I've read alot about coops/runs Need alot more info PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bigoledude, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. bigoledude

    bigoledude Songster

    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    I want to start raising Silver Penciled Rocks in one tractor set-up. Jersey Giants in another. And, Blue Laced Red Wyandottes in yet another. Please help me with some additional information.

    First, I would like my chickens to have a generous amount of room in the run. But, because of the nature of a MOBILE set-up, keeping things light and easy to move is important. How many sq. feet-per-bird is generous, not wasteful?

    Is there an effective way of securing the bottom edge of a tractor against predators like raccoons and coyotes? I cannot bury wire every time I move the tractor.

    Give an example of how I would go about training the Javas (the free range flock) to return, on demand, to a coop every evening?

    Is 3 birds-per nest box squeezing too many layers into too few boxes?

    What are some good, fast-growing, and nutritious summer seeds that I can replant in the eaten-up space that we just moved FROM? Winter seed?
  2. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    If you look right at the top of the page you will see a link to "Coop Designs" There are more coop and run designs with building instructions up there than you can shake a stick at. Happy reading!
  3. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    Go to my byc page and you will see our portable run and tractor. The tractor itself is 4x8 and we have 8 hens in it. It is fairly easy to move with two people and we move it every 8 feet in our yard. My dh made a portable skirt for it that allows us to adjust it accordingly to our uneven ground. The portable run was made out of the old pvc water pipe that was in our well. It is 8x8 (I think) and we used chicken wire on 3 sides and the top. I put another layer of chicken wire on the bottom 3 feet and extended it out 2 feet to deter predators. I just use clips to hold it up when moving it. It slides real easy and butts up against the front of the tractor. I then tie it to the skirting with bungees. I use a board for any gaps. I know everyone will say its not predator proof however we have had no problems so far and because it is so close to the house, I think that helps. Glad to see you are getting Javas as am I. Just lock them into the coop for a week or so and they will know that is home and will return there each evening. I had to encourage mine a few times when they were little but now they know the coop is safety and bed so they go of their own accord, even when freeranging (under supervision of course.). We have 2 nest boxes inside the tractor for our 8 girls and this seems to work well. They all use them. I am not sure about the seed, as I have to reseed my own lawn in places. You might also want to consider where you will park the tractors for the winter if you live in a cold area with snow as you will need to carry water and feed to them in the wintertime. I hope this helps. As far as tractors are concerned, you will have to consider carefully your lawn or where it is you want to put them. We have to go up and down a hill and our property is very uneven so a fixed skirt and rigid run was out of the question. Good luck and make sure to post pics when you build yours!
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    "generous space allowance" and "tractor for a large number of birds" are two really-incompatible concepts, since for practical constructional reasons it is not really feasible to make a tractor larger than say 10x12 at the biggest. (-ish, depending on what your ground is like and on whether you have a vehicle to pull it and on whether you require birds to winter in it).

    So it depends how big a tractor you think you can work with (what is your vehicular situation, your winter situation, what is your land like?) and how many birds you want to put in a pen. Personally (although everyone will have their own take on this) I would not give them less than 10-15 sq ft per chicken.

    Is there an effective way of securing the bottom edge of a tractor against predators like raccoons and coyotes? I cannot bury wire every time I move the tractor.

    Your best bet is a combination of two things: 1) run electric fence [installed correctly, running at 4-5,000 volts, and checked every day or two to fix problems as they arise) around the whole area that you will be moving your tractors within; and simultaneously b) have a wire apron, a foot or so wide, all around the base of each tractor, that you weigh or tentpeg down so that it can't flap up easily and conforms to dips in the ground. If you skip the electric, a wider skirt would be better. I have not done it myself but other BYCers have done flip-up skirts, so as to get them easily out of the way for moving the tractor, and this is probably the way to go. As a poor second choice you could just tentpeg a strip of wire fencing all around the outside of the tractor each time you move it -- so, not actually connected to the tractor frame in any way -- but this will not be nearly as safe, and is merely 'better than nothing'.

    1 nestbox for 3 hens is PLENTY, you can most likely use more like one per 4-5 hens (especially if the box is sized a bit generously so that two hens can squeeze in at once if they want)

    The grass will not be killed in the space you just moved from, it will merely be set back and have to regrow. And any seeds you plant will not durably survive the return of the tractor anytime soon. So I would say if you are planning on a fairly quick rotation of the tractor, just plant any ol' fastgrowing thing (how does annual ryegrass do in your area?) or just let natural regrowth occur; if you are planning on a slower rotation, i.e. that patch of ground will not see a tractor again for another 6-12 months, plant whatever you feel like having in your lawn/pasture (but if you do not mulch and water it, you will probalby have only tiny % germination so it may still be a waste of time).

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. bigoledude

    bigoledude Songster

    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    Hey Pat
    I never mentioned "tractor for a large number of birds". I always had in mind about 12 chickens in each tractor rig. But, it is not beyond me to try and build something waaay too big! So, I'll take the correction before I even thought of the mistake.LOL You must have ESPN or something. 10 X 12 is exactly the size I had in mind. I will take your advice on the "less-crowded" end of of your range. Looks like 8-10 birds in the run.

    Rye grass grows well here during the winter months. I planned on using rye as one of my winter grasses. I want to plant several foraging plants/grasses for all seasons. I have enough room for my planted plots to re-sprout before I'll need the same area again. But, I need to know which ones would be the most nutritious ones to plant. And, I could still use an idea or two for summer plants.

    madsenaccord;We had 2 snows here in my 57 years. The only hills we have in SE Louisiana is levees, to keep the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River out of our houses. Even still, Katrina put 13 feet of the nastiest slop you can imagine, into our house! I really liked your pics on your BYC pages. Gave me some great ideas. I'm hoping to incorporate a few of y'alls ideas into my coops.

    Ideally, I will hatch my own Javas with my yet-to-be-built incubator. They should know where "home" is from the day they hatch.

    HighlanderI tried shaking a stick at all of those coops and runs. You are right, there's waaay too many! LOL Seriously, I did go to the "Coop Designs" like you suggested, and it has been a treasure of ideas! Thank you for pointing me....


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