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Need some ideas for our future chicken area (pic included)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by konachicks, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. konachicks

    konachicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok our plan was to get 4 hens that will free range during the day and coop at night. But we then thought my old 12x14 garden might be a nice place to put the coop and possibly enclose. We still have a lot of surrounding elephant grass to clear out and the fence itself will need to be reinforced. Any design ideas? Or best way to enclose? Thanks in advance ;)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    That would make a nice sized run for a few hens, with a 5' or 6' fence. In your climate, all they need for a coop is a 3 sided shed facing downwind -- and even that is mostly for comfort, and to keep the feed dry. If you want the coop predator proof, I would cover the 4th side with hardware cloth. You will probably want to put something like hardware cloth up the sides of the garden fence a couple of feet, also to discourage predators; You might also consider whether you have any predators that will dig under. The easy way to prevent that is lay hardware cloth along the lower edge of the fence on the outside, and find a way to fasten it to the fence. If you pin it down with staples or something, you will probably be able to mow over it once the grass grows up into it.

    There may be other fencing that will work; lots of threads in this forum discuss fencing. You have to consider how small a hole your predators can get through, and whether it is strong enough.

    It doesn't look like the area is fenced now, in the pic. One thing to consider is that it should be well drained, or your chickens will live in a muddy, stinky mess. Also, although they will eat all the grass is a fairly short time, they will love doing this if you choose a grassy area.
     
  3. Wxguru

    Wxguru Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know that I would clear out that grass...let the chickens do it. They will love it!
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Elephant grass can grow ten feet tall. I think it would need to be cleaned out.

    I don’t know what your predators are in Hawaii. Dogs are everywhere and are among the worst risk but mongoose may be a challenge for you. I’m not familiar with them but I think they can climb really well. If I remember right, they are a threat during the day. I don’t know how heavy the mongoose pressure is where you live though. They may not be much of a threat.

    I don’t know what your garden fence looks like right now or how much you’ll need to work in it. The philosophy I use is to have a predator resistant run with a pretty predator proof coop. Most predators are a threat day or night, but most are more active at night. My run will stop a ground predator except a bear but it is possible a climbing predator could climb in. I have been really successful with the predator resistant run and locking them up securely at night when the danger is greatest.

    I agree with Judy. Where you are you will do great with an open coop, just close off one end enough to keep the nests and roosts dry and finish off the rest with wire. It’s less expensive than fully enclosing it and they will really enjoy the fresh air.

    The floor will get wet though so that means you need to build it so it dries out pretty quickly. A wet coop or run is an unhealthy coop or run. I’ll give a link that may give you ideas but I’d consider building the coop floor up a few inches with sand so it will rapidly drain when it gets wet.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

    Good luck. It sounds like you are on the right track.
     
  5. konachicks

    konachicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's like 7 foot tall brush (they call it elephant grass here[​IMG]) @Wxguru that's like thin bamboo. I'm not sure they'd be able to clear it . But we are on almost 2 acres and they will definitely have lots of places to forage and have fun in.
    @Judy there is fencing around it connected to the 4 green metal poles as corners. But it's only about 4.5-5ft tall, so we wanted to bring it up higher. And make a new door since the one shown is all corroded. The only predator we have is mongoose. I've heard they only go after chicks because they're attracted to the peeping, but not chickens. But I'm not 100% sure. That was another thing I was wondering about. Our climate is pretty warm, being in Hawaii. But we are up in a mountain area and the coldest it's gotten is 55 degrees. Will they do ok in that area if we just make a 3 sided she'd like you mentioned?
     
  6. konachicks

    konachicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Shed^ not she'd [​IMG] sorry, autocorrect lol
     
  7. Wxguru

    Wxguru Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL...yeah just a wee bit to tall and strong for the hens to stomp down...:)
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You've still got dogs. They are probably more of a threat than mongoose anyway.

    I've seen chickens sleep outside in trees at zero degrees Fahrenheit in a wind-protected valley. At 55 degrees they are just getting comfortable with that down coat they wear.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. konachicks

    konachicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    There's no dogs in our immidiate area, only the occasional wild pig. I just found out our neighbor above us has a coop and some hens! My son actually came home with one of their hens and she was so sweet. But of course I had him take her back home right away lol I might try and talk to them about any predator issues.
    Is it possible to put PVC pipe on the four corners then put maybe hardware cloth around to get the fence a bit stronger? And what about netting or something for the top? Would I need that? Hawaii has small hawks that grab rats but not sure if they could grab a chicken
     
  10. konachicks

    konachicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm also worried about the chickens flying out
     

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