Coop Proximity to Vegi Garden and other various newbirdie questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 90232cockerel, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. 90232cockerel

    90232cockerel New Egg

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    Dec 17, 2012
    Seeing how chicken feices makes for good manure, I figure building a chicken Coop next to my Vegi garden wouldn't be a bad thing, or am I wrong? Are there any contamination factors that i should be conerned with, assuming all vegetables are thoroughly washed before consumption? I fear e coli might be an issue, or other bacterial pathogens. The hens would be housed in a 4' X 8' coop leading to a 4' X 20' run with several perches along the run. I know next to nothing about chickens, but I'm learning, one thread at a time. In terms of coop size, for 6 hens, will this be suitable for this size flock? Do chickens flock? When I read 4 sq/ft per hen, I assume that's including nesting boxes, but I'm uncertain. What breads would you suggest for a first time chicken enthusiast? I've read that certain breeds yield upwards of 200 eggs per year... Output is a factor, but happy healthy chickens are the priority. Are certain breeds better, to ease the learning curve? I live in LA, if that makes a difference. Speaking of LA, where is the best place to find egg laying ready birds? Thank you all in advance!
     
  2. Double Laced

    Double Laced Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You should always compost chicken poo and the shaving etc from the coop for a bit as they can damaged plants if used straight away.

    I keep barnevelders which lay me an average of 163 eggs in their 1st year but they are excellent quality. hybrids lay more, we had an amber star hybrid that layed 343 in her first year.

    4 to 6 large fowl or 6 to 7 bantams would be ok in your coop/run - you need a nesting box for every 3 birds.

    I have a big tree stump with plenty of arms on in my pens for extra space/perching or to hang stuff on.

    In terms of predators, the best is a completely covered and enclosed run with locks and bolts.
     
  3. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't see a problem with the garden next to the coop as far as contamination goes. But as mentioned above you should never put fresh manure on your garden as it will chemically burn any nearby plants due to the high Nitrogen content.

    I can suggest two solutions to this problem, both of which I have used successfully in the past. Both methods consist of composting the material from the coop.

    1. Make a small compost pile near both and run your coop cleanings through it before adding to garden, two is better so one can be aging while the fresh stuff is added to the new pile. Just swap between the two, when one is broken down move it to the garden and that becomes the fresh bin while the other starts to age. You can even put the compost piles in the garden and move them around year to year, that way you garden in the dirt that nutrients leached out of the pile last year. A couple circles of chicken wire that you move year to year would work for this, just fill and empty them in 6month intervals and you should be fine.

    2. Trench composting. In this method you need to keep areas of your garden free from plants. As you clean out your coop you dig a trench in the garden away from other plants and bury the coop cleanings in this trench. Next time you clean you dig a new trench and fill then cover that trench. Next season you turn over the areas with the trenches and make new areas for trenches.



    Another option for winter is to just pile it in the garden and dig it in at spring planting.
     
  4. Boneyard

    Boneyard Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a big run too, 20X35. Is it ok to compost the hay and poo inside the run and let the chickens mulch it?
     
  5. 90232cockerel

    90232cockerel New Egg

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    Thank you very mucho, very helpful! Another question, should I give the hens free access to the run during the day and then house them in the coop at night? Is there a ratio to encourage egg laying, like 8 hours free run and 16 hours coop, or vice versa?
     
  6. kichohana

    kichohana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have my coop and attached run (alas, they cannot free range because I don't trust the dogs...) about 20 feet from my garden. I have a compost bin in the corner of the garden and poop goes directly there from the coop before it transitions to the garden. I think you can get a pretty good idea of my set-up on my coop/house/yard page.

    Double laced gave great suggestions about coop/run set up. Roosts in the run give the girls an option to get off the ground. I think a change of scenery is nice for them. I have a coop with run attached. Part of it is solid roofed and the rest is covered by shade cloth and bird netting. This way they have an option to get out of the rain but still not be confined to the coop.

    I started my flock with Speckled Sussex and Colombian Wyandottes. Loved the Wyandottes - very friendly, docile, lots of large pale brown eggs. The Sussex are much less friendly, but are such pretty birds. They were also great layers of smaller pinkish-brown eggs. I currently have 1 Sussex left (too old to lay) and have added 3 Rhode Island Reds and one Partridge/RIR cross. The 3 RIR girls are inquisitive but not overly friendly. I hear they are prolific layers - mine were born 13 July so eggs any day now! The RIR cross was traded to me and is about 4 weeks younger (we guess). She is a sweetie pie and is my lap chicken.

    As far as acquiring birds in the LA area, check your local Craigs list. You may have to drive out a bit to find someone but they're out there. This was one of many in the area listed - and they deliver! (Nice website too - i got sidetracked!)
    www.dare2dreamfarms.com
     
  7. gardendufus

    gardendufus Chillin' With My Peeps

    I set my garden up right next to my coop/run. (Think two fenced rectangles 3 feet apart.) Then I put the gates to each directly opposite each other. Each gate opens outward. In the fall (no gardening in CO in the winter) when harvest is done, I open the garden gate and latch it onto the run. I open the run gate and latch it onto the garden, making a fenced path between the two. The birds then have access to all areas. I do not allow my chickens access to the garden as they destroy almost everything they can get their bills and feet onto. But during the fall/winter, they are free to (and do) fertilize and till my garden to their hearts content.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012

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