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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by spatcher, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    I will be starting a coop soon and getting my first chickens. Coop will be 4x8x4 about two feet off the ground. Really enjoy reading the posts but have a few questions for you experts that are already adept at raising chickens. Here goes...I know what feed, scratch and oyster shells are for, but do you mix it together or keep it separated? ...chicken wire or netting? ...do you leave the door open all night or let them come and go?...what would you consider the max number of chickens for that size coop?...want to get it right so that is why i am asking! Thanks in advance for any and all help!
     
  2. imprimis

    imprimis Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2008
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    I would think you could get 8 or 9, possibly more, hens in that if you also have a run. My first coop was about half that size and it held 6 nicely.

    Scratch grains are mostly used as a treat, I used to give them some on cold winter nights to help fight off the cold. I feed it separately. I believe oyster shells are usually fed separate from the feed but I don't see why you couldn't mix it if you want.

    Wire or netting, depends what you're using it for... and for the door, they usually come in by themselves at night and for reasons such coons, weasels, I would shut it every night even though there has been many times I forgot.
     
  3. ChickenCop

    ChickenCop Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is how I do things here at home. As for feeding I mix the oyster shells with my crumbles. Seems they throw pine shavings up in the oyster shells tray all the time so I mix it up a bit. For scratch I feed it sparingly, I have lots of birds that dont lay on a daily basis and understand your wanting to try to keep a birds diet as balanced as possible.

    A general rule of thumb on how many birds in a coop that size is 1 bird per 4 sq feet that being 32 sq ft 8 chickens would be your safe maximum you can put in there.

    I let my chickens out at morning and they go in on roost every night at 8 pm like clockwork. My little corner of the world has too many predators roaming around at night so I keep them locked up at nighttime.

    I know people are going to smack me for this one, BUT I use chicken wire. If you can afford hardware cloth, use that, better safe than sorry. A bit pricey for me but really gives that extra security for your chickens.

    Again this I how I do things and Im sure millions of others do the same that I do as well as millions of others think Im crazy for the way I do it....

    Good Luck!
     
  4. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    Thanx so much! Any and all help is appreciated. Trying to make as few mistakes as I can!
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    By far the safest fencing is welded wire, preferably 1x1" mesh, but 2x4 will do if your chickens are locked in at night (as extra insurance against daytime raccoons, and yes they do sometimes come out during the day, you might run a smaller mesh, or even chicken wire, along the bottom 2-3" of the run fence to discourage reach-through).

    I wouldn't leave the coop door open all night unless I had EXTREME faith in the predator-proofness of my run (which I may never, as we have a good # of weasels around here). But, you have to decide what level of risk you're comfortable with.

    Personally I put the feed in a feeder, and oystershell (or crushed eggshells) and grit in two separate little containers wired to the wall. I use the little plastic dishes that you get when you don't want your kid eating blue ice cream out of a cone because you don't want to have to wash his shirt three times [​IMG]. You could use old tuna cans with sharp bits smoothed out, or whatever, doesn't have to be fancy. They don't eat nearly so much of the grit and oystershell as they do the food, so I don't worry about having it in a big tube-style thing, I just refill the little container when it gets low.


    Pat
     
  6. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    Thanks Pat! With 32 sq ft of coop, what size run would be adequate?
    Tim
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you're going to have something like eight-ish chickens, then I would suggest that the *bare minimum* for run size would be something like 8x6'; personally I would suggest significantly more.

    One thing you might do before committing to run size is to decide how you want to construct it (what kind of fencing), then do a bit of windowshopping to see whether you can buy it by the foot or whether you'll have to buy full rolls and if so what size. if you ahve to buy rolls, you may as well size the run so's to use the full roll [​IMG]

    Have fun,

    Pat
     
  8. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    Thanx again for responding so quickly! What I was thinking of was 2 8X8 runs, one off each side of the coop. One run used for a month and then the other for the next month and keep rotating like that. Would facilitate keeping things cleaner outside the coop. Thanx again Pat. See you are from Ontario...we moved to Va 2 yrs ago from Niag Falls NY and have lots of friends from NF Ontario! Weather should be a lot better for the chickens to deal with here.
    Tim
     

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