New house for us and our future flock!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by EllegantPoppy, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. EllegantPoppy

    EllegantPoppy New Egg

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    We're buying a new home in a week or two and it's always been my DREAM to have backyard chickens (since I was about 11)!

    Now, dreams are becoming reality and I've got SO MANY QUESTIONS!

    Firstly, I know the generally accepted space chickens need an average of 4' per bird in the coop. So that's that much, anyway. I'm only planning on having 3 birds.

    Now I live in the Midwest US and the winters get pretty cold here. Should I make the coop bigger than 12 square feet to allot for the winter confinement? If it's cold but there's no snow will they still run about the yard?

    that leads me to the next series of questions: I'll have a fenced-in back yard (4' on two sides, 8' on one, the other is the house). Will my chickens stay in my yard?
    Do I need to build them a proper run if I let them out while I'm at home (at least 6 solid hrs a day in the morning/early afternoon) or can I build a small-ish run just to keep them for the last few hours of daylight while I'm at work (I work at night).

    I'm considering the following breeds:
    Australorp, ameracauna, and Sussex

    Will these birds get along together? I'm hoping for relaxed, friendly birds that are good to decent layers. These seem to be combo-purpose birds but I'm a vegetarian so I won't be eating these ladies. . . .from what I've seen, though, the strictly laying hens are cranky, flighty or both. . .Any other suggestions on breeds?

    I think that's it for now! thanks in advance for any and all assistance!
     
  2. RWD

    RWD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Research and learn all you can, this is the best site that I know of to learn all you will need to know. Look at all types of coops and see what fits your particular needs. We build coops that we sell, check out my farm page and see what we build. We are too far to sell you one, but you will learn what is available. The researching, learning, of different breed and coops are all the things that make this hobby fun and rewarding.
     
  3. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Carlsbad, NM
    [​IMG] [​IMG] You are a future chicken addict!
     
  4. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Hello and Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    If you can build a bigger coop, it would be best to do so, from our experiences in being owned by chickens.

    The chickens can handle cold weather and snow much better than this heat we've been dealing with. They'll go out if there's snow on the ground. Our poor birds were raised in Middle TN and we didn't have much in the way of snow there. Our first winter here in AR, we saw plenty of snow and they just didn't know what to think at first and stayed in the pathways that we'd shoveleled. They eventually got brave and explored the snow and are to the point that it doesn't bother them or slow them down when it comes to going to their favorite hang outs in the woods.

    I usually free range our birds but have them in lock-down right now due to the fact that part of them quite using the nest boxes in the coop and laid their eggs wherever they wanted and then half of the flock took to roosting on top of the hoop coop or in the trees. It's been too hot here to want to spend hours trying to figure out where they've hidden the eggs and we've got too many predators for me to feel comfortable letting them roost anywhere outside the coop. I like having a run attached to the coops as there are times when we'll be gone all day and don't want the birds out ranging when I'm not here.

    Our flock is all bantams and they'd have no problem with flying over your 8' fence but large breeds aren't supposed to be such great fliers and I don't recall any of my large birds flying back when I had them over 20 years ago.

    I hope this has been some help!
     
  5. MuckyPuppy

    MuckyPuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    I have bantams also and they are only chicks but some of them can already get a good 2 feet off the ground so a four foot fence wouldn't be high enough for them when they are adults. My best flyers would probably be able to get over the 8 foot fence as adults but I don't think any of them could clear a house. If it is a single story, maybe land on it and walk over the roof. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    Hi there and welcome to BYC. I would suggest making a bigger coop, cause you never know. You might find another breed you fall in love with and there is the end of your 3 chicken limit, so in my ex the bigger the better. Yes you should add a run to it, cause there will be times when you need to lock them in for whatever reason and the run always provide extra space for chicken behavior. For the most part all breeds get together fine unless they are raised in different areas then put together then there will be some drama to start but that will stop after a big, unless its roosters. As for the fence it all depends on the chickens. My girls would fly over a 6' tall run all but they wont fly over a 6' wall to the back yard or garden which they love being in. The 4' one i think they will jump over. When you make the coop make sure its predator proof and has good ventilation. I would make them 2 nest boxes so they have a choice. Also make the run predator proof. BYC is a great source of knowledge cause its all from peoples ex, so if you have any questions ask them. There is no question to small or big when it comes to caring for your chickens and keeping them safe. Again welcome to the addiction of chickens. [​IMG]
     
  7. EllegantPoppy

    EllegantPoppy New Egg

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    Wow, thanks everyone!

