coop questions for newbie

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BYOChickens, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. BYOChickens

    BYOChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    So I'm thinking of getting into the backyard chicken thing. I have gone online to look for easy coops to build myself. I have a few questions re: I see a house structure for the birds. Then I see a smaller cubicle type box inside the house. Is that where the eggs are laid or the chickens sleep? Is the cubicle necessary? Will birds lay eggs just inside the big house??? I also see run areas for the birds. How many chickens are necessary to supply a family of five. Wife has been buying a couple doezen eggs at the store per week. Are there certain breeds better than others??? Does the location of where we live make a difference for bird selection? Why are some eggs brown? What breed produces those? Are some breeds hardier than others??? What time of the year is best for starting? Should we start with chicks or look for older birds? How old must chickens be to start laying? What is a fair price to pay for chicks or older birds? At what age do birds stop laying eggs? Any helpful ideas and or pix of your coops will sure help out. Thanks.
     
  2. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Oh your are so in the right place to get all the info you need to successfully raise chickens. First...click on the learning center tab at the top of the page, it has some basic info, to pick your breeds you have to consider...what color eggs do you want (white, brown, colored, or chocolate), what climate do you live in, do you live in the country or in a city/suburban area? If you live in a city/suburban area you need to check local laws and/or zoning ordinances about raising chickens. Some allow it, some don't, some have limits on the number, etc. How many eggs a day do you want/need? Some breeds lay better than others...check out the Breeds tab at the top of the page, it will give you lots of info about temperament, egg size/color, cold hardiness, etc. So...after you read everything you can find, then go to the coop/run section and start researching coops and runs to get an idea of what you want. Things to consider are cost of supplies, number of chickens (they require a minimum of 10 square feet of run space per bird and 4 square feet of coop space per bird), do you intend to let them free range in your yard some, or will they always be penned. You can answer many of your questions just by reading all the great info on this site. Read about predators, feed, illnesses, etc. etc. to get a feel for things that don't work and things that do. Good luck and [​IMG] from middle TN. Oh...the cube things are nest boxes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:Wow! Lots of questions...so do take some time and browse the tabs along the top - they provide some good info.
    Nest boxes are for laying - not sleeping in. Chickens sleep on roosts. Some elevate their nest boxes; others don't. It can be as simple as a bucket turned on it's side or a milk crate. Chickens would just lay in the bedding, but then there are better chances of the eggs getting stepped on or pooped on.
    For a family of 5 you would probably want about 10 hens. One of the tabs along the top list the different breeds and their egg laying abilities - as well as which breeds do better in cold/hot weather, which do better in containment, what color eggs they lay, etc.
    I think it's easier to start with chickens in early spring, JMO. If you want eggs sooner, you may want to find point of lay pullets (females close to laying age). Most breeds lay by 6 months of age. Prices will vary...for common breeds, maybe $10 for POL pullets????
    Lots of coops to look at on the "coops" page (look along the top). Keep in mind that you'll want around 4 sq. feet (minimum) of indoor space and 10 sq. ft. (min.) of run space per standard size chicken. Good luck - take some browsing/learning time [​IMG]
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, start with the links on the main page, like raising Chickens 101, and the Learning Center. Plus, there is a whole section just for coops of all sizes!

    But, the smaller cubicle in the hen house IS for the hens to lay eggs in a safe, clean place, where they won't get stepped on, pooped on, etc. Chickens actually sleep on roost bars, not in little bedrooms. They generally start to lay eggs between six and nine months old, although some breeds mature faster. Some eggs are brown because many breeds lay brown eggs, while others lay white eggs, and some others even lay blue or green eggs.

    Hybrid breeds are bred to be good layers. There is also a whole section on chicken breeds!
     
