New House - Need Advice

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jadorsey9, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. jadorsey9

    jadorsey9 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2013
    We recently bought 2.5 acres to build a home for our growing family. The back of the property backs up to an area with a few horses and who knows what else may be living out there. I have raised backyard chickens in a chicken tractor and let them free range during the day. My fear is that they won't survive long in the new living conditions. What should I build to keep them protected?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  2. jadorsey9

    jadorsey9 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2013
    One detail I forgot, I need to build something on a budget because of course the house cost us way more than we expected. Thanks for your help!
  3. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2016
    i may be new to this whole chicken raising thing but here is a few tips i can think of. :)

    1. what predators live around your area? where i live i have weasels, raccoons, coyotes and foxes. (and the odd bear, cougar, bobcat and wild boar now) so keep in mind what you have living around there and might want a chicken snack.

    2. this is what am doing but its up to you, i don't free range my birds (way too many predators around) so we build a coop with wire runs on it (we used hard ware cloth) for the walls and plan to put it underground through out the whole run. but again we went all out my grandparents last raised chickens 20+ years ago and raccoons wiped them out a few years in a row so they quit raising birds.
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j True BYC Addict

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Honestly, if you're needing to skimp on costs, you might want to wait a while before getting chickens so you can afford a secure setup. Those little doll house coops you find at the farm supply store are not going to protect your chickens. You can build a pretty decent shed type coop for not much more than those. Depending on where you live, you may need a larger than recommended sized coop if your chickens will be inside during cold winter months. If you're not going to free range, you're going to want a bigger run and about the only "predator proof" wire walls available is hardware cloth, and that's kind of spendy if you need large quantities of it.

    Here are my two coops with attached runs:



    I use 2x4" welded wire with 1/2" hardware cloth around the bottom 24" of the run. As you can see, the run is also covered with the 2x4" welded wire. It keeps out the larger varmints, but a mink or weasel could easily get in. The runs are 12x16'. My chickens free range - now every other day as I have two coops, so each group gets out on alternating days. If they were to be cooped at all times, they would have larger runs, or I'd have fewer chickens.
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    How many eggs you looking for? That determines the number of birds........about a dozen eggs a week from 3 to 4 birds. Then 4 sf or so per bird. A sturdy 6' x 8' or 8' x 8' coop would be good for a dozen birds and about 3 to 4 dozen eggs per week (when they are laying).

    Anyway, if your home is already built, that would be a shame as most likely there was enough scrap left over from that to have built an appropriate sized coop. If not, a nice one can still be had, and even more so if you are able to do it yourself. Keep it simple and build it sturdy.

    I do not have a run. I built a predator tight Woods coop (8' x 12') that is oversized for my 9 birds (it could house about 20 or so), but no run. If they need to stay in, they stay in. No harm comes to them there. But when I let them out, they have room to roam but are confined and protected by an electric fence that cost less than a large run would have and opens up about 50X more space than a run would allow. The coop protects them from things that go bump in the night and the fence confines and protects them during the day.
    1 person likes this.
  6. jadorsey9

    jadorsey9 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2013
    Thanks for the feedback so far. We have coyotes, hawks, raccoons, and possibly some other varmints. I'm a big fan of free ranging but after losing my whole flock to a pit bull I have become more cautious. I live in Texas so weather is not a big concern. I like the shed idea.
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    You can build a nice 8x8 hoop coup for under $300. Add an electric poultry fence for another $100 and all you need is chickens.

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