Need lots of advice

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

  1. SharonandCurrie

    SharonandCurrie New Egg

    Mar 29, 2017
    I have spent hours reading and learning from other here and on Pinterest. I finally thought why not just ask. We have been dreaming of having chickens for years and we plan to do it right the first time and have them forever, so we just got a 5X6 Rubbermaid shed
    and a 10X10 dog pen. I know we need to put hardware cloth 2 feet up the side and 8-10 inches into the ground also something over the top. We also still need to purchase the shelves to mount right onto the walls to put nesting boxes on. I am planning to not leave out food for them but to train them to come eat just before dawn.

    1. I am hoping to have them free-range from morning to dawn is that not practical in a wooded no-fenced 1/2 acre yard? Will I need to be there with them at all times outside of their pen?

    2. Also any advice on how to make ventilation into the shed?

    3. What is the best/most number of chickens should we get (106 cubic feet coop)?

    4. Should we have a rooster? I figured we did not want one but if it would help keep the hens safer.

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  2. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Apr 1, 2014
    Longville, La
    It's not practical to expect your chickens to free range on a half acre lot without a fence. They will roam wherever they want to go, not stay inside your yard. Mine wander off into the woods all day long. Right now I can see about half of them in my son's yard about 300 yards from the coop. Lots of bad things can happen to them unprotected like that.

    Is it the molded plastic shed?

    They need about 4' of floor space in the coop, so about 7 birds. Cubic feet doesn't help because they need room to roost upstairs but room to jump down too. Plus if they wake up before you open the cooop, they need room to mill around.
    The 100' sq ft run can accommodate 10 though.

    Roosters don't really help a lot in protecting the hens. He will sound a warning if danger approaches, but he is likely to run away from the danger, not towards it. I've only had 1 who actually sacrificed himself for the ladies to get to safety.
  3. SharonandCurrie

    SharonandCurrie New Egg

    Mar 29, 2017
    So I am thinking we will have a secure run and leave the "door" open to the coop. With that will I still need all that floor space for the hens? I picture they will either be in a nest or on the roost. I hear 2 hens per nest? And how much roost space do they need. I hope to let them free range daily but how much run space per bird?
  4. mclanea

    mclanea Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2016
    San Diego
    So of this depends on where you live, how cold it gets in winter, etc. Here in San Diego the coop is really just for sleeping. It has to be secure from predators but not really to protect them from the elements.

    We free range ours from whenever I wake up until dusk. I love it but they are a mess. They are going to go wherever they want... more specifically, where you don't want them to go. You could spend $125 and put up a basic hog wire fence that's 625 square feet. (100' of hotwire is $65 at Home Depot; 10-12 fence posts at $4/each.) We did this to protect our garden and it keeps them out, would definitely keep them in.

    10 is a good number of hens. Depending on breed you'd end up getting 7-10 eggs a day, less in the dark parts of winter. Rooster is totally up to you. Where we live they aren't allowed.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by