Considering chickens...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Moselle, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. Moselle

    Moselle Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    I've been talking with my family about raising a few chickens. Dh immediately said - "Sure, sounds like a great idea!" That response was a pleasant surprise! I've read a couple books on chicken raising, and a few more are waiting for me at the library; I like to be prepared.

    So, here's where I start thinking "on board" and bore you to tears. We have a largish family, and to supply us with a weeks worth of eggs, we'd likely need 6 chickens (if there are any extra eggs they will be gratefully snatched up by neighbors and friends.) I kind of have my heart set on an eglu cube - they seem to provide everything needed, easy to clean, and will look nice in the yard. Looking nice isn't as important to me, but I know my neighbors would appreciate it (you know how some will start to worry about the neighborhood deteriorating into a wild jungle). To get anything as structurally sound as the eglu would take a great deal more time and money than we want to deal with.

    So, here's the issue. Eglu cube won't be available in the states until late 2008/early 2009. I could either buy a regular eglu and keep just 3 or 4 chickens. Or, I could try making a less expensive coop until we could get ahold of a cube. Or we could wait a whole year to get any chickens. Is that possible? Maybe.

    Has anyone modified a dog house to make a coop? I saw a reasonably priced one with a hinged roof (for removing eggs and cleaning). I only worry about proper ventilation and being able to make a suitable door. I also want something that can be moved around the yard without too much difficulty.

    Maybe you can see that being able to spray down the henhouse with a hose and dry off with a big towel is a big priority with me [​IMG] That sounds stupid, but it seems as though it would be very difficult to properly clean a wooden henhouse and get it dry enough to be fit for the chickens.

    Is there a great advantage to getting six chicks all at once? Or is there an advantage to buying 3 and then adding 3 more in a year?

    I apologize for my poorly thought-out post. Rest assured, there will be more. Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated.
  2. nccatnip

    nccatnip Songster

    Aug 5, 2007
    Piedmont area NC
    The dog house may be your solution, several members have used them successfully. Recently there was a thread regarding playhouses found at Lowe's. I have seen them and they are really cute- nice idea for a smaller flock that has a run. Try looking at Coops in the index for ideas.............
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    the doghouse concept would make the most sense to me if you insist on plastic. Eglus are insanely insanely expensive anyways.

    But, I dunno, maybe it is just me and the fact that I have not yet had more than 3 chickens, but what is with so many people wanting to be hosing their coops out all the time :p. My experience with three (whole <g>) chickens, plus having worked with horses a LONG time, is that what you need to do is use sufficient litter, design things so there arent unnecessary bits of structure to get pooped on, and then just keep things dry and reasonably frequently cleaned. Under which plan you will seldom if ever *need* hosing etc.

    If you are concerned about touching icky chicken litter [​IMG] just wait til you try hosing things off and get an inadvertant face-full of poo-laden spray :eek:

    And with wood (you can paint the inside walls or just floor, if you want, just do it well enough it doesn't flake off) you can design the coop that is ideal to your particular needs instead of being stuck with a design made for someone else's.

    Good luck either way,

  4. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Quote:Hee, hee - been there! Or when they decide to hop onto your shoulder right after running through a fresh poo!

    I house my birds in wood, and I've never felt the need to completely hose out any of my coops. The only surface that really gets icky is the floor (unless your birds have diarrhea, but then of course you have a whole other issue). When it is time to clean I use a paint scraper or ice chipper to get it all loose, a dustpan to lift it into the bucket, and that's all I do.

    I also like wood because I can paint the coops to match the house...
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    yeah, what IS it with them wanting to hop onto your shoulder - makes me feel sometimes like a very specialized sort of doormat. lol

    I discovered the other day that when a chicken gets onto your *head* (never happened to me before) and your hair is in a ponytail, they can get a pretty good grip and be rather difficult to dislodge.

    From my husband's point of view there is never a video camera around when you need one :p

  6. BantyChickMom

    BantyChickMom Songster

    Sep 25, 2007
    Henderson, NC
    First of all, WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME!

    I would suggest getting all 6 at once, then you don't have to worry about those awful introductions almost a year later.

    There are a lot of good coop ideas on this site and they are really easy to build and are well within a budget.

    And I also see no need to have to wash everything down/out.......if you use the deep litter method, just rake out the old litter and replace with new about every 6 months.

    If your DH is supportive of you wanting chickens, you better go for it NOW...........don't give him enough time to "rethink the situation and change his mind".

    Good Luck with whatever you decide
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  7. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    Moselle where are you located because some people make chicken tractors but it is difficult if you have a hard winter. I am located In Maryland and I use a large chicken tractor for my hens. Is the eglu insalated and ventalated?

  8. Moselle

    Moselle Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    Oh - thank you all for your replies. Now you have my noodle going again. I was feeling a bit stuck for a bit. You'll have to forgive my emphasis on hosing and scrubbing the henhouse. For some reason, I have it in my head that that was considered necessary to keep it clean enough to prevent sickness. If that's not the case, then I will rework my brain on that one. Due to dh's allergies, we've not had much in the way of pets - only fish and gerbils, both always required complete washing of habitats! I think that's one reason he's onboard with the chicken idea - they will NOT be in the house, but the kids can still have fun pets to care for. Plus, fresh eggs!

    I can definitely see the advantage of getting all the chickens at once. After looking through some of the housing posts, I think I'm getting some good ideas on how to configure a nice house and run. I have more questions, but I see that they would fit better on other topic threads. Thank you!

    P.S. I live in TN, so we only have a couple of fairly cold (under 40*) months in the year. I will be looking around for hints on keeping the hens cool!
  9. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Just wanted to say Hello & Welcome! [​IMG]

    I'm in White County, originally from South Jersey, been here for 20 years now. [​IMG]

  10. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    My personal opinion (just mine.. LOL!) is that you can keep it TOO clean. As in.. too much dust flying around.

    And I seem to remember a long time ago someone saying they were hosing out their coop 2x a week.. and they had horrible odor and flies. Stick with the DE method, clean out a couple of times a year, and there is very little smell and zero flies (fly predators breed in the litter, and take care of the problem for you).

    As for ventilation, you could always drill holes in the sides.

    Welcome to the board! Congrats on your chickens!

    One last note: I have 4 people in my family.. and it is AMAZING how many eggs we go through. With my 10 layers we have tons to give away.. and then there are the occasional days where we only have 3 or 4 eggs in the fridge for ourselves. Build your coop big, get more chickens than you think you need.. oh, wait, that'll come as part of the addiction anyway.. [​IMG]


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