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Producer's Pride Defender Chicken Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MrsMopar, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. MrsMopar

    MrsMopar Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2017
    I've read and learned a lot. And I've specifically read what's been written about this coop http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...vrrp=0519_5_0/reviews/product/2/116823999.htm
    But that's the coop and run i am working with.

    Reality: I've got 23 chicks from McMurrays in 2 brooders. 13 are frying pan specials and the remaining are suppose to be hens. Each hen is a different breed, but all were rated as cold hearty. I received them on march 1, so they are 3 weeks old. I'm in central Missouri.

    My thoughts are to move my meat birds to the coop on April 1 and wait until after they have been moved to the freezer to move my girls out. That's still 10 girls growing up in a coop that many on here agree is only ultimately large enough for half that many. They are big girls, not bantams.

    2 big questions:

    1. Someone on here made the comment that this coop would need a lot of work before it's ready for chickens. Before i kick my boys out, could you elaborate please? I plan to coat the outside with water seal. And i plan to make close inspection for areas where wood may not have come together correctly, and caulk it well. Ventilation seems ok. I may change out the roosting bars. As small chicks, they have all preferred tree branches or the sides of 2" lumber ,,, but they hate slick finished dowels. I'll see what they like closer to time of transfer, and I'll move their bars with them. I plan to block the nesting boxes from the hens until they are ready to lay, but do i need to block them from the boys when they have run of the place before the girls? I haven't peeked inside for awhile...might need to paint with a glossy paint to keep it easier to clean. What am i missing? What else is wrong or could be better about this coop?

    2. When my girls get moved out, how long before they outgrow this? I'm considering closing in the bottom area (covered feeding area) and providing interior access to it. This would basically double the size for them. Problems you see with this plan? Ultimately i want to add a converted shed and another run in such a way as to have this area able to be incorporated or, when necessary, easily separated into a quarantine area. But i was kinda hoping to put off expansion until fall?

    Frankly, i didnt know whether the chicken thing was for me. We live on many acres, but we don't have any extra sheds. Looking through classifieds, used coops were gross. I could start with a converted shed, but I'd be buying new or nearly new and converting with no experience as far as what works and what doesn't. That could be a time killing money pit....not likely to encourage me to keep going. I figured if i hated the birds, a fresh new coop with upgrades would easily resell. If i loved them, having a clean start would make it easier and give me something to add to. So far, i love them. I wanted 6, but min order was 25. Since i figured on several deaths and more than half were meat birds headed quickly for the freezer, i thought maybe I'd end up with 8. More is fine ... If i can find room. And I'm eager to turn their pre-fab shell into a lovely home for them.

    Ok,i know many here dislike pre-fab....with good reason....so let me have it. I'm tough, i can handle it. Lol. I'm really looking forward to your advice.
     
  2. chickiemama912

    chickiemama912 Just Hatched

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    Mar 22, 2017
    Hi there. I don't have any advice, because we just ordered that very coop! We too, will have 10 hens in it, 9 regular size and 1 banty. From what I've read, the pen should give ample space for each hen. Equal to 100 square feet, plus roosting bars and plenty of flyspace.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. chickiemama912

    chickiemama912 Just Hatched

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    Actually, my husband and I have been talking about it, and we're going to go with a plastic Suncast yard shed and attach a huge dog kennel to it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. MrsMopar

    MrsMopar Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2017
    I will check out that shed. Did you decide on it because it's bigger? Chicken math will strike and i will need to add on! I haven't found them yet, but I'm thinking that i should be able to buy additional panels to expand my run.

    I'm moving the chicks to the garage this weekend. The brooders will go with them, but I'll leave the brooder doors open and put the whole mess into a dog pen set up in the garage with a tarp over the top. I'm not quite ready to move them to the coop yet. I have 2 little runts I'm a little concerned about. I'll have to use cardboard up the sides a bit to keep the little ones in. As much as i love having them in my home, I'm ready to be done with dust and dander.
     
  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My only concern with this coop (which I think I've seen posted on here before) is that the actual coop is on the small side. Looking at their link they don't seem to have the actual coop measurements listed?

