Garden coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by UGAchick, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. UGAchick

    UGAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am looking for pesticide-free bug removal in my garden. I also have 12 serama eggs in the incubator from the latest egg swap. SO....I was thinking that I could finish fencing in the garden and build a new coop just for the little guys. How high should the fence be to contain the seramas? I know that they are small, but I am not sure how high they can fly.

    Also, what size coop do I need for such small chickens? I know that the garden is plenty big enough to use as the run. But it isn't covered. Big deal?

    Finally, is this a stupid idea? Are the chickens going to eat all the veggies in addition to or in lieu of the bugs???
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have Serama cross breeds. Some have perched on our roof, looking for a good place to lay eggs. Two six week old chicks flew straight up in the air to the top of a six foot fence. They can fly very well. The chicks flew up to the top of the fence to get back in our yard, though. They were spooked by some bluejays into wiggling through the very small gap (1 1/2 inch) at the bottom of the fence, and the flew to return home. Even though mine can easily fly over our fence, they choose not to. They like it here, I guess.

    I use the same rule of thumb for coops and runs for my bantams as for the big birds: 4 square feet per bird inside, 10 square feet per bird, outside. You can never go wrong having too much space, but if you find out after you build that you have too little space, that's a real headache.

    I keep my chickens out of our garden until the plants are well established and bigger than the chickens. So far, so good. But I wouldn't rely on a garden as the only place to give my chickens outdoor time, simply because you won't be able to let them in there right after you've planted (they'll scratch up all the seeds).

    An uncovered run means your chickens will be vulnerable to predators. In addition to the usual daytime hawks, Seramas are so small even the full grown ones are vulnerable if a neighborhood cat should come into your yard. You'll have to decide whether you're willing to accept the risk of losing some chickens, or not.

    I'm not willing to accept that risk, which is why I use chicken tractors for daytime and a secure coop/run for nights.
     
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Generally, the smaller and lighter breeds of chickens fly the highest and best, so their small size actually works against being able to have a low fence for them.

    Also, chickens dig much too much to stay in a garden for the most part and yes, they will eat lots of the veggies. They can go in at times, for short periods while under supervision. But no, I would never leave them in a garden for a run. Most runs are devoid of all vegetation for a reason.

    Guineas do not dig nearly as much, they are good bug eaters, fantastic bug eaters in fact, and they aren't much interested in the vegetables. Somewhat, but not much.

    There IS a set-up that was in MEN that does look like it would would work very well. it's sort of a 'chicken moat' around a garden, so the chickens actually eat any pests that try to cross their territory. Here's the link. http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/1988-05-01/Garden-Pest-Control.aspx (the run is the thick brown section, you have to look at the layout sort of close to figure it out.)
     
  4. UGAchick

    UGAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow - that moat is awesome!!! Perhaps a smaller scale version will work on our property.

    Stupid question: what exactly are guineas? I have seen some for sale in our area, but didn't really know what they were!
     
  5. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

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    Guineas are, as we say here, ugly little bug controllers.... but safer then chickens in the garden! Chickens will destroy and dig, and rip leaves and peck fruit and veggies that are ripe. They are FANTASTIC in the fall when you are cleaning out your garden... they will turn the soil, pick up scraps and fertilize for ya. Guineas and geese are usually my choice for weed and bug control... they do less damage to actual plants.
     
  6. tasymo

    tasymo Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fair warning though, guinea fowl are AMAZINGLY LOUD and ugly, and funny too. but LOUD LOUD LOUD!!!!
     
  8. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Quote:My husband refers to the as the "Air Raid Sirens"
     
  9. UGAchick

    UGAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, then they DEFINITELY wouldn't work for us. I am trying to keep my chickens under the radar.
     

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