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  1. TwinWillowAcres

    TwinWillowAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 8, 2012
    I was thinking about getting some Leghorns from a commercial hatchery & I was thinking would it be possible to keep them in cages (almost like rabbit cages)?

    According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, layers need just 60 sq inches of space. If I have a 2x2 cage (1 sq ft being taken up by a nesting box), I don't think I would put 7 chickens in there. But maybe 3? Then I can use rabbit feeders and have a nipple watering system set up.

    I was thinking about having these cages set up just like a rabbit hutch, except instead of housing rabbits, they house chickens.

    What do you think & why?
     
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you're looking for a fight. Not falling for it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. cknkids

    cknkids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would you be letting them out for most of the day? I'd suggest you do more reading on this web site. I guessing the 60 sq inches (that's less then 0.5 sq ft) is for some sort of backyard cadged laying operation. On here I found most recommended 4 sq ft (minimum 2 sq ft) house space and 10 sq ft of run space. I believe this helps with behavioral problems. Our 4 have a 70 sq ft run and I can't stand not to let them out in the yard. Yes ours are pets, that give us breakfast, that we expect of have for many years to come. Good luck on your chicken journey, I know trying to understand the "numbers" can be over whelming.
     
  4. TwinWillowAcres

    TwinWillowAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    No, I'm not.

    I was thinking about caging them because I don't want chicken poop all over my sheep pasture [​IMG] And I also want to house them economically--I can't afford to pay $400+ for a chicken coop for 25 birds nor do I have the time/knowledge to build one. I have built little "sheep shacks" for my sheep, but those are just 4' tall and 8'x8' (or for the smaller version 4'x4') and pretty basic--2x4s with pieces of plywood screwed on with a flat roof.

    This is about as technical as I get! http://www.backyardherds.com/web/viewblog.php?id=4485-sheepshelter lol
     
  5. TwinWillowAcres

    TwinWillowAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    No, they would stay in there their entire lives. I want to do cages because it is a cheaper way to house them. I can't/don't want to pay $400+ on a coop. I have my sheep to pay for (well they will pay for themselves when their lambs are sold...but thankfully they are cheap since they eat grass all the time which is free) plus I'm paying my way through school. And I work 30-40 hrs/wk at McDonald's for minimum wage lol. So about half my paycheck is going to pay for school (I'm going to community college).

    Then about 1/4 of my paycheck is going to pay my parents for car insurance and rent. Then I put money in savings. But after all of that, I still have about $100/month I'm not really doing anything with (well I could be spending it on clothes and everything, but that's more my cousin's idea of spending money lol) so I figured I would spend it on chickens. I can afford to build the cages this month, and buy chicks and feed next month. Whereas I would have to save up 4+ months to pay for the coop and then I would have to wait another month or two to pay for the chicks and feed.
     
  6. Aphrael

    Aphrael Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why wouldn't you want to have chicken poop on your pastures? They would aerate and fertilize it and make it grow better and better pasture. As for keeping chickens in what amounts to a 1'x1' box, frankly IMO that is simply cruel and inhumane treatment and shouldn't even be considered. I don't want this to sound like and attack or a flame, it is just my opinion, but I believe that anyone who does not have the time or desire to learn how to provide for the needs of an animal (i.e. proper shelter) should not have those animals at all. A coop doesn't have to be expensive or fancy, many people have made them for free or near to it with no carpentry experience at all.
     
  7. Chikenbutwut

    Chikenbutwut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicken coops don't have to cost anywhere near $400. You can find wood at construction sites, at Lowes, at Home Depot, your local lumber yard...ya know, in the scrap piles. You can even check out the town dump. Then there's places that throw away wooden pallets. All of that would be free. People get rid of stuff for cheap on Craigslist too.

    As far as not being able to build a coop, they don't have to be anything extravagant. I'm sure if you can build those cute little sheep shacks, you can put together a coop.

    A cheaply built run would keep them from pooping in your sheep pasture.

    I realize there's a need to cage chickens from time to time for different reasons, but I just don't think they'd be very happy being caged full time. Happy chickens are healthier chickens and wouldn't you want what's best for them?

    Just my opinion.
     
  8. cknkids

    cknkids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you can build that you can build a coop.

    You may want to check out
    http://poultry.purinamills.com/stellent/groups/public/documents/web_content/ecmd0007989.pdf
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/734710/our-newly-finished-pallet-coop

    I'm glad you're here trying to learn and find a balance between your $ limitations and caring for chickens. I'm guessing you're planning on selling eggs? Also if you let them out in the pasture they eat grass and bugs, this cuts way down on the cost of feed and creates better eggs.
     
  9. TwinWillowAcres

    TwinWillowAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    Just wanted to say first that I'm sorry if I come off as stubborn! It's in our family to be stubborn :/

    Don't want chicken poop in my pasture because it will add copper to it. There's enough copper in our well water--don't need any more added due to chicken feed.

    Truthfully, it's not like the cage will be boxed off into different sections. The birds will have the entire 4 sq ft of the cage to go to. Other chickens might be in their path, though lol. I'm only going to have 2-3 birds to a cage, depending on how many chicks I want to keep. I don't see how it's any different than caging show birds or commercial layers or guineas or rabbits? I did take the time to learn about how to house chickens--the Merck Veterinary Manual is THE most respected and go-to veterinary reference book out there. I think if that book says the space requirement is okay, then it probably is. I also like the fact I can keep track (for the most part) of each bird's individual production and my feed inputs. I could do a small-scale breeding project of highly efficient layers.

    Sadly, with my mom, everything has to be aesthetically pleasing :( Which means I had to use those $30/sheet fancy plywood for my sheep shacks--and my sheep shacks are barely borderline for her ideals. :/
     
  10. TwinWillowAcres

    TwinWillowAcres Out Of The Brooder

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    My mom likes to have everything aesthetically pleasing--which means that fancy plywood. My sheep shacks are barely borderline. She's only tolerating them because they are temporary. We will be building a barn this spring. And because I offered to pay for part of it, I get to choose how big it is :D (I'm going with 16x24.)

    As for happiness of chickens....I'm not real familiar with poultry. I worked with them for a month at my petting farm job. However, my sheep were confined for 2.5 months last summer in a dry lot, after being on a pasture their entire lives (as little as 2 weeks to as long as 6 years). I can't tell you if they were happy or unhappy about it. I love my sheep dearly--I spend about an hour after feeding just hanging out with them and watching their behavior. I've raised sheep for seven years now and I was taught all my "sheep skills" by my neighbor who had been raising sheep for almost 80 yrs--mostly range flocks out in South Dakota. They were still acting like their usual selves, so I don't think they were unhappy as I would assume they were happy before. I do know they were always happy when they saw me coming for food! They would run around the pen and hop and jump and bleat.

    I think if a bird is caged and gets their basic needs provided--protection from predators, food, water, and a nest--they will be more than happy because their needs are being met regardless of how much room they have. I know with most livestock if you provide the feed, their space requirements go way down because they don't have to go out and try to find it themselves. I think poultry wouldn't be too far off.
     

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