hey there chicken people!

angry gary

In the Brooder
8 Years
May 30, 2011
Front Royal, Va
i am new here and just registered. my wife and i are looking to build and maintain a small coop for approx. 10 chickens,( which i know will probably grow if my past hobbies are any indicator!). we live in the mountains of virginia on the shenandoah river. i was raised in south carolina and my uncles ran commercial chicken operations with around 500,000 chickens. they had a few layer houses with whites, rhode island reds and dominiques. and had several broiler houses too. i had a full time summer job working in the houses but now i want a simpler easier but enjoyable experience with some chickens.

we have looked at buying a small premade amish chicken coop, but $1000 price tag is way too much. i am handy but not proficient with carpentry, ( i am a train mechanic by trade). so i will be building a small maybe 4X6 with 3 nest boxes. i like the design of the amish coops so i will attempting to mimic it the best i can.

iam an animal lover and have been since a very small kid. always had snakes and the like. i recently broke down and sold of my saltwater reef aquariums and i still keep and raise poison dart frogs, which i really love. so i have had reptiles, fish corals, amphibians , dogs and now poultry.

so be prepared for my barrage of questions and please take it easy on me. i probably will be spending the next couple days reading all past posts. and hopefully there are sticky posts about answering basic questions.

also i would not mind meeting someone local that is keeping a small brood of chickens. i am in front royal, va


Nice to meet cha, gary. You don't sound angry at all (thank goodness).

I am not the expert that you are looking for, but another newbie who wanted to make a suggestion based on my recent experience. Last April I brought 4 hens home to their 4x4 coop, which has 2 12x18" nest boxes that hang off the side. It's raised 20" for there's a protected space underneath. Added another hen, now have 5. It is not near enough room! This past winter they would stay inside during storms (which were frequent) and sometimes when it rains heavily they tend to go back inside. There is no where for one to go if she is getting picked on, and 5 wet hens can get mighty unhappy!

I'm adding another 4x4' section on to the coop this week! My suggestion would be to build the largest one you can afford right now. More room = less stress, less chance for disease to spread, perhaps even a place inside to store feed and cleaning supplies!

Hope you all enjoy your new 'addiction'!
Wow! With all your animal experience sounds like we'll be asking you the questions! Poison Dart Frogs. How cool is that?
Hi Gary!!!! I had the same problem....so I hunted down a tool shed and converted it! Made nice windows along both sides ( it already had a window on the back wall).....put mesh wiring over the windows and then hung large shutters on the outside which can be raised or lowered whenever I chose. I bought an old bookcase at Goodwill....turned it sideways and put some dividers in it....voila....nests!!!!! Put some rubber matting from my horse stalls down on the floor, then some PDZ ( which really keeps the odors away and is fairly cheap...can't hurt the chickens if they eat it! I used wood pellets that are also used for horse bedding.....got them wet first and let them become nice and fluffy. Spread some diatomacious ( did I spell that right?) earth around the edges and just a little bit everywhere to keep the lice, mites, ticks etc gone!!!! I got this at a local nursery. Pretty cheap also...goes a long way. It used to be used in Bisquick! So, you can sprinkle it in the chicken feed and it's a natural wormer! The shed is 10x10. I added some roosting poles and suspended my water and feed servers a couple of inches off the floor to keep the chickens from kicking in the bedding. Cut a door flap in the side and then it was just fun decorating it! I have 11 hens and a rooster....all fit quick nicely!!!! I really like the ventilation that the windows offer and highly recommend them!!
Most of all, have fun!!! The Amish make a wonderful coop.........if you are handy and can afford the materials, go for it! If not...look around, bet you can find an old storage shed that someone wants to get rid of that can be converted into a palatial chicken coop!!!!!


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