Getting started. What do you think?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PAJerry, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. PAJerry

    PAJerry Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    Waterford, PA
    I'm just getting started and wonder what the experienced folks here think of my plan. I've been lurking here for several weeks and there are lots of great people here.

    I want to raise about 8-10 chickens for eggs mostly, but meat when necessary. I am buying a nice 6 ft. x 8 ft. shed and have enough room for a chicken yard about 20 ft. by 40 ft. The problem is that the minimum order for chicks is 15. I plan on raising Golden Comets from Mt. Healthy since they seem to have the disposition and hardiness I want. I think that the shed may be too small for all 15, and I would like to reduce the flock down to 8-10 before next winter but don't want to mess things up by trying to raise all 15 to the point where 5 can become dinners. Do you think I can keep all 15 and raise them correctly with the coop and run I have planned or will they get stressed and I end up with problems?

    Thanks in advance for your help. I'm really looking forward to raising chickens again ( grew up on a farm long ago) and I'm glad there is a forum like this to get some advice.[​IMG]
  2. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    IF they have access to the outside run all the time during the day, the coop will work for 15. If they are going to be cooped much of the time, then it may be a little tight depending on the individual dispositions of the chickens. A small coop in the winter, helps keep them warmer, and more prone to lay in the winter months. Less reserves are used for survival.

    Your run may suffer more than anything with 15. If you have quick growing grasses it may keep up with the wear and tear. Can you cut the run into 2? That way while one side is recovering they are ranging on the other.

    Just my $0.02

    No doubts you will get lots of opinions and ideas over the next few days.
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Hi PAJerry, welcome!!

    An 8x10 coop = 80 sq ft. With each bird needing 4 sq ft, you can easily fit 20 chickens in there. I have a few comets. Thier disposition is great! 15 will easily fit in there.
    The run is 20x40 = 800 sq ft. Each bird needs 10 sq ft. Again, 15 will be ok in there. However, there will be NO GRASS in a few weeks! Will they be able to free range at all? If so, this might help with the grass situation, unless it doesnt bother you that there is no grass there. None of my runs have grass left, so I just give them as many greens possible.
    Have fun with your chickens....comets lay great...large brown eggs.
  4. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    justusnak has done the math so I wont, now that we know you have enough room. will you be getting straight run or pullets, if getting straight run, you will want to get rid of about 1/2 before winter anyway. If you have a Tractor Supply Center nearby, check with them, see what breeds they are getting(If yours is getting chicks) or check with local feed store maybe they are getting chicks. They may be getting what you want or a suitable substitute.

    Another option is get them then sell extras. Or see if someone close would like to split an order with you.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    LOL Deb, please don't be offended but you just figured out the 'square footage' of his number of chickens ("8-10") not his shed ("6'x8' ").

    A 6x8 shed would be 48 sq feet, divided by 15 chickens if they all survive would be 3.2 sqare feet per chicken in the coop. That doesn't sound so terrible to me, especially if it will just be a temporary thing and mostly while they're growing up. Worst comes to worst you could always eat a few early, right? Then if you overwinter ten of them, they'll have almost 5 square feet per chicken in the coop, which should be just fine.

    The run, as Deb says, is PLENTY big enough. *No* size run is going to maintain grass under 10 or 15 chickens, so I don't think that should really be a consideration.

    To me, it sounds like a good plan.

  6. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007

    what was I thinking always check your own math!
  7. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    If your getting them as chicks, I would take all 15 and raise them to the point of lay, and then sell the extras, that you don't want. You can get pretty good dollars for "ready to lay" pullets, and I bet they sell really fast.

    I have an 6'X8' house, and my supplier tryed to encourage me to get 15. Said they would be fine with the space. These are ISA Browns though, so bigger birds, or ones with a mean disposition may not work out.
  8. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    Yes, or find someone that want to go in on the chick order with you-maybe there is even someone here that lives near you and would want to do that. Then you could just get the number of birds you want [​IMG]
  9. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    in a 6 by 8 y0u can have 15 birds easy.thats 3.2ft pre im sure youll give them access to the outside run everyday.they are outside from 8 to 12hrs a day depending on the season.
  10. PAJerry

    PAJerry Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    Waterford, PA
    Thanks for all the replies so far - and the general vote of confidence. I can't thank you all enough for all the great things I'm learning here. My wife and I are in our mid-late fifties and trying to get to be as self sufficient as we can. We've always had a big garden (raised three great kids), plenty of berry bushes, fruit trees, etc. We got into heating our house with wood 2 years ago and just love it. The chickens just seemed like a natural next step and we can't wait to get started.[​IMG]

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