Keeping egg-layers under deck

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mfl1776, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. mfl1776

    mfl1776 New Egg

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    Aug 18, 2008
    Does anyone have any advice on whether this is a good idea? I live in an area where I would need to keep chicken on the down-low. My back deck is about four feet off the ground and about 10' x 20'. If I built a coop underneath for the hens to roost and lay eggs in, and put lattice around the deck, would the space be sufficient to raise three healthy, happy hens? Would it be too dark and gloomy under there? I'm completely new to raising chickens, but have been reading alot. I don't have any hens yet, but am on the verge of getting two or three. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    Oct 13, 2007
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    They could not live under there 24/7 - that is plenty of space, but they need to get out and be in the sun etc.

    How do you plan to clean under there?

    I have a deck, and the chickens go under there during the day - with the ducks and such - and heck I don't know how I'm going to CLEAN under there, I imagine by now there is some poop build up - I'll get some relief during winter, but I still have to get under there at some point - I spray water under there at the moment, and when I clean the deck up top the water runs through....

    these are things you need to think about.

    Good luck
     
  3. EliteTempleton

    EliteTempleton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pretty much the best solution I have seen for those of us harboring illegals is the use of a playhouse or tool shed converted into a coop with a run out to the side(best if you have two runs so you can alternate them every 3-4 weeks) and the run surrounded by some sort of natural growth that looks pretty, as if you were hiding a compost pile behind some rose bushes, just like a restaurant hides a dumpster with a wooden privacy fence style gate.

    I am sure many others have some suggestions for what to grow, I'd consider some of those cedar trees in the mix, they don't lose their leaves in the winter.

    Something I wish I had considered before I got mine, is there such a thing as a quieter breed? As younger chicks I couldn't really tell their noises apart from the wild birds, but now that they cluck and such, things are a bit different. Atleast look at breeds known to be docile, this way they will make less noise when you check on them.

    I would suggest 3. This way if you suffer a loss there is a chance you will still have 2 left so that they can still have some social structure. Besides, you can always cook up excess eggs and give them back to them.

    Also, hens like to lay where it's darker, so you'd probably end up crawling under there daily to retrieve eggs.
     
  4. chickenfanatic

    chickenfanatic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hahah thought we were the only ones this chicken crazy we kept our birds under our deck in the place we used to live for years we would turn them out to freerange and at night they would go back in and stay till we let them out again. to be honest i liked it better than most of the coops we have had yet. several benefits believe it or not. they are close to your house meaning less predators and if they do come around its faster to get to them. 2 not so far to go to take care of them feeding water whatever. there are many more hhahaha. cleaning under there we just used a broom rake gathered the dropping and would chop up the soil under there with a hoe and sprinkle the stall dry down and that was that never smelled no flies really either. hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  5. EliteTempleton

    EliteTempleton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Neat, did you build some kind of nesting box near the edge so you could easily recover the eggs?
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I know a person who lives in Seattle and they have 4 birds under their deck. They have a high deck so they can walk under it and clean it up. It is surrounded by chain link, fencing, and lattice to keep predators out. So it's not impossible to do as long as enough light gets in and it's not musky or moldy underneath. My tractors are 2 or 4 feet tall, but I free range during the day.
     
  7. fowlwoman1

    fowlwoman1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used to keep chickens in my basement in the crawl space. I only had one hen old enough to lay at the time (black sex link) and I did get an egg now and then even with only one light bulb. I didn't know anything back then. I gave her a nice basket to lay her eggs in. I had a total of 5 chickens back then I think. I spread sawdust all over down there, but I never did clean it out before we moved. I only had them down there for about 4 months at most. there wasn't any significant poop buildup. the only problem was that they would scratch around and make a lot of dust up in the house. thus ended their underground lifestyle...
     
  8. Anny

    Anny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    You could, and I know some people on here do.

    You have to make sure they get enough light, and it doesn't get gross under there though. If you can clean in a 4ft tall area I'd say go for it.

    You could also consider the "playhouse" coop which looks like a kids play house.

    I have "hidden chickens" with the coop inside my garage and a chain link "dog run" out side.
     
  9. chickenfanatic

    chickenfanatic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Neat, did you build some kind of nesting box near the edge so you could easily recover the eggs?

    yes we did nail a bunch of 5 gallon buckets onto the end with plywood doors in the back worked real well [​IMG]
     

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