Please critique my setup

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Yellow Snow, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. Yellow Snow

    Yellow Snow In the Brooder

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    As a prospective chicken owner I've begun work on my plans for my coop and chicken run area. I'm really excited about it and want to get everything set up just right. But I need some feedback on the setup I'm considering in my yard. I'm on a half-acre lot in a small town subdivision. The subdivision allows animal rights but does not permit free-ranging animals. I'm planning on placing my coop inside a 40' by 40' square area that is basically my "orchard" with 9 fruit trees. The ground is planted with pasture grass. My plan is to fence this entire area with some type of 6-foot fencing and designate it as a dual-purpose orchard/chicken run. I'll have a 6'x8' coop to house 8-10 birds. They'll be Orpingtons and Austrolorps with maybe an EE or 2.

    I would house the birds in the coop at night and let them roam in the orchard during the day. I'm wondering: 1-do I need to build a more secure chicken run attached to the coop or is my setup sufficient? 2-am I naive to hope that my birds won't fly over the fence, considering my garden would be on one side of the fence and my neighbor's garden on another side of it (don't want the birds to tear up our gardens!)? 3-any problems combining chickens with fruit trees? I was thinking they'd be great bug control...

    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    I like the idea myself, and any fallen fruit would easily be cleaned up with the chickens.

    I need a roof over my run, due to predators getting in, not so much Chickens getting out, but I am thinking that the girls would start roosting in the tress, and then that tempting garden on the side, and quick hop and they would be in it.

    However, you can clip their flight feathers, and that would solve your problems.

    Other note, even though it is pasture grass, the chickens will wear it out.

    MrsK
     
  3. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Songster

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    Mrs. K :

    I like the idea myself, and any fallen fruit would easily be cleaned up with the chickens.

    I need a roof over my run, due to predators getting in, not so much Chickens getting out, but I am thinking that the girls would start roosting in the tress, and then that tempting garden on the side, and quick hop and they would be in it.

    However, you can clip their flight feathers, and that would solve your problems.

    Other note, even though it is pasture grass, the chickens will wear it out.

    MrsK

    I totally agree!

    Hawks would be after my chickens without a secure top to the run. EEs are good at flying. Six feet would not be a problem for mine.​
     
  4. yelim

    yelim Songster

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    Will coop be raised? They will need a place to go when alarmed. For 10 birds you could have about 50sq. ft. covered to keep out preds and birds in lock down. They will get to know your habits
    and will be waiting for you at the gate or what ever you do. They can get over 6' fence. They will set in the trees. They prefer the highest perch.
     
  5. Gray Ghost

    Gray Ghost Songster

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    To be totally predator proof you would need a cover over than 40x40 space, which is a lot of space to cover. Also with the fruit trees growing there it will be difficult or impossible to cover it. If your goal is to prevent chicken escapes then the 6' fence will work most of the time but not always and as soon as they learn there is food on the other side they will fly over it...wing clipping could prevent that as another commented noted.

    For that small number of chickens consider a smaller, fully enclosed run, totally predator-proof, combined with periodic free ranging outside the run.

    Or consider a tractor.
     
  6. abhaya

    abhaya Songster

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    It sounds like a nice set up. They will tear up the grass I would clip there flight feathers my birds do not roost during the day but they may try the trees as an escape route to the gardens. you may want to consider covering wide open areas as hawks love chicken!!!! it the orchard is pretty thick it might not be a huge problem.
     
  7. cobrien

    cobrien Songster

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    Whether or not they fly over a 6' fence or roost in trees will depend on the breed and individual chicken. I can say that my BA's, Marans and Cochin have never had an interest in flying over even a 4' fence (once they were full grown) even though there is tasty stuff on the other side. But I've had bantams and a polish that would be over a 6' fence in a heartbeat. I think you should stick to large breeds that don't fly well and be prepared to clip wings. Many suggest brown colored birds as they are less visible to hawks. Still, if/when a hawk, fox, raccoon etc. finds your flock you will lose some. I'd be prepared to build a predator proof run as a back-up plan. I also like the tractor idea for daytime grazing if hawks are the main concern during the day. Can you keep a rooster to help protect the flock? Are you going to be home at dusk to lock them in the coop? This is very important if you won't have a secure run.
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

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    I would get a puppy when I got the chickens and raise them together, teaching the puppy they are part of the family. Some of the best predator proofing there is, is a dog with the chickens.

    My .02.
     
  9. ARose4Heaven

    ARose4Heaven Songster

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    Yes...They will eventually defoliate the ground. Yes...get a puppy and a kitten. Puppy will control varmints, kitten will control rodents. Yes...clip the flying feathers.
    Fruit trees? Yummmm! Your chickies are gonna LOVE you!
     
  10. Yellow Snow

    Yellow Snow In the Brooder

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback! Hmmm...I hadn't planned on having a rooster or a dog for protection but considering some posts in other threads in regards to the hazards we expose our chickens to by free ranging them I'm starting to reconsider. I think hawks would be a very real threat to my future flock - just how much would a dog or rooster help against hawks? Is their very presence a significant defense against aerial assaults?
     

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