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Need advice on best place for coop/ run (brand new to this)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TeamChaos, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Hi there! I've been lurking and reading here for a while, but I'm just too excited to refrain from posting... I apologize if you are all sick of this sort of question:

    I will finally allow myself to purchase some chickens in the spring! I'm ridiculously excited and I'm planning now- 1. because I'm totally new to the world of poultry and 2. I will be scavenging much of my building supplies, so the more time I have to stockpile, the better.

    We have an 80 acre farm in Southwestern WI. As it stands now, the old chicken coop is out of the running for many reasons (too close to the house, too full of my grandmother's 'collectables' etc.) and the barn is pretty dank and leaning, I'd pretty much be putting the chickens directly into the predators' mouths, I think.
    I can build a coop and run nearly anywhere I want to, but I have no idea what is best suited to their needs. We've got
    1. Grass/lawn that is adjacent to woods' line- (some of it flat, some of it hilly, just grass, all easily fenced and a coop built on the spot, but I'm worried about it being close to the woods where chickeneaters live)
    2. paddock area- it's big, it can be fenced (save for the scrawny trees I'll have to cut down so I can put a top on the enclosure), it's got flat grass, prairie grass and spring water available but it can get muddy in spots in the spring and it's up behind the barn, so a little removed from our backyard hang-out.
    3. lawn in front of the barn- by our raised bed gardens, in our common traffic flow, not as much room for a sprawling enclosure (but still a good amount)

    What do I need to consider? I've been reading about digging in fences, electric wire, enclosing the run etc. and it sounds as if I'll be in for the same cost no matter where I choose to situate the whole deal. Is it any less safe to situate them near the barn or the woods? Will being any closer to human traffic cut down on predators? I mean, I'll be up with them at least twice a day, hopefully more than that but bare-minimum is morning and evening.
    Any information is most appreciated; I feel so blessed to have all of this land to use, but I want to use it right! [​IMG]

  2. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

    Sep 1, 2009
    Hastings, MN
    Are you planning on raising meat chickens or layers? It would make a big difference in housing them. Sounds like you have a lovely place that will require a fair amount of fixing up to get it where you envision it. Since I'm a newbie too, I'll just cheer you on. Our chicks are coming in April and we don't have the coop up yet, either. Woops!
  3. kayjuggler

    kayjuggler In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2008
    I'm raising pet chickens on one acre so don't have the options you have but I can chime in with ideas. First, keeping the pen dry is a priority so you want high ground or the ability to raise up the pen as much as possible and use sand and stall dry type products to keep those chickens dry. Chickens handle cold better than heat so having shade in the summer climate depending on your locale may be a priority. Also, think about how often you will be visiting the coop and pen...making it easier for you to go hunt for eggs and care for them could be an important consideration...especially think about water sources. And then, there is the chicken t.v. factor: they are just plain fun to watch so don't put the coop so far away from you that you don't enjoy watching them as much as you can. You would probably learn about predators best from other chicken folks in your geographic area. Good luck and I'm jealous you have so many choices!
  4. alycoop

    alycoop Songster

    Feb 7, 2009
    Vancouver WA
    Hi, and welcome to chicken parenthood-to-be!

    We are on just a half-acre. We only wanted a few hens for eggs so we scoped out an area north of the house but in close proximity so we can visit often, and hear if there is a problem. We have a shed-style coop with a small run attached. We also have a larger run for supervised free time. Although we are near our downtown area we have raccoons, possums, and hawks to consider and protect our hens from. We are in a mild part of the Pacific NW but we do get a fair amount of rain.

    How many chickens do you plan to have? Meat birds, layers, or both?
    What part of the country do you live in...what weather conditions do you have to contend with?

    You might want to explore the forum on "Where are you?" for ideas for your area.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It depends whatcha gonna do with your chickens.

    If they will free range, or be in a topless and thus somewhat insecure run, or if (tho it's not a good idea) you plan on leaving the popdoor to a supposedly-secure run open at night, then I would definitely keep the coop away from the woods.

