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Just starting a "real" hen house.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CrustyCurmudgeon, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. CrustyCurmudgeon

    CrustyCurmudgeon New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Hi All,

    I'm just starting an "old fashioned" operation, like my great grandparents would have had, candling eggs, raising meat and layers, trading roosters. I have a large pen that had been a dog pen, it's not "night" secure, but will do during the daytime. I've cleaned and limed the pen, it's 2,000 sq, ft. not actually a "run". The prospective hen house is an old Rail Road signal shack, all steel, but don't waste time on temperatures, you'd have to see this "steel shed" to understand, it doesn't get hot.
    My shed is 6'x7', I can put roosts and laying boxes anywhere I want at this point. How many birds can that hold, understanding that they get out every day, all day. I know I'll have to work with them to get them on the roosts and in the laying boxes, accepted, not looking for miracles, I understand the creatures I'm working with to an extent.
    That's why I'm asking you, you all understand them as much as I'm going to need to, to successfully have a "real, small scale chicken operation"...

    Thanks in advance, God Bless

    Jeff Harding ><>
     
  2. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:HI jeff [​IMG] it all depends on the breeds are they gonna be standard size or bantam size? I had close to 20 in my 4' by 6' coop last winter with 4 standard sized birds and the rest bantams and they got along just fine. They did have a run attatched which was 10 ft wide by 15 ft long but at night i locked them in the coop
     
  3. CrustyCurmudgeon

    CrustyCurmudgeon New Egg

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    Thanks for your rapid reply!!

    I'm selecting a bird, need to make sure that I can trade roosters, so I need to poll the surrounding countryside about who has what. BUT, I need a dual purpose bird that isn't excitable, have dogs, cats and grandkids.
    Brahama was suggested, RIR was also suggested, but I think because they wouldn't be bothered, not because they were calm.
    Any suggestions are welcomed. We have a large area, good structured house, I will "tend" them several times daily as they will be rather close to the house and "FOR FOOD", LOL

    I know generalities, I've read tons, nothing like talking with someone "doing it" to learn the pitfalls. I really want to learn from other's mistakes, there's no need to lose a flock or have problems with all that is known about chickens. I can set up properly and ask questions, thanks to forums like this and people such as yourself. Thank you.
    Jeff ><>
     
  4. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

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    West Michigan
  5. fullhouse

    fullhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Having just butchered some RIR roos I can't say I would waste my time again. Rocks, Orpingtons, and Delaware's are much better dual purpose. I do love my RIR hens though!
     
  6. CrustyCurmudgeon

    CrustyCurmudgeon New Egg

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    Thanks Chicken Lady and Andrea,

    Both good information. Andrea, may I ask, in general, "where in MI?", my wife's family is from the Reed City area. North of BR.

    Jeff ><>
     
  7. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    Quote:Your very welcome. Altho im still learning almost 2 years after i started raising the chickens. I mostly have bantams (eggs are small but delicious) also excellent egg layers i have not gotten to the "dual purpose birds" yet but im seriously thinking about it. So as far as temperment goes i really dont know about the standard sizes altho i did have a few ameraucanas (skiddish and roosters are mean) and a golden laced wyandotte roo who was just a sweety but rough with the bantams so he had to be rehomed. Good luck with your project im sure you will make a great choice in birds and have a blast as well [​IMG]
     
  8. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    Welcome to BYC! Figuring 4 sq. ft per standard chicken you could have 10 chickens in your 6x7 coop. I'm talking standard since you want a dual purpose breed and that wouldn't be a bantam. Even though your run is huge (lucky you and your chickens) I personally wouldn't push the limits on your coop. If you ever need to lock them up at for a day or more (due to bad weather) you are much more likely to have feather picking if they are crowded inside. (I know this from personal experience - I had nine chickens and one of them was a small chicken - in a 5x7 coop and during a two day snow storm they started feather picking.)

    I would suggest you look into Australorps - great dual purpose breed with a very gentle personality as hens. They are great egg layers and wonderful free rangers - they do both hot and cold temps well also. My Australorp roo turned out to be very aggressive toward people though - had to rehome him. But, if you eat em before they mature you won't have to worry about aggressive roos, and not all Australorp roos will be aggressive.
     
  9. CrustyCurmudgeon

    CrustyCurmudgeon New Egg

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    Thanks!! The Australorps had caught my eye, I intend to keep this building a hen house, ten birds is cool for us. I'll build something else for incubation and brooding. Anyone letting hens incubate and brood?

    Jeff ><>
     
  10. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    One of my Australorp hens went broody this spring. She hatched an adorable (aren't they all? [​IMG]) little pullet. I've never used an incubator but loved having a hen do it the 'natural' way. I learned a lot from my first broody.
     

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