I finally will have my chickens!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by parlsey24, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. parlsey24

    parlsey24 New Egg

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    Sep 11, 2012
    I am so excited! I am going to have chickens next year! I will have a very large area to use. There is a cement slab that already in place, I can fence off as much area as needed, some of grass/yard and some cement. Planning on purchasing the building to house them. I have alot of questions even though we had chickens when I was growing up. How much "yard"? Preferred breeds?
    Automatic waterers for a couple of days when gone? Feeders? Roosts? Feed? Advice for newby? Thanks if anyone is interested in giving advice!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations!

    Space is not something you can really give a "one size fits all" answer to, especially in the coop itself. There is a rule of thumb often quoted here of four sq ft per chicken in the coop and 10 sq ft in the yard, but at least in terms of their total space, I would think of that as a bare minimum to prevent overcrowding with its resulting problems. Certainly with that little outdoor space, they will eat all the greenery in short order.

    A lot depends on climate. If you get heavy snowfall, they will stay inside unless they a have a snow free area such as a covered run. In a hot climate like mine, they only need breeze, and shelter from rain and sun, and will stay out except when asleep. They tolerate cold much better than heat, and even in the north, most people don't insulate or heat their coops.

    If you get an enclosed building for a coop, it needs to be ventilated at or near the top, at the rate of about a sq ft per chicken. This allows humidity (the primary cause of frostbitten combs) and ammonia to escape. If you live where I do, a three sided shelter is fine.

    Chickens need a wider roost than many birds as their feet don't curl around something small like a broomstick very well. A fat branch or the wide side of a 2x4 are fine. You should be able to buy feed locally at a farm supply store, as well as inexpensive feeders and waterers, or you can make your own. They will need starter feed, then grower, then layer around 20 weeks. I'd recommend the kind of feeders and waterers that look a bit like a hanging gallon jug for both. Set them up on a concrete block (or hang them) to prevent dirt being kicked into them. See our products section above.

    That's a quick overview. There is lots of info in our learning center and coops section at the top of the page. Also check out the stickies (blue box) at the top of each forum. And good luck, and enjoy!
     
  3. Y N dottes

    Y N dottes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    South Central WI
    The space for the run area is probably more inportant than the coop considering they spend most of their time outside. and when theyre in the coop theyre probably sleeping. and if you have cold winters a smaller coop will keep them warmer (though they do pretty well in winter)
    Im more worried about excessive heat.

    As for breeds i like barred rocks (probably 'cause i have them, right?). Barred rocks are quite gentle and quiet. They never pecked and lay well(6-7/week for me)
     
  4. parlsey24

    parlsey24 New Egg

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    Sep 11, 2012
    Thank you for your responses! I really like this site with all the information. I am glad to have winter to make plans and decisions.
    I have more questions but will continue to read here on the site and see what I find. thank you again!
     

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