Have I got enough space for another one??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cpmatthews, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. cpmatthews

    cpmatthews New Egg

    Dec 30, 2009
    London, UK
    Hi everyone,

    I am new to keeping chickens so I did all my research and bought a house, put some galvanised mesh chicken wire around the house so they've got a lot of room to roam about in. I'm pretty happy with it all and they seem to like it! We put the house and run on some paving slabs to stop any foxes trying to dig under and into the run.

    I've got 2 questions really. The first is this: I really want to get another hen, so they can go around in pairs and also just because I have grown to love these chickens. My only concern is whether or not the coop and run will be big enough to comfortably house them all, even though the brochure said that the whole thing can house up to 4 large birds. I'm at home a lot at the moment so I can let them out into their enclosure and garden but soon I wont be around as much and I'd like them to be as comfortable as possible within the constraints of an urban garden with lots of foxes around!

    Here is their home:

    here is the inside of their house:

    This isn't the best angle I must admit. When they sit on their perch at night, usually all 3 will sit next to eachother on the perch nearest to the front. I would imagine that another hen would fit in between the other hens on the perch further to the back...??

    This is their whole enclosure

    This is them having a bit of an explore

    So what do you all think about having another? Should I really be getting a bigger house or will they be fine?

    2nd question is this: Our fence, which you can see on the photo, is galvanised chicken wire. Would I be able to keep the foxes out by threading some electric tape at the bottom, middle and top?

    Long first post!! But thank you for reading this far and I look forward to your advise!

  2. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    I think I have read on here that most people recommend 4 square feet per bird in a coop- but that you can get away with a little less if you have a good size run. Your coop is cute and your chickens are really pretty - I love their color!
  3. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Maybe one more at the most, and only if they're let out into their spacious run every day.
  4. ArizonaDesertChicks

    ArizonaDesertChicks Eggstactic for Pretty Eggs

    Dec 8, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    That pen/run looks small for 4 hens. The general consensus here on BYC is 4 sf per chicken of coop space (sleeping & nesting) and 10 sf per chicken in the run space (place where they spend their days) for happy chickens. The extra run you have is a great size for them, but it sounds like they will not be able to be in that space much in the future?

    I also think it would be very hard on the new chicken if you only got one more, versus two, but I'm not sure that you have enough space for 2 more. Your established flock of 3 would probably not take to the newcomer very easily - it's much less stress on a hen to integrate her into a new flock if she has a buddy (I never sell my extra hens by themselves for this very reason - they always leave with a buddy). Plus, even if you did add another hen and they finally integrated into a flock of 4, they probably would still not buddy up in pairs.

    You might want to stick with the 3 hens and then down the road, if something happens to one of them you can purchase 2 more at that time. Or... if you have the chicken bug and 'want' more chickens maybe you can either enlarge your current pen or make a second one to accommadate 2 or even 3 more hens. You can always keep them in two pens and then let them free-range together, if desired.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    It would be pretty tight unless they would be spending a decent time out in the bigger run daily. But the bigger issue would be integrating a singular chicken. My concern with adding just one is that she wouldn't "buddy up" with someone, but would become the picked on new-comer/outsider. I have no experiece w/electric fences, sorry. If you don't receive much feedback on that part of your question, try reposting it seperately.
  6. cpmatthews

    cpmatthews New Egg

    Dec 30, 2009
    London, UK
    Thank you all for your replies.

    I think you've all shown me that the run and house is a bit too small. So this weekend I'm going to electrify the current fencing with a rope kit to make it secure and then buy a bigger house for the chickens and sell my current one - if I decide to get any more - which I will [​IMG]

    I think they must have been really pushing it to suggest that 4 large hens could live comfortably in there, and you all have given me a grounding for my concerns. So thank you all very much!

    Any more advice though, please keep it coming, I will check back regularly.
  7. cowman910

    cowman910 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2009
    Suffolk County,NY
    ummm i'm pretty sure a large fox can jump that fence? i would just lock them into the smaller run at night.
  8. Jim from Cincinnati

    Jim from Cincinnati Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 13, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    That sounds like a great plan Chris. As you have been bitten by the chicken "bug" ...chicken addiction.....happens to most of us.....have fun!!
  9. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    OH I can tell you're gonna be getting a few more hens [​IMG] ...so plan for a much bigger coop! That one would work great in the future for a quarantine coop, or for young ones before integration, etc..so you might just want to hang on to it!

    ETA [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  10. PaintedPony

    PaintedPony Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2008
    Since you have lots of answers about the size of the coop I'll comment on the electric fence part. I have run lots of hot wire fencing over the years. If you want a hot wire to keep predators out I suggest running a strand at each foot (1,2,3,4,5,6 feet high) measurement. If you live in a dry climate alternate hot and ground wires, and run them every 8 inches instead of every 12 inches. Since you already have a fence in place run the hot wire one about 12 inches out from that one so the predator has two fences to get through instead of one fortified one.

    Put a STRONG charger on it or the fox will run right through it. Make sure the chickens can't reach the hotwire. If the charger is strong enough to deter predators it can kill a chicken that gets caught between it and another fence.

    Get a swtich so you can turn the entire fence on or off as needed. Don't skimp on the grounding wire/pole. If it isn't working right the entire fence will be useless. In dry areas people will often wet the ground around their grounding pole so it will operate properly. Gates are made with connectors that hook to the fence. They are easy to set up and you'll appreciate them when you want to enter and exit the run area.

    You can run a triple strand hot wire but it will not deter a hungry predator for long. Better to spend the money up front than lose your hens. Oh, if you can afford it there is some nice hotwire fencing made for goats and sheep that you can purchase, It is easy to install and comes in heights up to 4-5 feet. I know Kencove sells it at a decent price. I hope this helps.

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