First chicken experience - San Diego help

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Socalchx, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. Socalchx

    Socalchx Hatching

    Feb 18, 2013
    San Diego CA
    Hi all!

    I have been lurking for a while now reading this forum and others and would like to solicit a bit of specific advice. First, here is our situation:

    We live in South Park, a wonderful urban neighborhood east of Balboa Park, near downtown San Diego. We are a few miles from the ocean, so the climate is really mild. We have a large (for the area) flat fenced backyard of about 4000sqft, lots of tree cover and pretty liberal chicken ordinances. The area is also patrolled by a 130lb Great Pyrenees and a cat, so I think predators will not be too much of a challenge. We also have toddlers, lots of fruit trees, compost, and a very young orchard. All we need now is chickens!

    Lots of the coop designs I have seen appear to be aimed at cold climates, extreme weather, or really significant predator protection. I saw this on local Craigslist and it seems to be an interesting, more open approach to a coop. I would probably upgrade to the 1/2" hardware cloth and maybe bury a barrier as well. What do you think?

    Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for good breeds for our situation. Looking for ~ 5 chickens, with egg production and pet suitability our primary concerns.


  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I always like to recommend Henderson's Handy Dandy Chicken chart at

    I had a coop constructed for some of my flock a couple of years ago, costing 20 bucks less but with a bigger footprint, built so the "living Quarters" were above the run area. But the one you listed would probably work for your temperate climate.

    Welcome to BYC from California wine country in the Western Sierra Foothills.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    :frow Welcome to the forum! :weee Glad you joined us! :frow

    I usually don’t like the prefabbed coops but for your situation, that one looks pretty good. The one question I have is how do the chickens go in and out? Is there a pop door I don’t see? A poop door is a small door, maybe 12” x 12” that the chickens use to go in and out. Or do they use the people door? That will work fine for you but you need a way to fasten it open. Those things have a way of blowing shut.

    You don’t have to bury wire around it to get good protection from digging predators. I suggest the apron method. Take 18” to 24” of wire and lay it flat around the coop. Attach it securely to the bottom of the coop and run. You can leave it lying on top of the ground and weight it down with something. The grass will soon grow up through it and hold it in place, but a better way may be to remove the sod, lay the wire, and put that maybe 2” of sod back on top. That keeps it out of the way of lawn mowers and weed eaters.

    The idea is that a digging predator goes up to the fence, starts to dig, hits the wire, and does not know to back up. This is a lot easier than digging a deep trench and I think it is just as effective.

    As far as breeds, a lot of that will depend on the individual hen, but I suggest you look at “takes confinement well” and “not flighty” on the Henderson Chart. And in case you wonder what they look like, you can find a whole lot of pretty pictures at Feathersite.


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