First Time Chicken Mom

Kim_1970

Songster
11 Years
Apr 11, 2008
154
0
129
MD
Hello all

I recently moved onto a small farm with my horses and happily there is a chicken coop/run here.
Its in sorry shape and will need some work.

The coop has 8 nesting boxes that are 10" x 12" each
The inside of the coop is 9' x 10'
The fenced outside run is 16' x 19'

I am not sure how many chickens this could accommodate comfortably? I'd like to get Australorps, Jersey Giants and an Easter Egger. All hens. The coop is too close to my house and neighbors houses to get a rooster. Although I hear a rooster in the neighborhood somewhere.

I need to clean out the run, clean out the inside of the coop obviously, the former residents left it a mess.
Please let me know what else I need in there. I know I need some perches and a ladder of sorts for the chickens to get up to the nesting boxes correct?
I live in an area where we have those vulture hawks and I have spotted an Eagle in our back pasture as well. How do I protect them from predators from above? Should I make a roof? Should the roof be fencing or covered (IE: Plywood/shingles?)

Thank you in advance for your advice.

Kim

Outside view showing run
coop1.jpg


Nesting boxes
coop2.jpg

coop3.jpg

coop4.jpg


Messy inside coop that needs cleaning
coop5.jpg
 

sherrydeanne

Songster
10 Years
Mar 3, 2009
1,066
5
161
At my computer, where are you?
Wow, lucky you.
How high from the floor are the nest boxes? If only 2-3 feet, they won't need a ladder. That extra closet shelf will make a nice ladder though, if you want to reuse it. Nevermind, with giants I'd do a ladder.

You'll also need roosts if you don't have them
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You can fit 20 hens very comfortably.

You can use just bird netting, but I'd use chicken wire on the top of the run.

Again, congrats!!!
 

MiniBeesKnees

Songster
10 Years
Feb 23, 2009
484
4
131
Walkertown, North Carolina
You have room for 22-24 hens...more if some are bantys in the coop, and room for 30 in the run. That would be considered max by most folks' advice.
You probably have enough roosting boxes already for that many.
I don't put ladders up to my roosts, they fly up there by themselves easily but I don't clip wings.
Most of the poop will happen while they roost so don't put it with anything under that you don't want poop on...like don't put it over nesting boxes.
It is very handy to put something easily cleanable under the roost to catch the poop...keeps the coop much cleaner.
A piece of linoleum is good...and I'd put a slanted piece to cover the tops of the nesting boxes so they will not roost or poop there.

Whatever you cover the top of the run with...just remember if your only door is accessed through the pen then you'll have to bend over to walk through there.
That gets old quick.
Terry in TN
 

teach1rusl

Love My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 28, 2009
10,017
174
356
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
My Coop
My Coop
I agree with both previous posts. I'd stick with 20 birds or less. And the dropping boards that were mentioned already (under the roosts you'll be putting up) help keep the place clean, 'cause they're so quick and easy to manage on a daily basis. Some only scrape them a few times a week, but it literally would take maybe 5 minutes to scrape your dropping board and do a quick spot clean in the bedding for 20 or so birds. You WON'T need 8 nest boxes for that many birds, maybe 5 or 6. I would strongly suggest removing the board separating two of the nest boxes to expand at least one of them. 10 x 12" in pretty small, especially if you'll have jersey giants. My nest boxes are about 14 x 16 for my standard girls. Or you could do what some others have done and use a covered kitty litter box for your bigger girls. That's great that you have a place mostly set-up already!!
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I would add a pop door myself, and make a people door for the existing opening. I didn't catch your location, but it's sure nice to be able to shut the "big door" in bad weather. Chicken wire would be fine cover for the top of the run...

ETA: Oh yeah...just saw beesknees other comment...Ventilation!!! Couldn't tell whther you had any vents in the sides or along the roof line???
 
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Kim_1970

Songster
11 Years
Apr 11, 2008
154
0
129
MD
Nope, no vents that I have found. I am sure I can get my hands on a small window - will that suffice?

I plan to have my hubby (who thankfully is a carpenter) make a door and a chicken door for them to go through. We live in MD and get some fierce windy nights. Not too much snow, usually. This year we had a lot but that is very out of the ordinary. Mostly just wind and cold.
 

MiniBeesKnees

Songster
10 Years
Feb 23, 2009
484
4
131
Walkertown, North Carolina
You'd be surprised how much ventilation you need.
Apparently it is the high humidity that causes frostbite rather than the cold.
Ventilation is necessary, drafts are bad, cold can be tolerated.
It's important to make the ventilation openings predator proof...most folks use hardware cloth.

Ventilation that doesn't let rain in, but lets hot humid air out are good.
I bet your husband will come up with something perfect.

Just an addendum...it is also common to end up with more chickens...sometimes many more...than originally planed upon.
big_smile.png

Terry in TN
 

eastbaychicks

Songster
10 Years
Aug 19, 2009
476
8
121
Livermore
Fun little farm!!! I would be so excited not to have to build a coop! And this is huge.... I agree with all of the above. My birds fly up to their perches and I just make sure they have a padded landing so I don't wind up with foot problems. Though I know it is inevitable one of these days. I don't have enough room to have a ladder (the DH planned the size of the coop without me I was sad), but I make do.

An Eagle. We covered our run with hardwire on all four sides, that being said our run is much much smaller. I'd dig wire down to about a foot and curve it out a little if you can. I'd make sure the holes in the current hardwire up to hen height are small enough so a raccoon can't reach in, and the top is strong enough that a diving Eagle can't get through. I've heard they can fly around 80mph... that's really fast. Just make sure you can walk around in there. That being said the birds will know the Eagle is flying around and take cover. I have eagles here and they usually duck and cover. I have literally run into the back yard after seeing an Eagle upon driving up (I let my girls free range) and they all were frozen still hiding. They have a lot of places to hide and I have lots of bushes they hide in where even I can't find them sometimes.

Enjoy the new place.
 

Kim_1970

Songster
11 Years
Apr 11, 2008
154
0
129
MD
I remember my sister telling me that one day she was sitting in the yard with her flock while they free ranged and all of a sudden they all ran towards her feet and dropped down low in the grass. She looked up and sure enough , there was a hawk flying above. They are very smart - I was impressed! After hearing all of her stories I had a whole new appreciation for chickens.
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I am really looking forward to having my own and hope to get out there soon and start cleaning the coop and run out.

Last weekend I got kicked by my horse (accidentally, I was in the pasture and they were running and having fun, kicking up, etc... and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got nailed in the back) and in the end, I have a partially collapsed left lung. Plus all the muscles on the left side of my body keep having spasms so I am out of commission as far as labor goes for a few more weeks.
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