    I've decided (for now) to go with a 20 square foot coop with a 20 square foot run attached. This seems to be generally accepted as "enough" room for 5 chickens, so, for 3 girls of regular size it should suffice. . . . especially since they'll probably get to poke about the rest of the back yard anyway.

    The breeds I'm looking at seem to be heavier too so I feel like, once they've filled in post-adolescence, I won't really have to worry about them "flying the coop" so to speak. Especially since we're replacing the shorter fences with matching taller fence all the way around.

    My book on coop building is in at the library! Soon I'll put my carpentry skills to the test! [​IMG]
     
  8. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    [​IMG] from San Diego [​IMG] WRT building your coop. Prepare for Chicken math.... Bigger is better for sure. [​IMG]
    Quote:I think some birds even go out in the snow too. Mine do. I get snow in the desert.... but our Cold Cold days are from the wind. Blows in one ear and right out the other.... LOL [​IMG] If you have the opportunity and you do get lots of snow consider extending the roof from the coop on to cover the Run as well. This way it will give your girls more space in the winter. That way you dont have to build your coop too too big. The smaller space will allow the hens body heat to keep them warmer.

    that leads me to the next series of questions: I'll have a fenced-in back yard (4' on two sides, 8' on one, the other is the house). Will my chickens stay in my yard?
    Do I need to build them a proper run if I let them out while I'm at home (at least 6 solid hrs a day in the morning/early afternoon) or can I build a small-ish run just to keep them for the last few hours of daylight while I'm at work (I work at night).

    If you aren't there to protect your girls best to have them Locked in a predator proof run with a wire roof. You'd be surprised what will show up in the neighborhood once you get chickens in the yard.

    I'm considering the following breeds:
    Australorp, ameracauna, and Sussex

    Will these birds get along together? I'm hoping for relaxed, friendly birds that are good to decent layers. These seem to be combo-purpose birds but I'm a vegetarian so I won't be eating these ladies. . . .from what I've seen, though, the strictly laying hens are cranky, flighty or both. . .Any other suggestions on breeds?

    I think they will all get along no matter what breed you get just as long as you get healthy birds that are not inbred.

    I think that's it for now! thanks in advance for any and all assistance!

    Lol.... your enthusiasm is infectious. Again Welcome to BYC.​
     
  9. EllegantPoppy

    EllegantPoppy New Egg

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    Aug 2, 2011
    OO! I never really though about covering the run. I think I'll be doing that for sure. In the past couple years, come February, we get a final HUGE dump of snow to make up for the rest of the super-dry winter. They probably wouldn't be able to see over the top of it. . . . .

    Now, the other thing I've been wondering(since last night). . . .

    COOP PLACEMENT!!! Dun dun DUN!

    I'll start with the fact that my yard is WAY too small for a chicken tractor.

    I've got a shady side of the yard and a sunny side of the yard. (those trees may come down eventually since they're not food trees but, for now, lets work with them)

    I'm not sure if the sun or the shade is better but I'd kind of like to save the sunny side for the garden.

    On the shady side I'd need to build the coop away from the house because access to the front yard is only on that side. . . that's also the side of the house where I wanted the compost pile to go. . .which could be convenient when cleaning the coop. . .

    Alternatively, if I take up a little of the sunny side I can put the coop right near the house and I can reach out and get the eggs from the nest boxes without leaving the porch! (The convenience of that sounds great but do I really want the coop that close to my home?) And, I could make a flat-ish roof on the coop and do some container gardening of herbs or something so the space lost isn't really a big deal.....

    Since I'm not actually IN the house yet I don't know how the wind blows so I don't know how careful I'll have to be about drafts. . . So the no-man-s land if the shady side or the protected lee of the house/fence is not something I can talk about right now. . . .

    I'm also not sure what my zoning board says about closeness to buildings and whatnot. . . they have rules on that stuff, right?


    I'll quit rambling now, I feel like you got the gist of it.
     
  10. TinyLittleFarm

    TinyLittleFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unless you have a housing association or something that limits the number of chickens, you'll end up with more than three at some point. I planned on six and now we have 15. Build as big as you can.
     

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