Raising Hens in the City - Help Please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 4theloveofhens, May 26, 2010.

  1. 4theloveofhens

    4theloveofhens Songster

    May 26, 2010
    I am a college student in Fort Collins, CO looking to have some hens. I have been raised around chickens (just a few every so often) so I do know some things about them. I checked with the city municipal codes and found we can have as many as six hens in residential areas. So, I ordered 4 chicks: Cochin, Rhode Island Red, and two other popular laying breeds that the guy said he'd order for me. The chics are finally supposed to be here this week, and I was planning on having them inside my apartment until they can be moved out to there coop. But, being a newbie at raising chickens in a residential area and having to BUILD a coop instead of them just roaming with the goats in a pen like they did at my parents house, I have a few questions if anyone could please answer.

    How soon can chicks be moved outside into a coop if it has a lamp?

    I am worried about the coop building. My boyfriend and I thought we had the coop all planned out but reading this forum, I see so many extravagant coops that I simply cannot afford (or will have space for). I will be living in a condo/townhome/duplex that will have a fenced in yard so the chickens can "roam" when I am home during the day to supervise (we have raccoons, fox, and lots of stray cats in the neighborhood). I was planning on building an A frame chicken coop that would be 4 feet squared for inside the coop and 8 feet by 4 feet for the run, similar to this link (sorry new so not sure how to post pictures): http://www.chickencoops.co.nz/images/photos/a-frame-hen-house-hero.jpg

    Is this too small? I just cannot spend a lot of money on building, but I want to have a good home for my girls. The more I'm thinking about it, the more I'm wondering if this sort of coop would be a better (probably more expensive, choice: http://s4.hubimg.com/u/1484087_f496.jpg

    I hope the links work but if not, the second one is a coop that is sort of on stilts and the run is below the coop with a ramp leading "upstairs".

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    Sorry, I meant a four feet by four feet for the house.
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  2. ParrotsNPullets

    ParrotsNPullets Songster

    Jun 8, 2009
    Upstate New York
    Are these Bantam (miniature) birds or standard sized? 4sqft for 4 large fowl gals is not nearly enough room inside the coop, especially during the winter when they may spend weeks to a couple of months inside. 2sqft per bird is the minimum for bantams with a large run. There are a lot of efficient coops on this website's coop page that get some decent square footage without being hugely expensive or well, huge. [​IMG]

    For our bantam coop we're making it 5' tall with a 2nd floor (open-loft style) which functions to give us some more square footage in a limited footprint and it also makes the nesting area a little more secluded & comfortable. I wish I had pics to show you.

    Congratulations on your new gals and best of luck on your coop construction. Like I said browse the coop section and you're bound to see some good ideas to help you save some money but also give the girls a little more room! [​IMG]


    I just saw how large you are making the run and realized you probably meant your coop will be 4'x4' not 4sqft. If that's the case then 16sqft would be plenty of room for your gals!
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  3. the first link is fine for what you have in mind But I have learned the best coop is the one you build out of your own mind look at others for ideas but build your own (those coop in the pictures are called tractors in case you wanted to get ideas.

    If you allow them to roam in a town house I would check with the land owner first because of the fact that chickens can trash a yard and you need to reseed when they free range.

    For all the predotors you have be sure that what ever you decide to build you use hardware cloth for the fencing it is a bit pricey but cheaper then replacing the chicks in the long run.

    Now how to upload pictures here
    1. Go to Uploads at the top of the page and click on it.
    2. It will take you to the page "upload image"
    3. Upload your picture
    4. It will show you the picture you just uploaded
    5. Below the picture you just uploaded it will have two bars of code 1 will say THUMB: and 1 will say IMAGE: Click and copy the code for Image.
    6. Place it in the text line of the post (it won't show until you submit it)
    7. There you go you have just uploaded the picture you wanted into the post.

    Good work [​IMG]

    I hope this helped congrats on the fuzzy butts and have fun they are a joy to have around besides they give you fresh eggs so
    Good luck to you
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    [​IMG] Welcome! [​IMG]:frow Glad you are here! [​IMG]

    First of all, the chickens don't care what it looks like or how cute it is. You may have some issues with your neighbors since you arein a residential area, but don't worry too much as far as what it looks like for the chickens sake.

