Newbie needing direction

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kcflock, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. kcflock

    kcflock Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2017
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    Hello, new here. We are about to make our move to our 38 acre hill country property from our 1/4 acre lot in thr city.. We've always had cows and horses, but all else is a mystery to me. I want to start with chickens but Im so overwhelmed with information. I know I need a coop, can someone direct me to a website or source of information that can break it down for me? Or can someone answer my questions?

    We probably want 10 chickens to start with, how big of a coup do they need? Or do we build for what we might want in the future?
    What is a roost and where does it need to go in the coop?
    How hard is it to have free range chickens (I imagine not super tough)? We intend on letting them out during the day and securing them in the coop at night.
    We will be in central texas. The summers are hot and dry but the winter isnt terrible, I think it might snow every 6-7 yesrs where we will be and even then only very little.
    Do you have to have a rooster? Are they really as mean as people say? We have young children, so I dont want them to get chased down by some rogue rooster like everyone tells you about. Do they just stay in the coop with the chivkens or do they need special "living quarters"?
    How many laying boxes would we need?

    I have so many questions but no idea where to look withoutvgetting overwhelmed. I feel stupid asking this stuff but honestly horses seem much easier at this point ;) thank you!
     
  2. chickenweirdo1

    chickenweirdo1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I would say 1 1/2 share feet per chicken so about 15 square feet for the coop. If you are planning on getting more chickens and trust you will want more than yes build for the future.
    [​IMG] A roost is where the chickens sleep something like this.
    Free ranging is the best thing to do with your chickens. All you have to do is when you get them put them in the coop for 2 weeks so they know that that is there home. Then when you let them out they will go back home when it gets dark or if they are hungry or thirsty.The only thing you have to worry about is predators.
    The snow and heat is no problem as long as they have water and shade.
    Roosters can be good to protect your flock but they are loud and could be dangerous with a young or small child.If you do get one he can live with the hens.
    For 10 chickens i would put 3 or 4 nesting boxes. I have 14 chickens and they all lay in the same 2 boxes.
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome! Most of use have at least four or five sq. ft. for each standard sized bird; anything less is crowding, and that will lead to stress and issues that aren't good. BUILD BIG!!! 'Chicken math' happens, and six or ten birds easily morph into twenty, thirty, or forty, in nearly no time. Just ask me! Ignore the cute prebuilt 'coops' and start with a solid shed or three sided structure instead. Predator protection is a huge issue, as the birds are on everyone's food list, and they are totally helpless when roosting at night. There are good books out there, and lots of good (and bad) information on this site. Pictures too! If you have a 8'x10' building, and a larger run attached, dig-proof, no openings larger than 1/2" (hardware cloth) , with shade, it's a good start. Summer heat is much tougher than winter cold. Get on the Texas thread here! Mary
     
  4. kcflock

    kcflock Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2017
    Willow Springs
    Wow i had so many typos, glad yall could read it ;)
    Thank you so much for the answers! I havent read through the Texas thread but I did join it :) thank you again!
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Start with the chickens. Much cheaper to get started and less planning. Are there any outbuildings you can convert? An extra stall or loafing shed? Go big. You want to start with 10 hens (you do not want a rooster with small children). You might want ducks or geese or even guineas for tick control before you know what happened. If you don't have any limitations, I would double your coop up to an 8x8 to 8x12. Because you're in the south, build an open sided coop (think loafing shed with a wired in front with a people door) to allow maximum air flow. You'll want to be able to walk around in it. Predator protection will be key as you probably have all the risks and they all love chicken.
     
  6. kcflock

    kcflock Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2017
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    Our large livestock property has all of the buildings, this land is bare except a storage shed we put up. Hubby is handy so hes going to build the coop, mostly waiting on me to say what. I like the 3 sided coops Ive seen! Do you have to do anything special to it in the winter?

    I found a lady with 21 RIR chicks for $50, I figure we can thin that down to how many we feel comfortsble with. I do want ducks too eventually but hubby made me promise one thing at a time...
     
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    TX winters do not need anything special. They are perfect chicken weather. If you get hard driving rains, it would be nice to block the open part if the rain comes inside but that can be a blue tarp that you just drop in bad weather and roll it up when it passes. Or think plywood storm windows that you put up in November and take down early spring. My chickens are in a similar set up. Stall with wire on the top 1/3. I cover the wire with plastic in the winter to keep the blowing snow out but the coop is sub freezing with no problems. Summers are what you need to build for. Open with tons of shade and air flow.

    The problem I see with the 21 chicks is they are probably straight run so 1/2 are boys. Now you have 10 pullets for $5 each. You are also passing on a great varied flock.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  8. kcflock

    kcflock Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2017
    Willow Springs
    Thank you!
     

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