1. mudvstheory

    mudvstheory Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 27, 2012
    northern virginia
    Hi. I bought a new house yesterday! So excited, and I can feel the chickens coming soon!

    So there is a sort of wooded gully, which isn't much use for anything else, that might make a good place for chickens on one side and turkeys on the other. (Since the broad grassy places are horse pasture, and we must be away from the neighbors.) At the uphill end, it's like ten feet down on a 30 degree angle, ten feet across and ten feet back up, then at the deep end, it's more like thirty feet down, ten across and thirty up. There are currently lots of trees, which I need to thin (especially to plant a chicken garden!!). The chickens might like to play on the stumps.

    So how crazy is this? Can I build a terraced pen along the bank, with a footing under a wire mesh fence, kind of like a dog kennel? Can I use retaining wall type cement blocks to hold the soil? (Or tires?) Then cover it with chicken wire against hawks, owls and climbers like raccoons. We will have everything from coyotes to least weasels. If the overhead wire is sloped, it might shed leaves.

    And the ultimate in cheapo construction - A log coop for shelter. Maybe three sided, with a roost and nest boxes. I would love to arrange a rain barrel that could rinse a catch tray under the roost bars. Can they drink rainwater?

    If I make the whole large pen fairly safe, then build a shelter inside it, I might save a lot of chore time getting them in/out. Plus this is Virginia, three-sided shelters seem to be enough for most animals anyway. Ventilation is more important than heating here. So will they need electricity at all? Maybe a solar fan.

    I'm guessing this isn't going to be a square nor level structure, and getting a good perimeter fence through the trees is going to be a huge chore, and the lower end might flood if the gully does, but it should drain again. I might have to terrace in order to keep litter in place.

    I see plans for cute little coops, and salvage-runs, but I have never seen anything like this. Does that mean I am crazy? Or does that just happen when I try to keep sheep in there, too?
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Only 1/2 inch hardware cloth will keep out rats and weasels. If they aren't going to be closed up in a nice tight coop at night and you don't have the whole pen done up in hardware cloth (with an apron out at the bottom of the fencing or buried fencing to deter digging predators) then you might lose them.


    another thread

    and another:

    I hope this helps!

    I personally just put up field (welded wire) fencing over a large area and close them up inside shed coops at night. Automatic door opener and I only have to do chores once a day!!!

    Shed coops are nice also in that in cold weather they can stay inside.
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013

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