Plan for 2-3 chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TheBrumstead, May 9, 2011.

  1. TheBrumstead

    TheBrumstead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2011
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    Ok, my husband hasn't agreed to this yet [​IMG] I want to have a full plan before I present it to him.

    We have an old chain link dog pen that came with the house. He moved it once with the tractor and bent a pipe on the bottom, but should be easy to fix. It's 7 ft wide x 12.5 ft long x 6 ft tall. I know it will need reinforcement/extra protection/roof of some sort (we have hawks, raccoons, coyotes, etc).

    I have a tight budget and no building experience. I'd like to do go the dog house route to save money. I will need to either find one for under $100 or find one on Craigslist. I'm planning on putting the coop inside the dog pen. We do have some misc building materials around so maybe I could build a small coop with super simple directions. I can't hammer a nail in straight if that tells you anything!

    We live in NW IN, where it does get below 0 during the winter, with -20 F wind chill common. The coop area will not have access to electricity. How can I prevent water from freezing? Or do they need access to water 24/7?

    If I did the dog house route, would that be warm enough? Or could I stack hay/straw bales around it for extra protection?

    What else do I need to consider? I only want 2-3 chickens. It's just my husband, me and our 2 year old son. We go through a dozen eggs in about a week and a half. If I had more eggs than that, I can easily give them away to family.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    We live in NW IN, where it does get below 0 during the winter, with -20 F wind chill common. The coop area will not have access to electricity. How can I prevent water from freezing? Or do they need access to water 24/7?

    No they don't need water at night, but they do need it early in the morning. About the best you'll be able to do is get one or two of those black rubber round pans (at TSC here) because they're easy to break ice out of and withstand freezing over and over. Or have an extra waterer and trade the frozen for the warm one twice a day. Lots of threads here on this, but I don't think anyone has come up with much else.

    If I did the dog house route, would that be warm enough? Or could I stack hay/straw bales around it for extra protection?

    Probably and yes. What is critical in cold weather is ventilation. Letting the warm humid air that they and their poop give off out at a high point in the coop keeps humidity down which prevents frostbite. On really cold nights you might want to put a little Vaseline on their combs, especially if you have large combed birds. Or choose a breed with a small, compact comb. Chickens grow their own down coats and have a lot more trouble handling summer heat than winter cold.

    What else do I need to consider? I only want 2-3 chickens. It's just my husband, me and our 2 year old son. We go through a dozen eggs in about a week and a half. If I had more eggs than that, I can easily give them away to family.

    Space -- or a way for them to go out in snowy weather. Most chickens don't like snow so they tend to stay in the coop all day -- which can quickly lead to pecking problems and worse. Perhaps by winter you can come up with a way to cover the run and protect the windward side so they will go outdoors.

    I hope you'll browse around our forum to see what else you can find out. My Pet Chicken is a hatchery with a breed selector tool on its website -- one way to find good cold weather birds (small combs.) Henderson's breed chart has a lot of info on many breeds, as well.

    Good luck, and have fun with your chickens!​
     
  3. DCL

    DCL New Egg

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    Forum has locked out URL's for new users because of SPAM, but I have some links to really easy small coops (similar to the one I just finished) that you could make for relatively little money, especially if you are a resourceful finder of stuff. I can send them if you send me a PM I think...might have to email. I too used an old dog run (spoiled dogs are not going in it anyway) and roofed it using 2x4's and hardware cloth to keep out some of the less desirable locals.
     
  4. werttyy

    werttyy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in the same boat! Hope you find a good answer. If so, please let me know! [​IMG]
     
  5. aceintoledo

    aceintoledo Out Of The Brooder

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    If you only want 2-3 chickens I don't suggest you go to TSC, that's how I ended up with 6!
     
  6. werttyy

    werttyy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Hey could you send the plans to me too? PM would be great. Email is okay too. THANKS!
     
  7. TheBrumstead

    TheBrumstead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Ddawn. I know the pans you are talking about. I had the larger ones for feeding my horses. Not having to run electric to it is a definite plus. When we had to heat the horse water tank, it easily added over $100 to the bill.

    I'd love Americanas/Americounas/EE's don't care what you want to call them, I want blue and green eggs! Or the Buff Orphingtons. I need to call our local feed store and see what he has available. If I can get them old enough to go right outside, that'd be another plus. I'll check out the breed selector!

    DCL - I'll send you a pm if it will let me. I'm new too. I'm 99% sure we have enough materials here to build something. We had a 10x10 shed kit that we never got put together and used some pieces for other things.

    aceintoledo - I will be avoiding TSC... I don't want to accidently get a rooster! [​IMG]
     

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