Hello from San Diego! I have some questions, anyone want to help?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by OScarlet, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. OScarlet

    OScarlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are thinking of getting chickens :) and want to figure out some details before we commit. I have (briefly) lived with chickens before when the owners were abroad when I was a teen. We lost a bunch due to predators :(

    We were thinking of a small number of chickens... 3? 4? and they cannot free range because I have two crazy dogs (one alone could be trained but together they are way crazier. I don't trust them) and kids who forget what they are doing and apologise later. I could see them opening the back door and letting the dogs out when the chickens were out and that would be that. We also have a lot of visitors to our garden. A brazen raccoon decided to fish in our neighbors' pond every night despite their dog and tries to get in the dog door of another home to get the dog food. Possums are frequent guests as are skunks and rats (sometimes during the day too). The dogs chase anything they see but they are also a pain at night with charging around and barking furiously at every leaf that falls off a tree so they go outside when they ask and otherwise are in with us.

    So I need something that is plenty safe from both dogs and wildlife.

    We are also gone a lot in the evening with sporting activities for the kids.

    so questions...
    1) If we got a coop with a small integrated run is it safe for the coop to be open to the run 24/7 so long as it is well secured and dig resistant and hardware cloth is firmly attached?
    I'm not sure I could guarantee being around at sunset every night or even most nights.

    2) We are handy and have plenty of tools and building experience but are a little burned out on building stuff lately, we are not opposed however to changing locks, beefing something up etc so I'm looking to buy a ready made coop. As much as I'd love a fancy pretty little thing my DH will not go along with the chicken thang if I spend too much. What about this? http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-66-Delu...552?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4858215fe0 is it a bunch of junk? I am looking for something neat and easy to take care of. If we got something like that and put it on paving slabs and fixed it down and secured all openings could that function as an open coop?

    3) What about plastic coops? Do determined predators chew through them?

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  2. OScarlet

    OScarlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh and we'd be happy to build another daytime run in addition to that so they had more room and varying locations.
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I have a few Kit coops, including this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-New-D...d=100005&prg=1088&rk=4&rkt=4&sd=310716227552&

    I use them as grow-out or segregation/integration coops.

    These kit coops are very handy and useful but deceptive about how many chickens they'll hold. The one you listed is a one chicken or two bantam chicken coop, and the one I listed is good for two large fowl or three, maybe four bantam chickens. The attached runs are woefully inadequate for full time confinement. I see you said you would happily add on run space - good!

    Leaving a coop door open when the coop is inside a Fort Knox run is fine; closing the door is the extra layer of protection many of us practice.

    Oh, and welcome to BYC from El Dorado County, in the Western Sierra Foothills. :frow
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  4. OScarlet

    OScarlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the welcome and the info :)

    The one you list has a smaller hen house than the one I listed... I think... these are the dimensions of the one I linked to
    .[​IMG]

    How big would it need to be for three or four chickens?

    Thank you so much!
    (I'm guessing this wouldn't count as a fort knox?!)

    What if we were to extend the back of the run to make it double in total area? Maybe one that could be detached and used elsewhere in the garden for variety.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  5. happyhens1972

    happyhens1972 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one of these type of henhouses....I bought it as a broody/hatching house. I, personally, wouldn't recommend them to anyone, they really don't last well. I live in the UK and we do get lots of rain but not really any extremes of weather and yet it has weathered badly despite coats of wood preserver. It became quite rickety within six to nine months and is now two years old and not fit for much but the bonfire. I still have it as the hens aren't bothered with the state of it but it is not secure, I couldn't use it for its intended purpose now, it's just too easy to get into for predators and we don't have raccoons, possums etc, only rats really (as the actual pen is fox proof). The rats have eaten through in more than one place so any chicks would soon be breakfast! A raccoon would make mince of it and a fox or coyote would barely pause for breath!

    I know it seems harsh to spend out on a good coop but good money spent now will save more money being needed later.
     
  6. thechooks22

    thechooks22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree ^^^^^ we got one a few months ago ....we where given it but i understand how anyone would feel if they brought one for top price ....i have found that it has already started rotting from the rain
     
  7. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, OScarlet, and [​IMG]! Pleased you joined us! Research is always a good thing! I'll my two cents worth on your questions. Good luck to you!


    1) If we got a coop with a small integrated run is it safe for the coop to be open to the run 24/7 so long as it is well secured and dig resistant and hardware cloth is firmly attached?
    I'm not sure I could guarantee being around at sunset every night or even most nights.
    Not sure how important it is to be there at sunset - that's when they predators are starting to come out but you mentioned neighbors - are you suburban or rural? If there are other folks in the vicinity going about their business, the predators usually make appearances a little later. Another possibility if you want to pay for it are automatic coop doors that can be programmed (or are light sensitive) to close at a dusk. Hardware cloth will make a huge difference as well.

    2) We are handy and have plenty of tools and building experience but are a little burned out on building stuff lately, we are not opposed however to changing locks, beefing something up etc so I'm looking to buy a ready made coop. As much as I'd love a fancy pretty little thing my DH will not go along with the chicken thang if I spend too much. What about this? http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-66-Delu...552?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4858215fe0 is it a bunch of junk? I am looking for something neat and easy to take care of. If we got something like that and put it on paving slabs and fixed it down and secured all openings could that function as an open coop?
    I can't speak to it's quality - I have ones like it at farm and ranch stores and I just don't think they'd stand the test of time. On size, 4 sq. ft. per bird is what is recommended in the coop. In super cold weather they spend a lot time in there so that's the minimum. If you end up building so bigger in case you ever want to add birds.

    3) What about plastic coops? Do determined predators chew through them?
    I've never seen a plastic coop - I know come on BYC have fashioned then from old playhouses. With enough time a raccoon or dog could gnaw their way in but it would take some time.
     
  8. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

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  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
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  10. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Happy you joined us!
     

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