Getting ready to build a coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by amamaofmany, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. amamaofmany

    amamaofmany Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just cleared building a coop with our city office. They were shocked [​IMG] to learn that our city code actually allows chicken coops and chicken ownership in the city. And that I found out about it all by myself. And knew the law. And had been doing my homework, and had the name of an extention agent who was assisting me.

    It also helped soften the impact for me to tell them that the coop was going below my bedroom window (albeit three stories below it) and well out of view of our only neighbors, to the side facing the woods. This ought to help prevent an emergency council meeting to declare all chickens outlaws (this is the city that had the 'wild chicken' problem a month ago and apparently paid someone 4 grand to deal with it! silly, silly people)

    Anyway, I would like some suggestions for hens. We absolutely cannot have a rooster, and I'd like the hens ideally to be good layers, take confinement well, be winter hardy and also fairly quiet. There is an older feller 5 houses up and across the street who goes absolutely batty when he hears loud noise outside. Children, dogs, anything, that makes noise for more than a few minutes and he's calling someone about it. If we can keep him from knowing the clucking noises down at our dead end lot are not the local wild turkeys that live in the woods - we'll be happy!

    Do you think Easter Eggers and red sex links would fit that description? Any other birds that you would think would be good for our situation? Our coop will be about 8 feet long by 4.5 feet deep and about 7.0 feet high with a 3 foot by 4.5 foot room attached for a brooder/isolation pen, and place to put feed. The covered & gated run will be about 22 feet long and 4.5 feet deep. 8 - 10 birds?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  2. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

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    First of all, [​IMG]!

    At first, since it sounded like you lived in a city, I was going to suggest some bantams, but it sounds like you're building a pretty good-sized coop, so you could definitely fit some standard-sized birds in there.

    EEs are usually (but not always) docile and friendly and pretty good layers; you can't really go wrong there. Some other friendly, usually-calm breeds are Barred Rocks, Delawares, Dorkings (which I think a really pretty!), Orpingtons and Welsummers.

    Hens do cackle from time to time, and sometimes an aggressive hen will crow if a rooster isn't around. Why not bribe your neighbor with fresh eggs once in a while?
     
  3. Sequin

    Sequin Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    I only have experience(and even that is limited, being as I am new to raising chickens) with the black australorps that we have. I am really impressed with how well this breed fits with our family and how mild they seem to be. Even when laying, ok - I admit we only have 1 of 5 laying, the hen barely makes a peep. I was there when she was laying, so I know she didn't squawk. All chickens are going to 'talk', but we rarely hear any commotion from the chicken tractor. They are good layers, ought to be winter hardy, and I think they are overall a great breed to own. My next breed will be the Speckled Sussex; of which I have read great things about. Hope this helps some!! [​IMG]
     
  4. amamaofmany

    amamaofmany Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the welcome!

    At first, since it sounded like you lived in a city, I was going to suggest some bantams, but it sounds like you're building a pretty good-sized coop, so you could definitely fit some standard-sized birds in there.

    Yeah, they call us a city still, but really, its become more of a large town. Used to have over 28,000 in the heyday of steel mills but now we're down to about 15,000 if that. And more empty homes every week. There was talk of making us a 'bedroom community' for Pittsburgh, but with the gas prices, people stopped looking out this far.


    EEs are usually (but not always) docile and friendly and pretty good layers; you can't really go wrong there. Some other friendly, usually-calm breeds are Barred Rocks, Delawares, Dorkings (which I think a really pretty!), Orpingtons and Welsummers

    I appreciate the suggestions for hens! I've been trying to systematically learn about a new breed every few days. So many very beautiful birds! I'm going to look these up. I may just go with a combination of types. Our idea is to build the coop now and have it all ready for stocking in spring, so I have time to consider, and reconsider, and then ...[​IMG]...think about it more!

    Hens do cackle from time to time, and sometimes an aggressive hen will crow if a rooster isn't around. Why not bribe your neighbor with fresh eggs once in a while?

    We'll do our best with our poor grumpy neighbor but I'm not sure how offering him eggs will go. This particular neighbor scowls at everyone and has never spoken a civil word to us, even when we've tried to be friendly (we've only been on the street one year). None of the other neighbors speak to him either. He's just not a friendly man.

    I really appreciate your advice on breeds to look into! Its a huge help.​
     
  5. amamaofmany

    amamaofmany Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks! I just looked them up at My Pet Chicken - I like the look of them, too! I also like the 'peaceful and dignified' description on their website! Never thought of a chicken as 'dignified' but I suppose it fits! They are pretty.

    Maybe I'll get a few each: EEs, Delawares, Orpington and Australorps and think about the Dorking.