  5. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

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    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    Coops are very easy to make and anyone can make them. It doesn't matter what they look like as long as they fit your birds needs. For a family of 5 probably 6-10 hens would be good. Good breeds of layers are Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orphingtons, Barred Rocks and many more. If you looking for chicks or hens try to find someone local via craigslist and don't be afraid to and questions. Chicks go for around $1-$3 around here and young Pullets go for around $4-$5. Hens can have a big price range from $6 to $15 depending on breed and age. If you by chicks from a hatchery like mcmurray you can get sexed or straight run (males and females mixed with no guarantee) they go about $2 to $2.50 each. Are you looking for really good egg layers then the breeds listed above are great. To house approx 10 hens you would need 40 sq ft like a 7 x 7 coop with a 100 sq ft run. You would need about 2-3 nesting boxes and 10-12 ft of roosting bars. Hope this helps and let us know how everything goes! Welcome to BYC!

    -Nate
     
  6. Moabite

    Moabite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2010
    Utah
    I have 6 hens, and a family of 5. I get about 4 eggs a day on average. I end up having a few extra eggs to give away or trade every month. You ought to get at least one Easter Egger, 'cause it's fun to get glue and green eggs. The eggs all taste the same no matter what color the shell. But chickens also come in so many colors, so I let each of my family members pick their own chick at the feed store. It is fun to get to know the birds, they each have there own distinct personalities.

    When you build your coop, Do Not get chicken wire, buy the more expensive welded hardware cloth instead. This is probably the #1 mistake people make when building their first coop.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  7. BigIslandChicks

    BigIslandChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] from hawaii!!! [​IMG]

    you have come to the right place to get all your ????? answered!!
    goodluck
     
  8. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well you are in for lots of fun, amazement, some heartbreak, and yummy eggs. Despite the fact that they are merely chickens they are expensive. The coop itself is a big investment unleass you have lots of materials just hanging around your yard. My coop itself cost approx $1,200. to build. The chicks are cheap [​IMG] I only payed $3. each for mine. They feed is cheap too, around $13/per 40# here in NH, but they eat lots of it. I would think you would need approx 10 hens which would go through a bag a month depending of course if they free range at all. Free ranging inyour yard can be dangerous with both domestic and wild predators such as dogs, hawks, racoon. possum, fox, etc. Once they get a free meal they will be back and it gets harder to keep them safe. Chicken is yummy afterall [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of my coop which consists of the 4x6 coop with the attached 4x8 secure run.
    There are nest boxes on the floor against the wall and one long perch looking out of the window in the front where they all cuddle up to sleep. They all get along really well. I am lucky as their is usually one or two that cause trouble in most flocks.


    [​IMG]

    There is also a window on the right side and a door that opens for cleaning the coop out. The bottom half of the coop is for storage and the door is located under the cleaning door on the right sid also. It is where I keep some shavings, alfalfa, extra feeders, waterers, etc. The food and rakes, etc I keep in another shed.

    Inside the run is a large door I open up every morning (and close every night) with a ramp into the run. I let them out when I am home to free range in the yard during the long days of summer. They love when I get home from work and do yard work, they follow me everywhere, then put themselves to bed at dusk. I then go lock them in for the night.

    It's alot of work even with a small flock. It's also very rewarding. Here are some pics of my girls.

    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  9. blefky

    blefky life in the yard

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    Mar 18, 2010
    stamford, ct
    I really can't over stress the value of taking the time to really educate yourself before getting started. Use the learning center, peruse the forums, ask questions. I made some expensive mistakes when I started, which could have been avoided if I'd spent more time hanging out here first. One of the things that people often under-investigate and don't initially prepare well enough for is safe and adequate housing and run. Doesn't need to be fancy, but it should be adequately sized, well vented, and predator safe. There's lot's and lot's of good information here. Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  10. Tdub4chiks

    Tdub4chiks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Constantia, NY
    Everyone is giving you great advice. Read as much info on how to take care of your chickens as possible. Once you learn that, you will know what to build. I did that and am very happy with my new setup. The girls seem very happy and healthy. The one thing I did not consider for the girls sake was location, location, location. I put the coop where it would be most convenient for me, electric and supplies. What a mistake that was. Now their coop is in the muddiest spot in my entire 2 acres come spring, fall and winter. Now I have to come up with a drainage solution this spring or move the coop. So, build your coop where it will have good drainage for when the rain/snow is coming down.

    Good Luck!
     

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