    I put my chicks in the coop from day 1. If you can keep them out of drafts and keep the heat in a portion of it where it needs to be, they will do fine. I had the temperature under the lamp in the 90 to 95*F range, but a far corner of the brooder was 70*F. The first couple of days they pretty much stayed under the lamp, but by the third day, they were roaming all over the brooder, coming back to warm up when they needed to.

    In your circumstances, I suggest 4 square feet per chicken in the coop. You might get by with less, but you are taking a chance. You can probably get by with the run you are talking about if you have sufficient space in the coop. I'd suggest covering the run with a solid roof. This will help keep your run dry, which will really help keep the smell down and allow them to get outside in the winter when you get snow.

    Either coop should work. The raised one has the benefit that it is probably easier to clean. The main thing is to keep it dry, especially from the smell aspect. A droppings board with regular cleaning could be a huge benefit for you too. You need to decide how you will manage the poop. If you cannot compost it yourself, you can maybe advertise on Craigslist and find a garderer that will haul it away for you. Craigslist may be a good place for you to find a coop or coop building materials too.

    This link may help you.

    How to post pictures/avatar

    Good luck!!!
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yes, browse the small coops section for simple coops w/runs built in. Ridgerunner nailed it; your chickens couldn't care less how cute or pretty the coop is, as long as it provides solid shelter, has proper ventilation, and isn't cramped...and as long as fresh water and feed are provided. It's kind of like decorating a beautiful nursery for a new baby; the baby doesn't give a hoot; it's all for the parents...lol. However, if you share a yard w/someone else, then they may not like walking out and stepping in chicken poo... If they won't be out much, 10 sq. ft. per chicken would be better for a run, if you can manage it. 5 x 8 for a run is really doable, especially if you built the housing into half of it, but elevated so that they can use the space under it.
    If you're sitting outside each day for an hour or two watching four chickens, they most likely will do minimal damage to the yard. Search Craigs List and check resale stores like Habitat for Humanity and such for cheaper materials.
  6. 4theloveofhens

    4theloveofhens Songster

    May 26, 2010
    How much damage are we talking here? I had originally thought to make the coop so it could move around the yard, but if I'm just destroying portions of the yard by moving their coop around then perhaps I'll just keep the coop in one spot and they can destroy a patch instead of the whole entire yard. I'm just picturing a grass yard just being dirt when the chickens are let out to roam. Is this what I should be worried about?
  7. 4theloveofhens

    4theloveofhens Songster

    May 26, 2010
    Quote:Where is this section? [​IMG]
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    As for how much damage 4 chickens will do to a yard in a tractor, probably not too much if you move it daily. But that can become a hassle...
    Go to the top of your screen and look for Coop Designs. Coops are listed by size (includes a tractor section too).
  9. The damage they will cause when free ranging is over time my buddy had a great looking yard and he let his 25 free range on his acre of land they would roost at night in the coop but he would let them out in the morning now he has a dirt yard which he did reseed this year and 25 no longer allowed to free range However he did but another acre and built them a massive run and coop.
  10. ColoradoMike

    ColoradoMike Songster

    Jun 12, 2009
    Northern Colorado
    Quote:Welcome to BYC! I'm also in Fort Fun and have been keeping hens for one year.

    Regarding the tractor concept, I personally would never want to move the thing every day, so we went with a fixed coop/run situation and are able to let the brids out when we're home and sorta keeping an eye on them.

    Also, you WILL get foxs around your coop. We probably have two or three fox visits per week, if not nightly, so plan accordingly. This means, protect against digging - we've had a few instances where a fox has dug ~1 foot to try and get in. We buried our perimeter fencing 20", so we have fended off these attempts. Also, I know we have raccoons in the neighborhood, but if they've tried to get in, they've left no calling card... I can only surmise that the apartment dumpsters in the area are an easier target for the 'coons than our coop...

    Good luck!

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