I don't understand

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Jason38, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Jason38

    Jason38 New Egg

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    I have no idea where to start. I see many coops presented here. I am capable of physically building any of them myself, but I'm looking for the least expensive choice. As in zero dollars.

    Why can I not just put some chickens in a fenced area and be done with it?
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Well, they need a shelter to protect them from predators, and also the weather. I do think you could make a coop from some free materials. Lots of people make them from pallets. You could check Craigslist in the free section to see if someone is giving something you can build with away.

    You see, at night, chickens are very still. A raccoon or possum or fox, or hawks, owls, skunks, all those things like to eat chickens. So they can just literally walk up to them in the dark, and grab them.
     
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  3. RavenGemini

    RavenGemini Out Of The Brooder

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    Predators..... at least in my "neck of the woods". (Dogs, Wolves, Coyotes, Chicken Hawks, Minks, Opossums and Raccoons to name a few)..... My hens two ducks and two drakes have free run of the fenced in yard during most of the day with plenty of places to hide, but at night they like to go somewhere more secure..... i.e. under our enclosed deck or their coop. Also knowing where they are at the times they lay their eggs saves me from an every morning Easter egg hunt. :)
    I made a temp shelter for about $50 but had to fortify it against the creatures that wanted my birds more than I. In the beginning of the year I started with 12, I know have 5.
    Good luck to you :D
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Well, you can - to a degree - but doing so is about assessing the risks and your level of acceptance to losses. There are predators everywhere - the exact number and species vary by location, but they truly are in every location. The number and species of predators factors into the likelihood of losses to your flock and the type of structure that would be needed to narrow that risk. Your personal willingness to accept the financial (and emotional for some) losses of birds taken by predators also factors in.
    You *can* have totally free range birds in an unenclosed area with a simple shelter -- you can have your birds locked down in a "predator proof" coop and run - or you can go middle of the road with providing some layer(s) of protection but still having a fairly "free" flock. It's all about assessing the dangers, knowing your level of risk acceptance and then proceeding accordingly.
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Since you sight cost as one of your concerns, you can look around here for lots of great ideas of ways people have managed to build some really nice structures at little to no out-of-pocket cost - pallet coops, upcycled, recycled, etc projects.
     
  6. Jason38

    Jason38 New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2014
    Thank you all for the information.

    Honestly, I'm trying to grasp the concept of the coop. Do they ever get to come out of the caged area?

    Every night when I pull onto my drive there are at least four jack rabbits rooting around. I've never seen any "predators". Is a chicken coop going bring them to my back door automatically?
     
  7. RavenGemini

    RavenGemini Out Of The Brooder

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    The chickens themselves will attract the predators..... that's just natures way. The coop would keep them safer.....
     
  8. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Oh, I see what you're saying. The coop is not necessarily going to attract predators. All the animals that eat chickens can smell them, or even see them. I live in a wooded area, and we have so many predators. If you're in the city, you might not have as many wild animals, but you'd be surprised! Alot of the animals are nocturnal, and you don't see them during the day. You might have raccoons around, or even birds like hawks. Or possums, and skunks. After dark, they're on the prowl. And coyotes are seen alot more often in the cities now.

    I have a nice 8x12 hen house, with a covered attached run, but I live out in the country, and my property is surrounded by woods. I do let my chickens free range, out of their chicken run, so they're loose. They do this for a few hours each evening. I get home at 5:00, and I let them out until dark, when they return to the coop on their own. Then I come out and lock them up. Now that it's dark earlier, my husband will let them out a 3pm when he gets home, so they still get a few hours to free range.

    There are always predators lurking.....on the ground or overhead. Even stray dogs will grab a chicken. Even a bluejay, can grab a chick and eat it.
     
  9. ridemcowgirl

    ridemcowgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok here is the coop my hubby and I ( mostly the hubby) started last weekend. We used 5 pallets. One for the floor and 4 for the wall frames. Then we just cut left over plywood to size for walls and we cut some 4x4 pieces left over from cutting fence posts, for the legs to raise it off the ground. We also used the nesting boxes and some hinges from the old coop and an old closet rod cut in half for the 2 roosting bars. We have some shingles and siding left over from the previous homeowners so I just got the shingles on the roof and we plan on putting the siding up this weekend. We had to go to Lowes for some hardware cloth that we put over the openings at the top. We left it open for ventilation. And I went to hobby lobby to buy decorative handles and a cute door knob for the front door ( because I'm a girl and it has to be cute lol). When all is said and done we only spent about $25 for a 4'x4' chicken coop. Even if you don't have as much scrap wood laying around like we do, I'm sure you could find someone who does that would give it to you for free just to get rid of it. Our pallet coop is very sturdy and we've had some bad storms in the past few days and it held up very well. Oh and if you want to paint it but don't want to spend a ton on paint, home depot and Lowe's sell premixed paint that people returned for whatever reason, for like $5 a gallon. Just look around until you find a color you like.
     
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  10. Sometimes craigslist has some freebies too. An old shed, a playhouse, sometimes even someone has to get rid of a coop right away. Good luck.
    You can do that, some do. Mine are secured at night in the coop and spend the day in the run. I have been lucky so far to not have "predators" lurking but eventually yes, they will come to try and get them and if they are not secure, bye bye birdies. Not fun.
     

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