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New to forum & chickens. Free range or coop?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by wdglide, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. wdglide

    wdglide Hatching

    Aug 1, 2010
    Hi. My wife and I just moved from Fla to E. Tennessee. We are in an old restored farmhouse with a large 100 yr old barn. The barn is filled with old, but dry and non-moldy hay.

    We are thinking about getting a 4-5 egg-laying chickens. We are brand, spanking, new to the chicken world. In fact we are new to the farm world in general. We are both NY > FLA > Tenn transplants.

    I have an option of letting them free range around the barn (with 3 lamancha goats) or building a coop near the house. I was hoping to keep costs low. I have existing out-building I can use. I also have yrs of carpentry experience. I am in a rural area and predators may be an issue, i.e., raccoons, possums and mabye coyotes (though I have never heard one around here).

    My question is: Free range or coop? Which is better for a total newbie - in my situation?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. The Tinman

    The Tinman Songster

    Jun 10, 2010
    Fairfield County CT
    Free range during the day and coop at night. The hay I would be careful with. It may be dry and mold free but there could be all kinds of stuff living in it.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Quote:I agree with the simplest approach. but be aware that some predators hunt during the day as well as at night. Raccoons in particular will come out in daylight, especially when there are young ones to feed.

    The hay might be reused as mulch for your new vegetable garden? [​IMG]

  4. gaduke

    gaduke Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    S.W. Kentucky
    [​IMG] From Ky!
  5. wdglide

    wdglide Hatching

    Aug 1, 2010
    Thanks for the quick replies.

    I just climbed to the top of the hay loft. There are loads of coon poop up there. I mean LOADS!

    Now I am worried that the hay (100's of bales) is riddled with coon nests.

    If coons are a serious threat, then maybe a coop is the answer.
  6. conroy

    conroy Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    [​IMG] from LI NY We do a combo... they free range during the day and they are in the coop at night. They have an area around their coop that is fenced in but as they got older we let them venture into the backyard. So somedays they get to go in the yard and days when we aren't gonna be home alot we leave them in their fenced area around their coop.
  7. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    I prefer the coop. I keep my chickens penned up because I have too many idiot neighbors who let their dogs roam. Sounds like you have a serious coon infestation and you'd need to keep your chickens in a highly predator proof pen to keep them safe from the coons.

    If you put the word out that you want to get chickens, you may be surprised at what people give you. I mentioned it to a friend of mine and she asked if I wanted the 10x10x6' dog run that the previous owners of the house left under their porch! I set it up outside an outbuilding and instant chicken coop.

  8. 1_FnkyFrm

    1_FnkyFrm Songster

    Jun 6, 2010
    Knoxville, Tn
    [​IMG] from East Tennessee! Glad to see joined us. Your going to need a coop here in E.T.
  9. chicknduck

    chicknduck Songster

    May 21, 2010
  10. caralynnp

    caralynnp In the Brooder

    Jul 21, 2010
    hello from ky! set up traps for those raccoons! make yourself a Daniel Boone hat [​IMG] if you are only going to have four you could lose all of them real quick. It happened to me.

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