1. my4chickies

    my4chickies New Egg

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    Apr 1, 2009
    I am new to the backyard chickens thing and would appreciate some help about a coop! I can't decide what to do.

    I already have a cheap small internet coop with a short (3') run. When our local Animal Services lady came by to approve the coop (I need a livestock permit here to keep hens, which was approved), she said although it was adequate for protection from predators, it wasn't really a nice chicken environment. The main things wrong were it's too small for 4 hens and it's over concrete so they can't scratch in the dirt.

    I don't mind paying some $$ to get a bigger coop and have found some really nice ones in the $500 - $1000 price range (I'm not going to build my own).

    Here are my 3 choices:

    (1) Nice 4' x 4' coop and free range the chickies so no run but they roam over fenced, planted yard and small lawn. [cheapest option]

    (2) nice 4 x 4 coop and 8' run but must be placed on concrete, as placing over dirt would require moving lot of established plants in relatively small yard or infringing on small lawn enjoyed by 2 small children [most expensive option]

    (3) building some roosts and nest boxes in garage (currently housing chicks who are 4 weeks old) and making chicken door. This last suggested by Animal Services lady but husband who is parking his car on street not enthusiastic. [cheapest option but cause yrs of perceived inconvenience to husband]

    The other pertinent piece of info is that we will be gone for 3 weeks in June every year and reliant on neighbors and friends to care for chicks during that time. What will be easiest?

    I am in Northern California so we have mild winters.

    Thanks for your input, I am really stuck here on what's the best course of action!

    Sally-Ann
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    101
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi, welcome to BYC [​IMG]

    (1) Nice 4' x 4' coop and free range the chickies so no run but they roam over fenced, planted yard and small lawn. [cheapest option]

    (2) nice 4 x 4 coop and 8' run but must be placed on concrete, as placing over dirt would require moving lot of established plants in relatively small yard or infringing on small lawn enjoyed by 2 small children [most expensive option]

    (3) building some roosts and nest boxes in garage (currently housing chicks who are 4 weeks old) and making chicken door. This last suggested by Animal Services lady but husband who is parking his car on street not enthusiastic. [cheapest option but cause yrs of perceived inconvenience to husband]

    The other pertinent piece of info is that we will be gone for 3 weeks in June every year and reliant on neighbors and friends to care for chicks during that time. What will be easiest?

    Option 1 is not such a good idea if you are going to be gone for 3 wks and want to have chickens when you come back (b/c without a run, if you don't lock the chickens up every night at sundown without fail, and release them at dawn, they WILL get eaten (although, even if you do, they still might). Even without going out of town, it is rather iffy not having a run available for when there are loose dogs roaming the neighborhood etc. And remember that free ranging chickens get picked off by hawks too (yes, there are hawks in cities and suburbs).

    Option 2 is doable if you buy a buncha sand/gravel type stuff to put a good thick layer on the concrete (with strong timbers etc around the edge so it doesn't wash out; but make sure water can still drain out or you've made a muddy bathtub). I'd suggest roadbase or whatever it's called in your area, the sand/gravel/dirt mix used to build gravel roads and road foundations.

    You're sure you couldn't just move a few plants, though? How much can *be* planted in a 4x8 area? It'd be cheaper and easier than wheelbarrowing all that fill around and building something to retain it...

    Option 3 would be good if they can still have a run of some sort; if not, it becomes effectively option 1 with the same drawbacks.

    Good luck, hope this helps, have fun,

    Pat​
     

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