Newbie questions: barn, fencing, chicks and turkeys...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SandraMort, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    I stuck this in here because I'm mid-failed-naptime but wanted to write it all down while I thought of it all. Sorry if it's in the wrong place!

    I'm looking at a couple of apartments in a farmhouse that are for rent:
    http://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/apa/749370065.html

    If you follow the link to the FSBO link, you can see a photo of the barn:
    http://www.forsalebyowner.com/listing/268DA#

    It's not in perfect shape, but I'm not sure how to tell how much is cosmetic and how much is actually a problem for raising chickens. Most of the information I'm seeing here is for coops, rather than barns... would I need to put a coop inside the barn or is that good enough?

    Also, she said I'd need to fence in an area for the chickens. She said that there's chicken wire already but the fence isn't usable as is. I'm not really sure what that means. I figure that if I aim to move late in the summer or early in the fall, it's probably not too late. What book would you recommend for the basic quick and dirty steps involved for startup? I don't want to miss out on a whole year because I didn't start reading NOW! I'm interested in winter hardy layers and only a few meat birds for the time being.

    If I move in Aug 1 and birds arrive Aug 15, is that too late in the year to start with meat turkeys?
     
  2. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Jun 15, 2008
    If the barn has nothing in it you can choose to use the whole thing as a coop. If there are lots of gaps that predators could get through, items being stored, or you just don't want them loose in that much space it would be good to fence off a section in the barn and use that. You will need to at least add roosts and nest boxes.

    Chicken wire by itself isn't the greatest thing for the outside of a pen anyway. It's not sturdy enough with holes that can be stretched. I'd rip it all out and replace it. Most use field fencing or a heavy duty hardware cloth. If there aren't already posts in place you have the option of metal tposts or wood posts. Tposts can be driven into the ground with a pounder while wood posts have to have a hole dug. If you have a tractor with a hole digger the wood posts aren't too bad but still a little slower than putting in tposts. If you don't have a tractor tposts are much easier and faster to pound into the ground than using a post hole digger by hand for wood posts. I can put about 10 tposts into the ground in less than an hour before I'm worn out. I usually do 10 per day until I have the new fence up.

    You will then have to cover the top. Either more hardware cloth or with some type of netting. Then comes predator proofing the bottom. You will need to place more wire extending out around the bottom or burying it many feet down all the way around the pen to prevent digging. Another option is electric fencing. A low electric wire can be invaluable to convince predators your chickens aren't worth the effort. Easy to run to. Just attach some insulators to the posts or to fiberglass rods set outside your main fence posts and unroll the wire. Downside is the charger can be somewhat expensive, if you don't have electricity to connect to you'll have to change batteries frequently, and if the wire touches anything including just some tall grass or weeds it may ground out and stop working.
     
  3. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    *turning green and falling over*

    That sounds scary, difficult and expensive. I need to reconsider this on a day that I've slept, I'm not sure I'm thinking clearly, since I pulled an all nighter.
     
  4. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Jun 15, 2008
    Well your other option is a chicken tractor or hoop coop instead of a permanent pen. These can be made out of various materials and are smaller. You move them around frequently to give the chickens new ground to scratch on and eat grass.

    http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html

    http://www.plamondon.com/hoop-coop.html

    Many of these are not as predator proof especially on the bottom. It depends how much wildlife you have in your area and how many chickens you want. Personally I'd still try to find a way to lock the chickens in the barn at night or use an electric fence around the perimeter of the area your moving the chicken tractor around in.
     
  5. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    Quote:Tractors I'm familiar with and hoop coops I've seen photos of. That was my original plan, until the barn house fell in my lap...

    It depends how much wildlife you have in your area and how many chickens you want.

    No idea about the wildlife. I'd like between 10 and 20 layers, enough for my family and a few to spare for sharing. My kids have expressed interest in having a few "of their own" but if we're putting them in the barn, they'd all be together.

    Eventually I'd like some meat birds, but figured those could be in a tractor. Maybe it's coldhearted but a bird that will live for years seems (to me) to have a higher need for roaming. A bird that lives 4-5 (cornish hen) through 8 weeks (broiler) don't have very long to spend in the tractor, and if it's a decent size one, it won't be miserable... am I deluding myself?

    Personally I'd still try to find a way to lock the chickens in the barn at night or use an electric fence around the perimeter of the area your moving the chicken tractor around in.

    OK, so, how would I get the birds from my barn in the morning to the tractor and then back in the evening? That sounds like the most cost effective.​
     
  6. risurocket

    risurocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2008
    Wisconsin
    Quote:I am having this same issue. Since we can't free range but want to give the ladies (and gents if we get them) time in the grass, we are going to build tractors. I am still trying to figure out the logistics of how to get them from their run (they have a big (not very grassed) run to the tractor and back again. DH and I are discussing some kind of tube/door system...hook the tractor up to the run tube/sliding door...let a bunch of chickens run in...close the doors, and tractor them over to the good stuff....
     
  7. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    Quote:How do you keep from running over their legs while you wheel it?
     
  8. risurocket

    risurocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2008
    Wisconsin
    That's something I would like to know too. I still don't have our chickens either. I have yet to figure out how a "tractor" moves without chickens running out from the cracks underneath or something. My DH says that they will just run along with the tractor which gets pushed kind of like a wheelbarrow I guess. I have yet to see any clues. It didn't dawn on me right away that the tractors don't usually have floors.
     
  9. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    No, it's not that simple. I know that some tractors don't go al the way down to the grass to prevent running over their legs and injuring them, so I guess they don't all always run fast enough. Maybe I need a dog door and a dog run to go outside... but a dog run big enough for 20 birds would be pretty big [​IMG]

    Quote:
     
  10. risurocket

    risurocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2008
    Wisconsin
    we were also brainstorming with ideas for a slide out floor to slide in and out of the tractor when we need to move it. We would still have to be careful not to get chickies caught up in it though when sliding the door in... [​IMG] edited to add: I am going to move my tractor floor question over to coops/construction. I seem to keep diverging threads...got to keep on topic...[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2008

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