Coop/Run placement issues on pacific northwest property

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kwyjibo, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Kwyjibo

    Kwyjibo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 1, 2011
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Greetings! 1st post. After years of planning, I finally placed an order for some chicks, due to arrive at the end of July.

    I think I've got a handle on setting up a brooder & building a coop/run. However, I'm not sure where to place them on my property. First, I live in the pacific northwest - 1 acre of mostly fir & cedars, heavily landscaped (grown), and grassy areas. I wonder if there is any vegetation that might be bad for them - like moss & lichens (which are all over). You know, stuff unique to the northwest rainforests - lots of moisture & shade. Also, are there common landscape trees, bushes, & shrubs that standout as dangers. I can see rhododendrons, ferns, ivy, & native vines & shrubs. I don't know if I should restrict them to the grassy areas - or let scratch around in the overgrown areas (lots of bugs). Any advice? Many thanks in advance for your wisdom & support.
     
  2. DancingHen

    DancingHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2011
    Central Oregon Coast
    Greeting from coastal oregon! and welcome to the forum! [​IMG] I am also raising chickens here in the beautiful pacific northwest. I can tell you that Rhodedendrons are toxic to chickens......but if they are free ranging your yard they won't likely eat it. If you confined them to a small space with only Rhodies they might eat it. The moss and lichen won't hurt them. My girls have access to moss all the time. I believe I read somewhere that ferns are bad for chickens, as is ivy, but again my yard is covered in both and my chickens leave it alone. I would say that if you let them range the whole acre they will choose to eat the good stuff and leave the bad, but if you confine them to a smaller run don't have toxic plants in with them as they are more likely to eat it if they have less choices and more boredom. Hope that makes sense. One plus to our region is all the slugs! Great chicken protein! [​IMG]
     
  3. andalusn

    andalusn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    Hi.. [​IMG] I am in the PNW, just north of Portland Oregon. On 5 acres we have woods to the east of the barn, a grassy spot and then the chicken area the is next to the barn and a loafing shed aisle way. they free range all over the place. I am fortunate to not have a predator problem as we have it all but there are so many bunnies running around there is plenty of food that's easier to get. The property past the woods is all state owned reclaimed wetlands so there are lots of ducks, geese etc My flock does well foraging and they love going into the woods to scratch in my manure pile.

    I just started with the place I wanted to place the hen house, built an enclosed run area with covered roof and then let them out a little at a time and now they make the rounds to the house, around it and then back over to the barn and they spend lots of time in the barn. Its very open so they can sit under cover on really rainy day and watch it poor and then venture out to explore the mud when its perfect. I have hot wire at chicken height to keep them in my barnyard and not going to my neighbors as their front yard large as it is goes right up to my fence line which is my sheep yard and a favored chicken area full of short grass and not many trees.
     
  4. Haunted Chicken

    Haunted Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 2, 2011
    Oregon
    Greetings from just west of Portland Oregon [​IMG] I'm new to this Chicken world myself so I'll be paying close attention to the answers you get. Rhodies toxic?! Yikes [​IMG] My yard is full of them. Guess I should wait and see if they go after them before I have my DH yank em.
     
  5. andalusn

    andalusn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    Usually it take a very hungry animal that has no other options than to eat a growing plant that is toxic. Mother nature has done a good job with hard wiring livestock (chickens included) to eat the natural offerings that they are compatible with. If you have good food and water available at all times then the free ranging is just a buffet of added goodies like bugs, grubs and greens like grass to enhance their diet and make great eggs for you.
     
  6. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    Greetings from Whidbey Island, WA!

    We let our flocks free range in a yard filled with alder, holly, blackberry, wild roses and tons of grand firs. We've been doing this for several years now, so far - so good.
     
  7. Kwyjibo

    Kwyjibo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 1, 2011
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Thanks for all the excellent input. I'm quite relieved - one less thing to worry about. The chicks should arrive on 29 July. I gotta have the brooder ready. Then the coop. Then the fenced in chicken yard. Much to do. Look forward to posting pics. I have 4 breeds in the shipment. I'll have to figure out what's what cuz won't have room for all 25 and don't want to get rid of the wrong chick.
     
  8. Ryan McEachern

    Ryan McEachern Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Maple Ridge, BC
    Welcome! We are in south west BC, just north of the Sumas/Lynden area, no problems with the native vegetation, the biggest headache in this area I think is actually black bears. Go with electric on your fencing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  9. sdeneen2001

    sdeneen2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 26, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    Greetings from Bellevue. When I lived east of Redmond, I had a flock that free ranged in my backyard/wooded area. No problems with plants, they love hiding under rhodies and around the salal. They ate lots of oregon grapes and huckleberries (a freakout treat). Lots of problems with predators. I lost hens to hawks, racoons, bobcats and finally a pack of coyotes that took half of my flock while they were freeranging in mid afternoon. Recommend a nice secure coop and a covered area around it. Its nice not to have to walk through the "poop soup" after heavy rains. Enjoy!

    Now that I'm in Bellevue, I have a fully enclosed coop and run in my back yard and have started over with a new flock.
     

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