Hello from Cottageville, WV

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Teresa3612, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. Teresa3612

    Teresa3612 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Hello! I want to start a small flock to have fresh eggs and am looking for ideas for coops. I don't intend to have more than 6 hens at a time. I live on a 35 acre farm that my DH and I purchased 4 years ago. We have 5 horse; 4 goats (a nigerian dwarf/fainter buck, a purebred fainter doe, their baby a doe, and a pygmy buck; numerous dogs, and 10 cats. We bought the farm because of the horses and got the goats because I thought they were cute. The dogs and cats just show up and we feed them so they stay. I can't seem to turn a stray away and my husband is just as bad. I teach 2nd grade in Charleston, WV and I love it. I hope to get my coop built this summer during break so I might not be getting any chickens until next spring. We also hope to add pigs to our herd soon. We really want to produce as much of our own food as possible.

    I am looking for suggestions for the coop. I have a sloped backyard and would like to build the coop with a run that goes uphill and tunnel that goes to my garden spot so the girls can work the ground for me in the fall after the harvest. How many next boxes do I need for 6 hens? What about square footage for the coop and run? I will have to be careful about letting them run loose because we have coyotes and birds of prey that would enjoy fresh chickens.
     
  2. thecrumbler

    thecrumbler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! I'm new here myself :p Are we related?! Other than the farm animals your situation seems eerily similar to mine! We have our chicks already though :p we're putting our coop close to our house (we have coyotes, raccoons, owls, hawks, etc...) - we also have 8 dogs and a dozen cats - most of them thankfully entirely uninterested or very protective of our little flock (they're still inside as they haven't gotten all their feathers and I'm still building our coop).

    Our house sits at the edge of a dropoff, but I think I'll keep the run to the even ground. I'm putting double wire on everything and wrapping the wood in hardware mesh to keep chewers out, and since raccoons are crafty buggers I'm putting padlocks on every door. The coop will be raised a few feet off the ground - I want our cats to be able to get under it and take care of any rodents if they think to take up residence. I'm sinking cinder blocks into the earth to keep our chickens from digging out and skirting them with wire on the outside against would-be diggers. It'll be fully wired since a hawk/owl would gladly take out a chicken (especially since they're bantams). I think I'll put a fake owl on top, too. I'm thinking at least 3 nest boxes for the 6 chickens we have. I also want to build a portable run for when I'm out in the garden so the girls can help me weed and I can move them around, but I haven't thought of a good plan yet. Eventually I'll have pictures but those are my thoughts so far!
     
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  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    You have come to the right place for all the fun and learning!

    For 6 hens, I would use at least 2 nest boxes. It never hurts to have more because inevitably somebody goes broody or the waiting lines get too long when they all ways to lay at the same time!

    Chickens need about 5 square feet per bird in the coop, 10 square feet per bird in the run. More if you can afford it in the coop and run. Chickens can get cranky and go off on each other if they feel cramped or out of sorts. So the more room, the better.

    I have lots of coyotes, mountain lions, hawks and other such critters as well. So I keep my birds in a large run and let them out to free range under supervision only. They enjoy an hour or two a day in a fenced off area where they can chase bugs, dig up roots and dust bathe. Then they go back into their large run the rest of the day.

    Have you stopped by our learning center yet? Lots of good articles on all the aspects of keeping poultry... https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

    Enjoy this new adventure you are on! If you have any further questions, feel free to ask around the forums. Welcome to our flock!
     
  4. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Loving the Autumn Weather Premium Member

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    Hello [​IMG]and Welcome to BYC![​IMG]

    Glad to have you join! Feel free to make yourself at home!
     
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome! [​IMG]I'm glad you joined our community.
     
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
     
  7. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined! :)
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Hope your dogs and cats are chicken friendly - otherwise they wouldn't last long enough for wild predators to get them. Hope you enjoy BYC as much as we do.
     
  9. Teresa3612

    Teresa3612 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Well, it is a year later and I have finally started by coop. It is going to be 4 x 8 and about 5 feet tall. I have the 4x4s in the ground and the floor joists in, now to let the concrete set up. I plan to put in 6 nest boxes. I am using 5 gallon buckets on their sides with half moon pieces of wood in the front to keep the bedding in. Should these be placed on the floor of the coop or can I set them up off the floor?

    As for the run, how big should it be for 6 hens? I really want to give them as much room to roam as possible. I plan to let them out of the coop first thing in the morning every day and put them up right before dark.

    The stores around here are just getting their chicks in, so I plan to get mine the second to last week of the month. I am off the last 2 weeks of March so I will have some time to care for them before I go back to work. My DH is here every day to keep an eye on them for me.

    Should they go straight from the brooder to the coop? I was thinking about putting them in a 4x6 dog kennel I have and keeping them on the back porch for a while before putting them in the coop.

    I look forward to hearing from everyone on how to proceed on this adventure!
     
  10. Teresa3612

    Teresa3612 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2015
    I ended up getting 6 Dixie Rainbows from Tractor Supply, not the Buff Orpingtons that I wanted, but no one had any of those in stock. I got them the last week in March, so they are about 2 months old now. There are 2 roos and 3 hens (one little runty hen didn't make it.). I still haven't finished the run because of work and rain. It has rained every day this month. I put them out in the dog kennel every day that the sun shines for at least a short time. Yesterday that was only about an hour before the rain started. Ugh!

    So last week I stopped to get horse feed in Green's Feed and Seed in Charleston and guess what? They had Buff Orpingtons pullets. I bought 3 to add to my flock. That gives me the 6 hens I wanted. My DH wants to keep the roos, but I say only one of them if any. I don't want them fighting and I really didn't want roos anyway. I don't plan to hatch my own chicks so there is no need. However, one of them is very nice looking so he may be spared. I kept the 3 chicks in the house for a week and moved them to a shelf in the coop yesterday so they can get used to each other before I take them out of the brooder.
     

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