Considering getting chicks next spring- used to have ducks?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Welshies, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    I've had ducks this year, but due to my setup, they cause quite a mess, so I'm considering getting chickens (and possibly quail, or a couple turkeys, but let's disregard those for now) next spring instead. Because of my setup, it's hard to get a good laying duck that doesn't require lots of space but produces lots of meat. Chickens are much easier to find locally. That's why I am considering them.
    My current setup is this:
    A duck coop divided into 2- one half is a wood floor, and closed space, with bedding. 1 half is a dirt floor with open sides, but a roof. There are no roosts, but there is a 1ftx4ft shelf. 1 half is 24 sq ft, in total it makes for 48 sq ft of coop space. It is 4'-4'6'' tall.
    This is beside a horse shed (run-in or 3-sided shed) that is covered and provides a dry area even with snow, and an outdoor run area, away from the shed, but attached to the shed. The run area is 300 sq ft with a 2-layered 4.5ft tall fence.
    I'm wondering what adjustments need to be mad for chickens? I keep the bedding, feed, oyster shell, and grit in the shed, and this works well as they're covered and protected. I was considering removing the shelf (1'x4') and making it into the base for my quail home. Then taking the dirt floor and making it into a wood floor, and connected the divided halves of the coop, as well as covering the sides of the outdoor area of the coop (except for the side towards the shed, with the coop door). Is this a good idea? Should I add nest boxes? How much roost space do I need?
    I'm hoping to fit between 5 and 15 or perhaps 20 chickens in here. If I get turkeys, the poults will live in the coop until they're older, then they will live outside or in my 20sqft dog house.
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Melrose Park Illinois
    Remodel the horse shed with roosts and nest boxes and secure door in the open area. Provide adequate ventilation. The larger the number of chickens, the more venting needed. Your coop is quite small and suitable for maybe 6 to 8 chickens. Use coop for quail and horse shed for chickens. You do want a sizable number of hens. Post some pix of your setup so it would be easier to visualize the whole thing. I'm doing the best I can from your description. A picture is worth a 1000 words.
    WISHING YOU BEST AND ASK ALL YOU ARE NOT SURE OF. [​IMG]
     
  3. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2016
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    I'll get those pictures today. Thanks for the help :)
     
  4. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    Okay so unfortunately we woke up with almost a foot of fresh snow so not ideal conditions for pictures... so I'll give you the best visual I can.
    This is the horse shelter (what it looks like/is like) and it's 300 sq ft approximately, with the fenced pen attached to it. The coop is put right in front of the shelter on the right side. The shelter faces east and the coop faces south. with the door facing in towards the shed. One thing: the shed is actually made of metal with a wood frame, instead of completely wood.
    [​IMG]

    This is the ACTUAL picture of my coop, before it was placed beside the horse shelter:
    [​IMG]

    So for the coop modifications (if I made it totally enclosed) I'd make all the walls except the side with the door (which faces towards the inside of the shed) enclosed. I also recently put a roof on the outdoor part of the coop. i'd also like to make the outdoor half have a wood floor, and take out the divider and ramp- and use the 2x4 support to attach roosts to. You can't currently see the shelf, I don't think, but it's on the far side. The coop is 8-9' by 6'6'' and 4'-4'6'' tall.
     
  5. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    That all sounds good. Now the big Question... Do you know how to make all this predator proof.??? You will have plenty of live meat that all kind of hungry beasts would like to dine on. You do have until spring so make it all safe before you introduce your cuties. What are the most severe predators in your area.? Raccoons are obviously everywhere. Teddy bears?, Willie coyote?, Wolfies?, Mink stoles still in the alive stage?.
     
  6. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    Actually I have already had ducks in there, the horse shed picture is pulled of the good old 'Net. It's already predator proof, and very safe. I just need to know if my modifications to the coop will work for chickens, or if it's always going to be a roost-less coop. Also wondering if I can keep quail in there. Like I initially asked...
    We have hawks, eagles, wolves, coyotes, foxes, mink, marten, fisher, weasels, no raccoons, rats, mice, squirrels, neighbour's dogs, cats, wild cats, cougars, lynx, skunks, bears, etc. But it already is predator proof.
     
  7. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Melrose Park Illinois
    Quail need to be caged all the time. They free range and you never see them again. (main reason I don't have any quail) If you want to keep a large number of chickens like you said, possibly up to 20, then coop would be too small. If they will have open access to the horse shed, it would be good to have roosts in the horse shelter. Your quail should be in a separate confinement inside the horse shelter. I never had quail, but you can read up on making their cages here in some of the quail threads. There is an Ideal height to making these cages. Off hand I don't remember what it is.
     
  8. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    Quail apparently can't be kept with chickens, so they will be separate, but they weren't going to be free ranged anyhow; too small.
    If I made the coop completely enclosed it would be 48-60sq ft. Shouldn't that be enough for maximum 20 chickens? They would stay in the coop overnight only, and come out into the run (380 sq ft, attached to the horse shed, with an outdoor part as well) during the day.
     
  9. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    You figure out how many will be comfortable in there. Small breeds you can squeeze more. It is not a law, but a suggestion to provide 4 square feet per chicken. 10 square feet per chicken in run. You are all good there. During foul weather your chickens may be confined to coop for periods of time. Your coop is not very tall so there is also lower volume. My suggestion is to start out with lets say 10 chickens. Observe how they behave and go from there. Of course you can house 20 in confined space, but that leads to all kind of problems. Overcrowding will cause you more headaches than it is worth.
     
  10. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    I was planning to start well off with 10-15 chicks, and then butcher/sell the roosters until I only have 1 rooster for breeding purposes. So that number isn't definite- I could have 6 chickens next summer, or 10. I'll be buying straight run, not sexed, chicks. And the possible turkeys will live outside once they are fully feathered- they'll have shelter, but I don't think a coop is as important for them. So once mature, the chickens and turkeys will not be sharing a coop, which makes things easier. Also, over winter, I would definitely keep fewer chickens than i would over summer, as our winters are harsh and long periods of confinement are a possibility.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016

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