    The run is enough for 10 chickens. Since you said the meat birds will be gone before the layers move in, it should be enough for your layers. I'm just wondering if that's a 40 sq ft coop attached to it and from the looks of it, I'm guessing it might not be. You might want to contact the manufacturer for more information to be sure of the coop size, as I'd hate to see anyone drop 1k on a coop to find that it's smaller than expected.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Stiyu

    Stiyu Just Hatched

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    I happen to have this coop/pen and over all it works out great. It is however too small for more than 12 to 14 chickens. The coop part is a pain to piece together but worth while. I got mine from tractorsupply and had it shipped straight to the house. Unfortunately there was some damage to a few of the bars and parts of the pen but I did not mind. The wood is EXTREMELY thin and easily busted if not careful when putting it together.

    Over all I give it a 7.5 out of a 10. With 20 or so chickens however, you will need more space especially if they are mostly egg layers. Ducks do great in it as well.

    The Coop is 5' wide, 7' tall. It is actually smaller then you may think but is still roomy enough for egg layers. Again not something you want if you have more than maybe 12 to 14 egg layers. I will be sure to get some pictures of it up soon.
     
  7. MrsMopar

    MrsMopar Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2017
    Thank you all so much! For those who might find themselves in my shoes ... here's the diary of a new chicken mom. (I gathered eggs once when I was a child - and that is literally my only chicken experience. How & why did I get started? Who knows!?)

    I decided to go with the Producer's Pride Defender Coop. I have zero experience with chickens, so I was afraid my efforts at building or transforming a coop would be a mess. (I'm only a few weeks into it, and I've already got lots of ideas for my next coop.) LOL

    Mine was put together when I bought it (whew). I've painted the inside of the coop white. Actually, I used a rubberized roof coating, and it cleans up pretty nice. I line the floor of the whole thing with feed sacks, put the plastic trays on top of them, and I use hay as bedding. (We have an abundance of hay...I've read pros and cons. It's free. I tried it. It works nicely for me so far.) Roof coating plus feed sacks plus plastic trays on the biggest portion of the floor ... I think I've protected that horrible substance they call wood about as much as I can.

    I set the coop on a horse stall mat. This gives them a protected area underneath the coop (outside) where they can go when it's wet or chilly. I may add hay or leaves under there when it gets cold. It's also a great place for the big grit feeder. The small metal cans that I purchased at TSC fit perfectly in the storage area. I have 2 of them for feed and 1 for grit. And there's a little leftover room for a small broom and dustpan, scraper, first aid kit, apple cider vinegar, DE, etc.

    I haven't blocked the nests (or whatever they're called, where we want the hens to eventually lay their eggs) -- and I hope I don't live to regret that decision. But this gave the smaller birds a place to sleep until they were ready to roost. I clean the coop out completely each week - which is super easy to do. There's a little smell by the end of the week, but I haven't had to battle flies or bugs. I do not provide food or water inside the coop. I keep the vent open all the time. I close the door at night. I have no electricity or light or heat inside.

    I'm in Missouri, and the recent rains challenged me. We got over 7" in less than a week, but the chickens went outside everyday. Some days more than others - but they all wandered out at least a little. I have tarps over the top of the run, and I added another one to cover most of 2 sides to prevent blowing rain. It still got muddy in their run, but I didn't have standing water. The tarps are doing their job and holding up well, but I'll probably try tin when it's time to replace the ones on top. If I can leave an overhang, it should prevent a lot more of the water. There was a little water inside the coop, but it all drained into the bottom of the plastic trays - and it all could have fit into an 8oz cup. (And that was 2 weeks' worth - I couldn't find enough time between the rains to clean one weekend.) Overall, I was pleasantly surprised.

    I've got all 23 chickens in there now. (Born approx March 1, so they're pretty good sized.) They are roosting fine at night, but they're getting frisky in their little run. When I'm home and let them out to wander the yard all afternoon, they do much better. To make the run better for them, I leave the coop door open and I've added a 12' board that goes across the whole run that they love to use as a perch. I've tried to buy additional panels to increase the run size, but they aren't available. :( I'm mulling ideas in my head of ways to increase the run size without it looking hokey. I've hung pvc feeders to the sides (very easy to do with they way they are designed), and I've hung the waterer from the wire top. I LOVE the fact that I can take my chair inside the run and sit with the birds while they sit on my lap and snack from my hands. I would never, ever want I run that I couldn't sit in. (When my babies were little, my pediatrician told me to spoil myself and hold my babies as much as I could ... and I did. That's pretty much been my experience with these crazy birds, too.)

