Newbie planning coop(s) and run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jkpenrod, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. jkpenrod

    jkpenrod New Egg

    Sep 19, 2012
    Fauquier County VA
    First of all I have posted in introductions, so if you want to know a little more about how I got here please check that out.

    So I have a short-term and a long term plan and I would like feedback on any mistakes I may be making.

    The Basics:
    Short-term we would like to be getting enough eggs next year that we can pretty much be self sufficient on eggs.

    Long-term we would like to have up to 12 chickens for laying purposes. I expect this will be more than enough to provide my wife and I with our egg needs year round and surplus to share with friends nearby.

    The Challenge:
    Short-term, we have limited time and budget to build the necessary space to meet our immediate needs.

    Long-term, since chickens have limited laying potential I need to be able to maintain a producing flock year-after year. This means introducing new member into the flock.

    The Solution:
    I have found a ready built coop that I believe will meet our immediate needs and is within our budget, ultimately this coop will be too small for our long-term flock plans, but it will allow us to get started and allow me more time to build the coop we will need long term and provide a suitable "nursery coop" or "quarantine coop".

    The Plan:
    We have identified the area of our yard we would like to place our coop and run. It is off to the side of the property in an area protected by trees to provide predator cover and shade. The areas still gets sunlight and will likely get more as I clear the area. the coop/run will be next to our septic tank, note I said take the drain field is at the far corner of the lot 75-100 yards away back in the woods.

    I have found a coop someone built before learning they are not permitted to keep chickens. The coop is 4'x4' with attached nesting boxes outside. The price they are asking is very reasonable, but we are also exploring the possibility of a trade.

    My plan is to locate this coop in one of the corners of where we plan on building the run. I expect the 4x4 coop to accommodate 4 chickens so I plan on enclosing 10x4 area around this coop for a run. Once we have the mini-coop and run in place I will look for 4 egg producing hens to get us started. Once we have this started I plan on moving next year on building our planned coop which will be a 6x8 coop to accommodate 12 chickens. I will fence off a 12x14 area around the new coop that includes the smaller coop and run in the corner. This will give a 120SF area in the new coop with an additional shared 40SF area with the small coop.

    Once the new coop is in place I plan on moving the flock into the new coop, this may include some time that both coops are open to them to allow them time to adjust to their new space. Once I have the old flock fully moved into the new coop my plan is to then add new chicks each year or two years, depending on the size of the flock. this plan is to be replacing the older hens that are now longer laying with new hens that will be laying. I understand from what I have been reading that it is not just a matter of throwing the new chicks in with the flock, but there is an introduction period.

    This is where the small coop and run will come into play. Once the new chicks are old enough to be put in a coop, but too young to be set free with the flock I will move them into the old coop and run. My thought is that by this time the flock will be use to not having access to the smaller coop and run and will allow the flock to get somewhat accustomed to the new birds and vice-versa while protecting the new birds. As the new birds get bigger we will open the two runs to one another allowing the flock and new birds to interact under our supervision. gradually we will extend the duration of the interaction while reducing supervision. Initially I will return the new birds to the small coop each night eventually leaving the two open to one another and moving the new birds in with the flock. Because I am looking at chicks and not adult birds I understand that a quarantine is not completely necessary, that is why I want to incorporate the small coop in the same area as a "nursery".

    I realize this is all theoretical and probably full of flaws, but that is why I am laying it out in detail to you to get feedback and advice. The option always exists to place the small coop in a completely different area of the property and let it serve as a quarantine, but my preference would be to take the approach I have outlined. So know that you have my plan in painful detail I turn it over to you to dissect, critic, advise and ultimately help me create the best solution to successfully realize our short-term and long-term goals.


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