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  1. mommabice

    mommabice Out Of The Brooder

    83
    1
    43
    Jan 22, 2012
    Mississippi
    My Coop
    My family has decided to take the plunge and get some chickens. We live in the middle of town (like behind the grocery...literally the middle of town). We have a large yard, but we can not free range due to being where we are. However, I have an area that is fenced in with privacy fence. The main portion is 10'x36'. I want this to be one big run for our chickens.

    I am planning to take netting or wire from the top of the fence over to the ten feet mark, and then make a tall wire fence down to the ground. This way they can't fly off into town and are pretty much enclosed. I would like to make a coop to put at one end, then have the rest open space. We are going to get 5 chickens. I realize this is a lot of space for only 5 chickens. :) I want them to feel free-range even if I can't really let them into the yard to roam.

    So here is the question(s):

    1) How bad would they tear up the grass/area. It is not a pretty area anyway, mostly weeds, but we are renting the house. I am not so much worried about what the landlord will think, since the house was crap when we moved in and we have fixed it up on our own dime. However, my mom (who will share in the labor and eggs) is worried it will kill the yard forever.

    2) We are in a very rainy area for half the year. The area is grassy and nice in summer/fall, but in winter/spring it is muddy. Is mud an issue for the chickens? It does not get puddles or anything, just muddy (we have clay soil).

    3) Would you suggest just clipping their wings instead of covering the top of the area? We don't have predators (except a stray cat) in the area since we are (again) in the middle of town. On that note...how do you keep cats away? We are going to close them in the coop of night of course, but while they are young (after the chick phase, when I let them out in the area) I worry the cat would bother/hurt them.

    Anything else you can suggest to help us get started would be great. This has been a dream of mine for a while and I am excited to find a community full of people who also think about chickens on a daily basis. lol.
     
  2. ChickenPrnces

    ChickenPrnces Chillin' With My Peeps

    451
    4
    101
    Jan 2, 2012
    Deerfield, NH
    Start with this link! http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    It is a chicken breed chart. The far right column shows if they are well adapted to confinement. The moe adapted to confinement the more free-ranged they will feel in a run. The idea of covering the run is a great one because you may not even realize what is included in the list of chicken predators. I used to live in a city and I mean CITY (as in I could stand on my porch and reach the neighbors house with a long stick) and we had raccoons, rats, stray dogs, stray cats,ect. These are all chicken killers believe it or not! They do like to scratch and dig so the yard may become a bit messy. My yard is pretty muddy too and they don't seem to have that much of a problem with it!
     
  3. ChickenPrnces

    ChickenPrnces Chillin' With My Peeps

    451
    4
    101
    Jan 2, 2012
    Deerfield, NH
    Oh - one last hing! You say you only want 5 but leave room for the inevitable "chicken math"!!! I "only wanted 3"! I now have 37 chickens and another 40 eggs in the incubator! I won't even tell you what happens when you start thinking about ducks! Duck Math is as bad as Chicken Math!!!!![​IMG][​IMG]
     
  4. mommabice

    mommabice Out Of The Brooder

    83
    1
    43
    Jan 22, 2012
    Mississippi
    My Coop
    Thank you so much for replying. I will check that site. I think I am getting a mix of black/red stars. I have not seen any one on the net who has had a bad experience with them as far as attitude. I have a one year old who will be on my hip for most of the care taking, so I want docile birds (though I am sure every bird has its own mind...and picking a breed won't stop that). I have had bad experiences with birds as a kid, so maybe I want them to be docile for me too. lol. (think chased by a flock of ducks/chickens at a petting zoo, and having a goose try to "eat" me all in the same day).
     
  5. ChickenPrnces

    ChickenPrnces Chillin' With My Peeps

    451
    4
    101
    Jan 2, 2012
    Deerfield, NH
    If you want calm then check out the silkies! They are smaller then the stars and very pretty and fluffy! I have a few and am hatching more and I love them! A few friends have them and they are just the sweetest girls! Even the roo's are nice!
     
  6. Linn Bee

    Linn Bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    I second the need to protect your flock from predators, whether you expect them or not. Not so long ago a white-tail deer ran into a front store window in the Chicago loop area and a cougar that moved down through Wisconsin was shot not far from downtown Chicago. The raccoons, opossums, fox, hawks, etc. that bother those of us out in the sticks can find plenty of comfortable homes and food supplies amid cities. Dogs, too, can wreck havoc if they get into your run.

    The more room in your run the longer it will take for the grass to disappear, but the damage will not be permanent. Once the chickens are gone that part of the yard will be enriched and will grow even better lawn than it does now. You might want to cover a bit of your run if you get a lot of rain so your girls have some space to get outside and play.

    I also second the suggestion that you build larger than you expect your 5 hens will need. Chicken math is insidious and chickens are addictive. You're gonna enjoy your chicken adventures!
     
    1 person likes this.

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