    My next step is to get my husband to reinforce the whole thing and put it on large wheels. Yep - he thinks he'll be able to convert it into a tractor for me. They will LOVE not having to wait for the weekend to enjoy all the fresh grass! But the reinforcement will be a serious upgrade. Probably should have started from something different, especially for a tractor - but I just couldn't get my head around starting from scratch since I had NO experience to base anything on.

    And then there is the unthinkable ... it will be time to put my boys in the freezer. If I've read correctly, this will happen around the middle of July. Honestly, I'd like to move them out a lot sooner, but I've no place for them right now. I had no idea that they'd get so big so fast. No one has lost feathers to the point of dealing with bald spots, but I've got a couple of boys who are making things a little miserable. When I caught one dancing for the girls this weekend, I decided that they were just awkwardly trying to get the girls' attention, and once they dance it'll be better - and I've read that they can be a little brutal until everyone gets things figured out. But the boys are turning on each other a little, too. It's not horrible - but it sure sounds like the dickens at times. I don't know if I'm right or wrong, but I've decided that it's because their run is getting too cramped. They don't have near the problems when they're not limited to their run.

    Once the boys are in the freezer, I'll be down to 10 birds (mostly hens, but I can't tell which is which), and I think they'll probably do fine once I figure a way to move them around the yard. Of my 23 birds, 13 are McMurray's "frying pan specials" - and they are the only white birds I have - so I know they're roosters. And some of them are crowing for me. So stinking cute! My mixed-colored birds are suppose to be hens. Whatever mixed-colored roosters I end up with, I'll keep unless they turn mean. Right now, all my mixed-colored birds are very sweet - and my ornery white boys are mostly adorable.

    Oh - except that one of my white boys is the runt. I separated him three times when he was tiny because he was so weak that I didn't think he'd make it. He loved being with the others so much, that I couldn't keep him isolated for more than 24 hours at a time. But the last time I took him out of his separation box, I literally set my alarm so I could hopefully wake up before the chickens and get his lifeless body out before things got hectic. But he lived. And once he gets his tail feathers, he'll be almost as big as some of the others. I really don't know whether I'll be able to put him in the freezer. Oh, and there are stories about each one. I refuse to name the boys. I just refuse. And I keep telling myself that it would be extremely stupid to buy another setup for the crazy boys, when they will just be worthless if not in my freezer. ugh

    For a newbie who reads this site like it's a chicken bible, this coop seems to be fine. It's not the best, and certainly not the least expensive - but it's fine. With my 26 birds which arrived around March 3 (23 within 3 days)....I started with them all in 1 large wire dog kennel covered in cardboard around the bottom and the rest with chicken wire ... in my dining room. I may never have them in my dining room again - but I don't regret doing this for the first time. It allowed me to keep a super close eye on them ... and this new chicken mom needed that. Then I added a second kennel and separated most of my white boys. Then I moved them all to my garage into a wire fence thing that's made for taking puppies outside. I first lined the floor with heavy plastic. I added cardboard around the bottom and chicken wire across the top. Of course, I kept flakes on the floor of all these areas. Somewhere on here I described how I first lined the kennels with many, many layers of blank newsprint ... which made cleaning them a SNAP. From the garage, I moved them to the coop. I could have skipped the move to the garage (or started in the garage instead of the dining room) if I had gotten them a month later or if I hadn't been scared of the cold ground.

    And I've learned that their favorite snack is bread, with hard boiled eggs running a very close second. Warm cooked eggs or warm oatmeal was my favorite to give them on cold mornings. They tolerate toast, and they like noodles. Tomatoes and peppers and strawberries are okay. Watermelon is lots of fun on a hot afternoon - with no waste. But they hate fish guts and heads. Aldi's has eggs so cheap - my husband is really not understanding why I'm buying dozens of eggs to feed to the chickens we bought for fresh eggs. I know ... I know ... but I do it anyway.

    Time to go shut their door. What fun!
     
  8. MrsMopar

    MrsMopar Out Of The Brooder

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    WARNING:
    I went out this morning to find all my birds out...out of the coop AND out of the run! Everything was locked....what in the world? When i went around back, i found it. They managed to pop out the ventilation window. It easily popped back into place, but i thought i should let you know. I also found muddy prints where something tried (unsuccessfully) to open the back door (where eggs are gathered from). A coon maybe? They managed to scratch things up pretty good, and they pulled off a hunk of wood, but they didn't get in. All of this during a night of terrible storms! What an eventful night they had.

    Before more storms hit tonight I'll be securing the window with screws and reinforcing the doors. Scary to know that something is after them.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017

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