    If they will free range and you care about limiting the amount of chicken poop on the porch (etc) and the amount of chicken damage to your gardens, put the coop in the paddock, but on the highest area of ground available (add dumploads of sand or gravel or roadbase if necessary to make the part around the coop *distinctly* high and dry in all weather).

    If they will mostly be in a run, either the paddock (see above re: high ground) or the yard would be fine. Personally I would put them in the yard where I could enjoy watching them, and just get a few fewer chickens if I were limited in run size.

    In any case, put the coop somewhere you can run electricity to it, preferably PROPER electricity (trenched-in cable) not just an extension cord. A heated waterer or waterer base will make your life ever so much easier in the winter, and while you can quite possibly get along without heat in your location, you are in a cold enough climate that it'd be real good to have it available as an *option* if something doesn't go as planned.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. Schroeder

    Schroeder Songster

    Nov 9, 2008
    Central Indiana
    My Coop
    I'm no expert but it seems to me you should avoid the woods. In an open area the predators have fewer places to hide in ambush - cats, raccoons, owls, etc. I think the predtors would be more comfortable stirring in the woods after dawn and before dusk than they would out in the open. They also might feel less comfortable about breaking into the coop without a thicket nearby into which they could escape. I have my coop at the edge of a woods and I often spot hawks sitting high in a tree hoping for an opportunity. As it is, they have to fly into the open before they get to the coop area - long enough for the rooster to sound the alarm.
  7. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Quote:First, [​IMG] from the Twin Cities.

    I think it's warmer where you are, but I think you're still gonna need electricity, so definitely plan that into the equation. Even if you choose not to add heat (I do), you will need a heated water dish.

    My coop is out of sight of the house, which is a little bit of a bummer. I wish it was closer so that I could check on them without having to walk around the back of the garage. And because I just plain like watching them. Also, when it's cold and snowy, remember that you're still going to have to trudge out there at least twice a day, so put the coop in a place where it's not going to be challenging to get to.

    Dry is really important (wet is stinky and unhealthy), so if you have a spot that you want, but it gets wet, take care of that problem BEFORE you start construction.

    It is totally possible to build an attractive coop that would be insight of your home/gardens that would add - not detract - from your view and enjoyment. If you keep the coop clean and dry, there won't be a problem of smell.

    Most of all, enjoy the process. This will be fun for you to plan for over the wintertime!
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009

  8. Mr. Peepers

    Mr. Peepers In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2009
    Predators will come for your chickens no matter where you build the coop. Rather than worry about a low predator location, you should just make sure that your coop and run are predator proof.

    Having electricity and water to a coop is a big plus. If possible pick a location that provides these utilities. You'll want lights, heat, possibly a fence energizer, and maybe even a coop-camera. All these use electricity. Chickens need lots of water, and the less you have to haul the better.

    Consider drainage, shade, protection from prevalent wind, etc. You will visit your chickens at least twice a day. Pick a suitable location that's not a long hike. Short distances can seem very long in the middle of a Wisconsin winter.
  9. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Because you don't want a wet area, at least one of your three is eliminated (springs in paddock area). I wouldn't want "behind" another structure anyhow, because I like being able to keep an eye on my coop. When I think of Wisconsin, I only picture cold winters...how hot do your summers get??? I wouldn't think you guys would have to deal with high 90s or anything???? Personally, the lawn in front of the barn sounds good, and sounds as if you'd have easy access to water and electricity. If you (will) have a really secure run/coop, the strip along the woods sounds okay...depending on whether you can see it easily from the house or not, and availability of electricity. Is there a certain spot that is in a wind break area, to cut down on winter cold???
    I'm excited for you, because it's so fun getting started!!
  10. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Oh thank you so much for all the replies, that's just the sort of input I need that isn't freely available in the books! I'm going to brainstorm locations that would lend themselves to adequate electricity, gone are my ideas of "oh, I can just run an extension cord...".
    Ha ha, and of course, if I'm running power out there, another reason to avoid the wet spots- eek! [​IMG]

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