Help me keep my chickens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by boogins, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. boogins

    boogins In the Brooder

    Aug 18, 2014
    Oklahoma City
    I have 4 hens and 1 rooster. My family lives in the city with a nice sized backyard. I have a cute little coop and let my little friends out to run the yard every day. I really enjoy my chickens. The problem is that my husband doesn't like the "landmines" all over the lawn and patio. Moreover, he hates the way they have attacked our landscaping -- pulling every single leaf off bushes, scratching all the mulch out of the flowerbeds, etc. How much room do they need if I keep them contained in a coop? Any design ideas for a cool looking coop? I'm totally against unhappy pets and will take them to my cousin's farm if I can't find a solution but prefer to keep my birds! Here's what I have now.[​IMG]
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    The oft repeated minimum standards call for 10 square feet per bird in a run and 4 square feet per bird in the coop. Those numbers are intended as a baseline and generally will keep most people out of trouble. To me those measurements are far to small. I would say to build your run for your birds as large as you can given the space available to you and how much of it you are willing to give up to them.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Songster

    Mar 31, 2014
    If you can, fence in a run area for only the chickens. It has to be tall as they can fly out and covered with bird netting or a roof of some sort. You can even make it where it is temporary and you can move it every so often.

    My birds free range and they will make a mess. Hope you get to keep them.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams

    Howdy boogins [​IMG]

    You have already been given some good advice regarding the run.

    I have a couple of suggestions regarding the free range. My gals (bantams) have a coop and run which is adequate for their needs and every afternoon they have a supervised free range for a couple of hours and pretty much all day on the weekends.

    I believe I have a pretty nice garden and to get around them digging up the plants, I have put everything in pots; not only does it conserve water, but makes it just that little more difficult for them to dig them out:


    I have an area within the garden which is all theirs, their afternoon tea gets scattered in this area and they can also dust bath here; as you can see, they congregate around it:


    Granted, they still make a bit of a mess on the paths, but I just make sure I sweep them once they have gone to bed.

    The land mines are a little trickier and we just put up with them but if you do wish to free range for a few hours, while it might be more effort but I believe well worth it, you could pop a chicken diaper onto them while they are in the garden?

    Hope that helps and I do hope you get to keep your chickens!
    1 person likes this.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Look into building a tractor--a small, movable pen. For five birds, a 5x10 would be the smallest you'd want. You move it around to where you want the birds that day and it keeps them off the patio and out of the flowerbeds. They still get to scratch for bugs and eat grass, and the poop is all contained in that area so you can deal with it however you choose.

    If you need to keep them confined to a run, remember lots and lots of birds don't get to free range and they're perfectly happy. There are lots of threads here about combating boredom in confined birds, take a look and see what appeals to you.
    1 person likes this.

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