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Really dumb newbie question - sorry!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PouleChick, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. PouleChick

    PouleChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry this is probably the dumbest question ever[​IMG] but I can't seem to find the answer to it (or could be I don't quite get the terminology- again feeling so dumb and newbie here!)! I'm trying to finalise the plans for my coop / run / outdoor run (not sure if these are the right terms) and work out if I have enough space etc etc. I keep reading that I need 4 ft2 per bird in the coop and 10 ft2 in the run (this means nothing to me so my first step is always to convert to real money [​IMG] ). The coop I'm planning has the inside hen house bit raised over part of a concrete base (existing in the house we have bought [​IMG]2 x 2.2 metres - which is 4.4 m2 which I've just converted to feet and that is 6 .5 feet x 7 and a bit feet and 47.36 feet2). The whole of this will be roofed for protection from the rain and sun (we get little wind here and rarely much snow) and have 1/2 inch hardware mesh stuff over all the sides, window, vents etc. During the day they will have a big run - around 35m2 (325 ft 2) (possibly slightly bigger I'll have to see)that they will be let into each day and eventually a chicken tractor to help me with the gardening or part time free ranging or possibly a 'paddock' system as well.

    My question is what is considered 'coop' and what is considered 'run' when I'm looking at my figures? IE is the whole caboodle of the enclosed bit the 'coop' (at min 4ft2 / bird) or is only the house bit (with roosts and laying boxes) considered to be the coop? And if that is the case is the outdoor over the concrete, enclosed section considered the 'run'? and if so what is the actual outside in the day bit called and what are the figures for that?

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. HennyPenny2

    HennyPenny2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome! It's not a dumb question. [​IMG] Generally the coop is considered the area that they sleep in, nest in and can be locked up at night, it's the "inside" section like their house. The run is generally considered the "outdoor" section usually with the ground as the floor wether dirt or sand, it can be completely enclosed or just fenced with either an open top or hardware or chicken wire over top to protect from predators. Even if you give them other outdoor access you should still follow the coop and run recommendations for sq. footage as you may not always be able to give them extra freedom outside of their run (the one attached to the coop). I hope this makes sense. Maybe others will chime in and give their opinion. You also didn't mention how many birds you are getting or have, and whether or not they are bantams or larger breed chickens which makes a difference on the overall size too. Good luck! [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Nothing more to add - Hennypenny has given it to you in a nutshell [​IMG]

    CT

    oh, there could be - the space recommendations are minimum space requirements so seemingly, as with many things in life - the bigger the better! [​IMG]
     
  4. PouleChick

    PouleChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your speedy replies! I thought I had a decent amount of space but it seems like I need to totally rethink my plans [​IMG]! I was hoping to have 4 standard chickens and 2 silkies. My current plan has a 1.2 x 1 m coop plus nesting boxes so total floor space inside that of a smidge under 1.5m2 so 16 ft2 so not enough. And with the 'run' being 47ft2 so really based on the 'recommendations' I'm just under but I think this would be OK for the 'run' as it would be incredibly rare that they wouldn't be let out as the day run is still attached to the coop - we both work from home so there is always someone around. It is not a problem to increase the size (glad I have sat on my plans for a while - I think I was working on slightly different space figures that I read ages ago to be honest and the dimensions of commercial coops ) of the coop at this stage as I'm using a pallet to for the base so can actually use 2 to double the space. This would mean I can get a couple more birds later if I get the bug - at which point I could extend the covered run section as well (although the extension would have dirt floor rather than the concrete) to make that be enough for the extras.

    We have lovely mild weather really for much of the year. Do I need to shut the pop door between the coop and the totally covered / concrete base (so very safe) at night or just the one to the day run?
     
  5. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Personally i'd close the door just for peace of mind - it can also stop draughts. If it gets light very early during the summer, then leaving the door open and keeping food and water in the concrete base area would be a good option, since your flock can wake and feed without you having to roll out of bed and silly hours.

    CT
     
  6. PouleChick

    PouleChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Ken, this is exactly the scenario I was thinking of, summer nights here are still pretty warm so i don't think they would get too cold and it is light stupid early (in Australia where I'm from we don't have the enormous differences like here!). In the winter I'd shut it for warmth etc. My eldest is up before dawn in winter and we are up just about as the sun is coming up so they can be let out easliy. Also DH likes to build stuff so the plan is to get him to do an automatic door for me [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Right I'm off to redo my plans! I'll post what I have now and then I can get feedback as I'm redesigning!
     
  7. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    You are most welcome again! Sound like you've got it sorted - nice one.

    CT
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    One of the concerns is predator protection. You can get a tremendous amount of debate and some really bad misinformation on here on this subject, but the fact is that many animals are a threat to your chickens. I’m not sure what potential predators you will have in SW France but I assume canines, cats, members of the weasel family, bears, and various birds of prey are among the possibilities. In the US add possum, skunk, and raccoons to that list. Snakes are usually not big enough to threaten a grown hen but eggs and baby chicks can be at risk.

    Many people can and do free range their chickens with little loss, but others are wiped out pretty quickly. No one can give you any guarantees with this, you may be perfectly fine, you may have huge problems.

    There are a lot of different strategies and levels of protection we use. Some of us have experience that it isn’t too bad, some have a fairly high risk tolerance, some have no risk tolerance especially if their chickens are pets. One relatively common strategy is to provide a fairly predator resistant area during the day and locking them in a more predator proof area at night. Regardless of what you may hear or read, practically all predators can and do hunt during the day as well as night. But the risk is normally higher at night. Human activity during the day often discourages critters from coming around then. At night they have more time to do their mischief without being disturbed. Some are actually more active at night. A very common risk in suburbia is a domesticated dog.

    If you consider your run truly predator proof there is nothing stopping you from leaving your door from the coop to the run open all night. But locking the door at night can add another level to your predator protection. It’s a personal choice.
     
  9. PouleChick

    PouleChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, yes we have most of the predators you mention although not weasel type things (I don't think!) nor bears. I think foxes and cats would probably be the biggest threat I'll have, and possibly hawks although where the coop and run is there are a lot of overhead trees for protection and happy to put a net if needed. I am hoping that the run on the coop will be predator proof (I'm trying to plan accordingly) so that I do have the option of leaving them in and knowing they are safe. I'll probably shut it most of the time with perhaps the exception of the very, very hot summer nights.
     
  10. oebantamlover

    oebantamlover New Egg

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    The weasel family member that eats chickens a ton are fisher cats, they are evil little creatures!
     

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