courtney
  2. Crabella

    Crabella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Inland Pacific NW
    Many people used raised coops because they want to utilize the space under the coop for addtional run space for their fowl. Raising it also helps with vermin control and provides a sheltered spot for the hens to hang out without being in the coop. If you provide an access panel, it makes a handy place to put their food and water. I like having them both available in the coop and in the run.

    Enjoy your chicks.. They grow up fast.

  3. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 10, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi and [​IMG]

    I don't know much about these breeds but I can tell you the two reasons we raised our coop. First, for ease of cleaning. Our floor is about 1 metre off the ground, boards covered in a remnant of lino, sugar can mulch on top, then a flexible board I put under the roost for poop clearing. I don't need to bend right over to clean up, making it quick and easy on the back (which I have trouble with).

    The second reason is shade. Depending on your climate (we get VERY hot summers), it can be important to give them as much shaded space as possible. Although we have some shade trees, when it is extremly hot, right under the coop is the coolest part of the run. We also had to squeeze their permanent run in around these trees, and having the extra space under the coop helps give them more room when they are shut in. Mine free range for the afternoon and in the mornings can need to get away from one another, or just stroll about, doing what chickens do.

    There's many decisions to make about what sort of coop to have, so it's a good question. Great time to think through what's important to you and the local conditions. Always good to bear in mind being draught-free but have ventilation. And make it as predator-proof as you can from the get-go. We laid wire netting along the ground, laid the frame for the run out in sleepers we botlted together, then filled with river sand for easy cleaning. The roof as well as the sides are fully enclosed either by the best wire netting I could find, or timber and metal. They are protected from all 6 sides - and I have peace of mind.

  4. Sassafras

    Sassafras Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    You should have your coop a bit off the ground to keep the weather out of the door. Make a ramp for the girls, which they may need training on.[​IMG]

  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You will find a whole lot of us don’t have our coops raised. There’s probably more variety in what we do for coops that anything else with chickens. I suspect what we do for nests would come in second in variety. We all have unique situations and we do different things. It’s extremely rare that with chickens certain things like this are necessary. A tremendous amount of what people think is necessary is really just personal preference. Just read through a few threads and you’ll see we have a lot of different opinions on about everything. That's because a whole lot of different things work.

    A coop and run needs to stay dry. If you are building your coop in a low spot where water could run into it, then raising it might be a good idea. That’s my first thought on where to put the coop and run, what does the rainwater runoff look like. Avoid low spots.

    If space is tight, raising the coop enough so the chickens can get under it is a way to increase the available space. Someone also mentioned it is a shady spot, which is important on the heat of summer. It can also provide a place to put your feeder and keep the feed dry.

    If you raise it, you need to raise it enough so you can get under there, maybe to retrieve eggs or maybe a chicken that doesn’t want to be caught. If you don’t raise it enough so the chickens can get under there, you create a great place for a mouse or rat to raise a family or maybe something bigger to live.

    How you manage your bedding makes a difference too. If you are cleaning your bedding out real often, a raised coop might be a benefit. If you use the deep litter method or some variation of that, it helps if the floor of your coop is dirt.

    I think a coop on the ground gets some benefit from a climate viewpoint. In the summer, the ground may act as a heat sink to help get rid of excess heat. In winter, it provides a thermal mass. I think these help reduce wild temperature changes inside the coop.

    I built my coop by closing off the end of an existing shed. I put a few inches of clay dirt inside to raise the floor and put in a swale on the uphill side to divert water away. Then I use wood shavings on top of that. I cleaned my coop out for the first time in four years last November, not because I needed to but because I wanted that stuff on my garden. I also use a droppings board to capture the poop they make at night on the roost for my compost. Some people clean their coops out weekly. We all do things differently.

    Since you are building a new coop, I’ll give you some articles that I think should be required reading on ventilation and mud. I don’t know if the cold weather one applies to you or not.

    Good luck!!!

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page

    Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
  6. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2012
    I have a raised coop and love it.

    I also have 2 white leghorns. They are about a year old now. They are good egg layers, chatty, and differently smarter than the RSL. One is very friendly and loves to be held, the other doesn't like to be touched but she is our alert chicken. If we hear her we know there is danger. They add a little drama to the flock and they can be flighty but we love them. [​IMG]
  7. conny63malies

    conny63malies Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    With 8 that you own now and the possibility of more you might as well look into a small shed , like a 6x8ft or so. Your Ameraucanas are prob. Easter Eggers, nothing worng with that. Most store and hatcheries just mislabel them.

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