Couple coop questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by UncleAlvah, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. UncleAlvah

    UncleAlvah New Egg

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    Jan 4, 2013
    We have about 40 or so free range chickens, they roost wherever suits them in the barn at night. Its been getting harder and harder to locate the nests to harvest eggs, they have them hidden in all kinds of nooks and crannies, and theres plenty of nooks and crannies in and around the barn. They pretty much ignore some nesting boxes I built. My wife is of the opinion that a lot of the chickens are laying off in the woods, real thick brush in there, you'd never find them.
    Regardless, buying chicken feed and also buying eggs is kind of chaffing me, to say the least.
    We figure the best bet is to put some of the chickens up in a coop where we can lock them up at night. I want to fence the coup in, wife says she would prefer to allow them to free range.

    Which option, fenced in or not, would you prefer, being as you were looking to harvest eggs?

    Also, there is a small shed that is abandoned on the property that I would like to use as a coop. It would take a bit of wrangling to drag it out from wheres its located to a more suitable location, but nothing ginormus. The shed is 4x6. The peak is 7 ft.

    About how many chickens/nesting boxes could I put in there?

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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
  2. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Massachusetts
    You could fence an area off in the barn with nest boxes and roost, lock them in for a week and I think they will learn where home is.A lot of people free range and they say they come back to the nest boxes to lay.
     
  3. UncleAlvah

    UncleAlvah New Egg

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    Jan 4, 2013
    We have a fenced in area now, about 15x20 I'd guess. 6' high chain link fence panels on three sides, backed by one outside wall of the barn. It has a steel roof above it, but thats about 6' higher than the top of the fencing. The concern there is predators. Fox, coon and possum are mighty common here, and coyotes are showing up now as well. I'm worried that, without a secure shelter, digging under, or climbing over the fence would be no big chore.
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    That is a super cute shed! That size shed would be great for 6 chickens.


    As to finding the eggs.....

    The easiest thing many people do is to lock the chickens in the chicken yard until about noon, and then let them out to free range.

    If your barn is full of good hiding places, then you will have to get rid of those, or block them off. You want the chickens confined to an area where the only good hiding spots are your nest boxes.

    Now, since they know that there are lovely hiding spots in those woods, I think that the chickens will "hold" the eggs, and try their best not to lay until they get to the woods. So......I think they need to be locked up in their barn and run, with no good hiding spots except your nest boxes, for a full week. After the week of 'look up' they could be let to free range after noon, or there abouts.

    Also, maybe make your nest boxes darker, and put spme fake eggs in the boxes so that the chickens think that these are safe spots.
     
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