Looking for some advice

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ncheek16, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. ncheek16

    ncheek16 Just Hatched

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    Im looking to have a few chickens (and my fiance wants a duck) , would love to this spring. Right now i have an empty horse barn with 12x 12 stalls tht i was hoping to comvert to a coop. I was going to seal it off from predators and habe them locked in at night so they stay safe. However, how am i to keep them from just taking over the whole barn that i cant effectively seal up from predators. Im not wanting to build a run as i already have too much to mow and weedeat around as is .im in indiana, so main predators would be dogs, hawks, coyotes, raccoons, possible a mink.

    What would you (experts) do?
    Thank you!!
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Here is how I see your options. Convert one of the stalls into coop. It should not be that difficult to seal off the stall. Top including. Use fencing or hardware cloth. Chicken wire is useless against predators such as raccoons. You mentioned minks as well. Those devilz are nasty and will finish off your flock just for fun. They are nocturnal threats for the most part . You can provide a pop door at the bottom where most convenient. For the night time, lock all access for safety sake. If you do not want to construct a secure run, then you can free range them. Dangers do exist from daytime raptors like coyotes,dogs, and hawks. A simple fencing with An electric hot wire can protect from most daytime dangers except hawks. Those need overhead netting. There are ways to minimize that if you have an area where chickens are able to hide from hawks sight.. That is how my run area is. I use tarps to obscure most, but not all the view. Hawks are cautious about entering areas the are not a direct drop on prey in the open. I have had losses to hawks, but only when the hens were in the back yard open area. Exceptions do exist everywhere. A movable tractor may be a good option to safeguard your chickens during the day. When it comes to ducks, there is another set of circumstances to consider. Ducks need a place to swim to be happy. They may be housed with your chickens at night, but may not want to go there on their own. They can be trained though. Start with chickens and then see if you want to progress further. Most important to consider is security. If it is insufficient, then you will suffer losses.
    WISHING YOU BEST and welcome to BYC
     
  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Without a run, do you plan to let them roam around the property during the day, or is the stall their indoor run? I agree with Cavemanrich that you have to secure the stall, especially the ceiling. Most stalls have an open ceiling, so that has to be covered somehow. Does not need to be solid like plywood, could be 1/2" hardware wire. I would not use anything with larger holes, as mink can get through small holes. Chicken wire will keep chickens in, but will not keep predators out. They can rip right through it.

    Post pics of the stall and barn if you can.
     
  4. ncheek16

    ncheek16 Just Hatched

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    Ill get a pic up here tomorrow, but i would love to have them free range. They will habe about an acre of grass that i maintain over by the barn, mixed with some trees and another little open shed, as well as my garden area.

    For the ducks, there is a little pond :)
     
  5. PapaBear4

    PapaBear4 Out Of The Brooder

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    You could fit a good number of chickens in a 12x12 stall. Once it is all set up lock them in there for a few days (with food and water) to help them establish it as Home. Once they know that's their safe home they shouldn't take over the rest of the barn. And if you do find them roosting where you don't want them, gently catch them and put them where they should be. Do this enough times and they should get the message.
    Good luck to you! I want to try ducks so much!
     
  6. ncheek16

    ncheek16 Just Hatched

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    Im only looking to start with 6 or so right now, then see how that goes first,.

    Right now the floor is dirt, what would you recommend as a good floor for chickens
     
  7. PapaBear4

    PapaBear4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dirt IS a great floor for chickens. Adding the bedding will keep their feet clean(er) and keep down the smell. Part of the reason that a chicken coop can get to smelling so bad is that chicken poop is very high in nitrogen. When you add brown matter (high-carbon in compost terms, I think?) you give all that nitrogen something to do.

    Many people use what's termed a deep bedding method. The basic process is to add bedding whenever it starts to smell bad. When you add new bedding the chickens, being curious critters, will scratch around in it, mix it all together and aerate it.

    Once or twice a year you can "harvest" the bedding, pile it up, and let it sit for a year or so to finish decomposition. Once it looks and smells like good dirt you can top your garden with it. Great stuff! Then your chickens get the garden scraps and trimmings and the cycle begins anew! Yeah for cyclic systems!
     
  8. ncheek16

    ncheek16 Just Hatched

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    Awesome! I plan on digging a trench on the outside wall of my coop, and filling in with concrete to discourage predatora from digging into the coop. Sounds like i just need to get started on building it! Im gonna cut them a little door that i can latch at night, make them some perches and nesting boxes, then i shpuld be good to go!
     
  9. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    An apron of wire fencing, or hardware cloth will discourage digging as well.
     
  10. RPClark

    RPClark Out Of The Brooder

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    We free range our birds when we're home (afternoon/evening/weekends). I'm sure you're intended coop area will be fine. I have friends who keep their birds in a barn area along with horses and a donkey. They adapt well to their surroundings.

    One note on the free range area. You said they'll have about an acre of grass and some garden area to range over. You may already know, but once they find an area they like to forage, they keep at it until they've picked it over very well, and then they'll go at it some more. If you have any flower beds you don't want destroyed, and you want to enjoy the fruits of your garden yourselves, you'll need to fence it off. That's what we do.

    If they fly over fencing in an area you don't want them in, you'll either have to make the fencing higher, or clip their wings, or just live with it.

    We've learned that our 15 chickens can destroy a landscaped area in just a few days. We also have a wildflower area of about 200 square feet that we're going to have to seal off from the flock. That area blooms beautifully in the spring, summer, and fall; however, the flock also likes it and they're turning it into a mud pit.
     

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