Have some questions. . PLEASE HELP!!!??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by backwoodbrigade, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. backwoodbrigade

    backwoodbrigade Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2011
    So I’m currently settling into a new property. I live on 14 acres, on a mountain surrounded by over 600 acres. .Built a nice, large garden last year; started planting an orchard this year. .Wanted to build a chicken coop last year, didn’t happen ..


    After much planning and $ (roughly 1k), I am the proud builder/owner of a decent size coop. .it’s 8x8x10. .i built 8 nesting boxes inside. .

    HOWEVER, I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT RAISING CHICKENS - Except for what I’ve read on here and other sources. .

    So here are some questions:

    1) How many chickens would live comfortably in this coop
    2) Should I let them roam in the yard, or should I build an enclosed run ( I already have the cages to do so)

    Now here are the important questions:

    I’d like to buy chickens that are already laying, as I don’t want to mess with raising them.. (for now)

    So should I get them all from the same place/person? I’ve read a lot about disease issues etc.. Is this a VERY important precautionary measure? Please explain. .

    Also, if I want to keep the chickens till late fall, and then slaughter them for food, and then do it all over again next year, is there/could there be any chance of disease lingering in the coop?

    Sorry so long. Just so many questions for my new adventure!!!
  2. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  3. Shannon33

    Shannon33 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2010
    Eastern Shore, VA
    hi and welcome! I will answer what I can [​IMG]

    1. the general rule is 4 sq feet of coop space per bird.
    2. you can do either. Free roaming you must keep in mind predators. If you have an enclosed run the general rule is 10 sq feet per bird.
    3. I would buy them from the same place as you should quarantine new birds joining the flock for 30 days.
    4. I would think you would be fine starting over again in the spring, but since I am not 100% sure on that I would wait for someone else to chime in [​IMG]
  4. backwoodbrigade

    backwoodbrigade Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2011
    So to start out, it's fine if i get them all from the same place. correct??

    Then if they are slaughtered, and i get new adults next year (all from the same place) they should be fine in the coop?
  5. backwoodbrigade

    backwoodbrigade Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2011

    Also, how do you quarantine them for those 30 odd days? what do you keep them in?

    And, are you guys careful about shoes/clothes that you wore in/around the coop, and wearing them in the house etc. . .?
  6. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2010
    Bucks County, PA
    Welcome from PA.

    I think the quarantine precaution is only if you get hens from more than one location. If you get them all the same place, just put them straight away in the coop. If you get one hen here and on hen there, I've heard of folks using a large dog crate to quarantine a new hen in a different area before mixing it with the rest of the flock. After it looks disease free for the 30 days, they put the dog crate in the coop and let them look at each other for a few days before letting the single hen out into the flock. Its supposed to make it an easier transition this way.

    On the free range issue, since you have the room for them to roam, the eggs will be much better tasting and much better for you if you let them free range. That said, keep them enclosed for the first week or more until they know where their nests boxes are and know where home is. You may find there are days when you want to keep them closed in so its nice to have the option of an enclosed run. (Think the neighbor's dog or a resident fox gets a taste for chicken) I just got a portable poultry fence that I move intermittently. They are always protected from non-arial predators, yet they always have access to fresh green pasture. I'm really loving this solution.

    For management of pests and behavior, the more room you can give them the better. You say you are on a mountain, if it is particularly cold there, you may wish to give them as much as 10 sq ft per bird indoors for those winter months when they are cooped up. You'll save yourself some pecking troubles and other management issues when they get bored in the depths of winter. (Duh, you said you will get rid of them in the winter, my bad)

    For biological control reasons, I have one pair of "chicken shoes" that I wear only in the coop and the garden nowhere else. If other friends with chickens are visiting its good to make sure they do the same.

    Happy chicken choosing and welcome to the group.

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