1. chic101

    chic101 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2015
    We just got our first chicks this week. As soon as our snow melts we will build their coop. There's about a foot and a half left to melt. I have a few questions.

    For 6 hens, how big of a run should be good for them. We have plenty of yard to use for their coop and run. Just looking to keep the cost down. I do plan on letting them out of their coop in the morning and let them have the run until bedtime. Occasionally we can let them free range in the rest of the yard.

    How big should the nesting boxes be?

    Are there advantages to having the run tall enough for you to get in and clean? For those who have runs that aren't tall enough to access, how easy is it to clean?

    CAn anyone comment about whether it would be a good idea to also have additional storage that could store the food and anything else we would need for them. The coop will be set back from my house so we re trying to keep supplies close by to the coop. Bad idea?
     
  2. PapaChaz

    PapaChaz Overrun With Chickens

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    I'll go ahead and give you the general rule of thumb. There will be some come along most likely and give you a spiel about how 'numbers don't matter because we're all different'........(chickens are pretty much the same though for their needs, taking into consideration the breed size)

    inside the coop, 4 sq ft per bird, outside run, 10 sq ft per bird. It is easier to keep clean if you have more room per bird, although since you don't mention where you are, in colder climates too much space and the birds won't stay as warm with only their own body heat....

    I have had a shorter hard to get into run, NEVER AGAIN!!!! go ahead and spare yourself the back aches and build it tall enough to walk into [​IMG]

    do a search for 'cattle panel hoop run', quick easy and about the least expensive way to get a run up. Look for Blooie's coop page and read how she did her run.
     
  3. chic101

    chic101 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Love that coop, I like the set up of that style. Thank you!

    We live in MA. Have six sex links that are only a week old right now. It does get pretty cold and decent amount of snowfall. We got almost 5 feet this season.

    Besides using tarps to cover that cattle panel coup, any ways to cover with a solid roof to shield from rain and snow.?
     
  4. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in MA and debated whether I needed a covered run. I'm so glad I chose the put a roof on my run otherwise this first winter with chickens would have been my last winter with chickens! My run is constructed with pressure treated posts set in concrete and could support a plywood and metal panel roof. Best freaking decision I could have made! I never want another winter like this one, but at least I know my coop and run can survive it if it comes.
     
  5. chic101

    chic101 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Thanks for your personal experience. It seems like a covered run is so important here. My yard doesn't get much shade at all so they would probably bake without a cover.
     
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes. We built the run in stages. The roof didn't go on until the fall so in the summer I used a shade cloth to provide relief from the sun.
     
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  7. chic101

    chic101 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Is the cost of a cattle panel run rather expensive? I'm sure it depends on the size but are the materials pretty cost effective?
     
  8. PapaChaz

    PapaChaz Overrun With Chickens

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    well at tractor supply they are $19.97 each here. Of course you'll have to wrap them with something else because the "holes" are 4x4. Some people just tie chicken wire over the top, some do hardware cloth. Of course the chicken wire is less expensive, but not quite as 'secure'.

    Something else too, is you have to have support for the cattle panels. If you looked at Blooies coop and run, they drove T posts into the ground and tied the cattle panels to them. My son in law made a quick up run in shelter for their mare that 's about to drop a foal that same way, and put a tarp over it. perfect, quick and easy shelter for them until we can get a permanent shelter built for the horses.

    Today I started on my run. From what I've seen most people that do these runs, is the spread at the bottom is around 8 1/2 feet, and makes the run a tad over 6 ft tall. I wanted to spread mine to 10 feet, but that was going to put the height at just over 5 ft. I'm framing around the bottom with pressure treated 2x12's, and attaching the cattle panel ends about an inch or so from the top, to give me extra height. Don't mind my messy yard, LOL but here's a pic of the first two cattle panels with HC wrapped over. Thanks to a tip from Blooie, I attached the HC to the panel BEFORE raising it. I used fence staples to attach it to the coop and the 2x12's

    [​IMG]
    as you can see, I attached a 2x4 between them to keep them from spreading apart. I'm extending this another 10 feet, and realized the 2x12x10's I bought aren't pressure treated, so I stopped working on the framing and went to work on the muddy mess. We've had a tremendous amount of rain, which has shown me where I need to build up. In the pic below, you'll see I am filling it with wood chips, I flagged down one of the tree trimming company trucks and got them to dump me a load of chips.....

    [​IMG]
    Ahhh, the best made plans of mice and men..........the utility trailer I build last year tilts, so I figured I could load it heavy on the back, pull the pin and let it tilt and dump the chips.......BAHAHAHA, was a good idea anyway. I had to go back and load the front of the trailer because it lifted the rear end of the atv off the ground, and then with all the weight on it, the pin was in a bind and I couldn't pull it. I wound up having to shovel it back off the trailer....next time I move wood chips, it will be with the yard cart, I know it dumps........

    sorry I forgot to cover the cost. All total, buying the hardware cloth on amazon.com, I'm going to have right at $400 invested in a 10x20 run. the end will be framed up, 2 - 4x4 posts in for gate posts and I have some chain link fence top rail and the metal working tools to cut it and weld a gate. I'll have enough HC to cover the whole end and make the gate as well. It would have been a lot cheaper to use the T posts, but I wanted the extra space and height
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  9. chic101

    chic101 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Thank you for the info. Can't wait to get started on our coop and run. Dying to plant some flowers on the outside and make it looked great.
     

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