    But since I'm not going to be breeding birds, would it be good to own a rare chicken breed? Would it help the breed any if I owned them just to get eggs and didn't multiply them to help them be less rare? Or does it matter?

    Ah, these and other difficult philosophical questions remain! Tune in tomorrow for another episode of "As the Chicken Runs"[​IMG]
     
  6. Bebop

    Bebop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, the reason they're considered rare is because there aren't many people who have them as breeding stock.
    I'm getting some dorking hatching eggs and I did a lot of research so I can breed.
    While having a rare breed would be a novelty and while it's really up to the owner if they want to breed, I think getting a rare breed should be a privilege in order to increase their numbers in a responsible way.
    That's just my opinion though!
    >^.^<
     
  7. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are not planning to breed them, you are an "end user" of the birds. That means that breeders have made a little money and may make more as their birds gain more exposure in your backyard, with your friends (and neighbors). So having made the sale, the breeders are inclined to raise more of these heritage birds.

    You shouldn't feel that you should raise them just for altruistic reasons, however. Just keeping chickens is a rather unusual activity these days. And, your choice of birds should make a contribution to your household.

    I have had both a very pretty EE rooster and rather pretty, quiet, little EE hen. I didn't find the hen very productive. I think it is characteristic for the EE to be a highly variable bunch.

    Production breeds like red sex links are usually, well . . . productive. They may tend towards exhausting themselves because they use so much of their resources for making eggs, however. I don't really know if you would find that to be the case. My brother was very happy with them for a good number of years.

    Even meat birds have the ability to lay quite a few eggs. If that wasn't so, we wouldn't have the hatcheries turning the chicks out by the millions. Where they may fall short is that they can’t change pounds of chicken feed into as many pounds of eggs as can some other breeds.

    Delawares have attractive looks, to me. They are a heritage meat bird and I suspect that they are probably pretty good layers, as well. But, I've never owned any.

    Australorps, I've had and had again, and again. I can certainly cast another vote in their favor [​IMG].

    Steve
     
  8. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    But since I'm not going to be breeding birds, would it be good to own a rare chicken breed? Would it help the breed any if I owned them just to get eggs and didn't multiply them to help them be less rare? Or does it matter?

    I asked myself this same question when I ordered my last few chicks this year. In the end, I came to the same conclusion as digitS': being an "end user" is still good, as I'm raising the demand for a rare breed just by getting chicks. I won't be breeding the hens, but that's not necessary for raising demand.

    My original hens are Red Star hybrids. They have been fabulous layers and at 1.5 years are still incredibly productive. This year, I added 2 Delaware pullets to the flock. Delawares are a more rare breed of dual purpose chicken and are supposed to be good winter layers. That's why I chose them.

    I also added 2 Easter Egger chicks this year for the novelty/variety of colored eggs. Both have turned out to be cockerals, however, so no eggs will be coming from them! [​IMG]
     
  9. amamaofmany

    amamaofmany Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 22, 2008
    west virginia
    Hmmm.

    So maybe I will think a bit more about the Dorking, then.

    If having a couple could increase demand, and that is a good thing, maybe it is worth getting some. If they are good layers and quiet (mostly) that would be good birds for us and we wouldn't necessarily be getting them for altruistic reasons either.

    I have 8 kids and need EGGS! And if Dorkings are good at making those - they're on the list of hens I'd want.

    I do think I'll definately get some Austrolorps though. They look great and seem to be what we need.

    So far our city council hasn't met to ban chickens entirely for my asking about needing a permit for a coop. I actually was expecting that to happen, as they tend to do sneaky things like that without warning people about it. We've had neighbors come home to big yellow lines painted in front of their homes, and later learning of a late-night 'emergency' meeting about the issue that no one informed them about prior. I half expected to come home last week and find a "No Chicken" sign in front of my house for asking about it!

    They did give me a bit of a time at first down at the city building, because of the 'wild chicken' issue (which is such a silly thing to begin with. I don't think the council has a clue as to how stupid they look over that). But as I told them I had no intentions of getting a rooster or letting the hens run free into my neighbor's yards, which will eliminate' wild hens' running around for generations and annoying my neighbors, the officials seemed OK with it and I've not heard anything else about it.

    Yet. [​IMG]

    Until then, we are getting the materials ready to build. We have a plan for a coop that we think will work out OK, and as soon as my husband and sons kick their bad colds we'll be getting started cleaning up the area to pour some concrete for the floor and build the coop.

    And me, researching chickens, wanting one of everything! [​IMG]

    No one ever told me about Chicken Fever.....
     

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