Safeguarding a Front-Yard Coop and Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by calista, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. calista

    calista Songster

    Jan 27, 2010
    I'm interested in seeing some pictures and hearing about the experiences of chicken keepers who built a fixed FRONT yard coop -- not a mobile chicken tractor. This would mean it could be behind a fence or not, but that it's visible to passersby.

    A friend of mine on an acre in the country outside a small town with no ordinances against keeping poultry wants to put her eight birds in a wire enclosure with a small coop in the front yard accessible by both foot and auto traffic. She is proud of her small flock and wants to "show them off" to the neighborhood.

    What kind of "attractive nuisance" would this be to children and thieves? What should she be doing to safeguard a front-yard flock if she wants to do it that way?

    Personally, I think she should house them in her back yard, but maybe someone has done this successfully the way she has it now. Thanks!
  2. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    We are on an acre or so with enclosed front yard, but it is old cattle fencing. We have 40+ chickens free ranging around a fixed coop and a rolling garden cart coop- the chickens and the coops can be seen from the road & driveway, but a person would have to climb the cattle fence (not hard) or go through a small wooden gate to get to them. We sell eggs to neighbors, so I like that people can see the 'happy free ranging chickens'. We do have people from time to time stop cars and watch them & and take photos (sometimes they ask to take photos, sometimes they don't). We have (knock on wood) not had any problems with people harassing the chicken. The attractive nuisance concept I think more applies to things that look fun, but could hurt/maim/kill people- like swimming pools, trampolines ect. I suppose if she had an aggressive rooster and an easy access coop- an unsupervised kid could get hurt. I think the biggest risk with a front yard coop- if it is truly easy access might be theft of eggs or chickens- but it would really depend on the area she lives in and how much traffic the road gets. In many rural areas- the traffic on the roads consist of neighbors who are unlikely (hopefully) to steal from the friend... but if is a side street from the small town main street and 90% of the town drives by the chickens---- the risk would go up.

    My experience with easy access to the public chicken keeping has been close to 100% positive. Met lots of neighbors, sold more eggs, got some people hooked on chickens, got some free cute photos of my own birds. My only negative would be with dogs of neighbors- my kind of fencing does not keep out the occasional escaped neighbor hood dog & we have had some problems there- but coop location does not play a role here, it is my poor fencing.

    If she wants to try out her set up in the front yard- she should and see how it goes, but I would caution her not to do it this way if she does not want to talk to neighbors and strangers every day that will see them and ask about them. OR if she has known bad seed kids around the area that she thinks will be a problem. I would build a coop that could be moved with *relative* ease, if the front yard coop idea does not work out well- ie no concrete foundation, build with screws not nails, don't attach it to an immovable object- like the side of the house, don't bury the wire 3' under the ground... I would recommend having the ability to lock the pen & if the egg door is accessible from the outside of the coop- be able to lock that too- especially if the coop is really close to the street/road/sidewalk. Access to eggs from the side walk would be very tempting to certain youth....
  3. RoeDylanda

    RoeDylanda Songster

    Dec 9, 2010
    Central CT
    My coop will be in the front yard (March chicks [​IMG] ) but I have a deep and narrow lot. Also, the front half was originally excavated for the foundation but failed the perc tests so the original owner moved the house to the very back of the lot. I think we'll be safe because the 3/4 dug-out foundation and long driveway are not at all inviting, and the coop will be at the edge of the front lawn maybe 40 feet from the house. I think thieves would be put off to be so close to the house and the kids in my neighborhood are so excited about the chicken plan that I expect they'll guard the coop, not annoy the chickens!
  4. Cargo

    Cargo Songster

    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    Good fences are a must for sure.
  5. calista

    calista Songster

    Jan 27, 2010
    Thanks for the great input! I will be sharing this with my friend, who's not into Internet forums or I'm sure she'd be posting here with a proud picture of her flock. [​IMG]

    Let's say she wanted to post a couple of signs on that fence for public viewing. Would the standard "No Trespassing" or "Do Not Enter" be enough? Should she run this idea past her homeowner's insurance?

    I sure miss the old days when none of this stuff was necessary and you entered a private yard for whatever reason at your own risk. [​IMG]
  6. libertychicken

    libertychicken In the Brooder

    I've been interested lately in the topic of "emotional signage", which is in some ways just a fancy term for being both polite and common sense. In your friend's circumstance, I think a "No Trespassing" sign in the front yard is both necessary and yet still somehow a little rude - so maybe a sign saying something like"Please enjoy looking at the chickens but refrain from approaching them on our property - they are "chicken" of strangers!" or a funny "Attack chickens - look but don't touch!" would be better. The signs could be hand painted similar to the coop - could be quite a cute little design project. And the invitation to view will help the neighbors to feel like they have an "ownership" in the chickens, which can help guard against vandalism/theft from non-neighbors.

    As a comparison, a local neighbor has - or had - a huge concrete pig in her front yard that she would dress up for each holiday. By letting us all enjoy the decorations we all felt a sense of belonging to the fun - and thus when the pig was stolen, the whole neighborhood went on the alert for the thieves. No sign of it yet, but if a clue turns up you can bet we will all be on it!

    Don't contact homeowner's insurance about it - as long as it's allowed in her town, there is no need to let the insurance company have any idea that you think it *might* be a risk.
  7. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Songster

    Quote:Here is a great edible gardening video with a permanent coop in the front yard. It is 2/3 of the way through the video before they get to the coop and how the neighborhood has reacted to it. For anyone else into edible landscaping and backyard orchards, there are more informative videos like it by Dave Wilson Nursery on youtube.
  8. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    Quote:This seems like a good reason to have a game camera for video surveillance or other security video. Be sure to comply with any signs required by law.

    Speaking of signs, if this were Texas a No Trespassing sign or a Private Property sign or a purple stripe of a certain size and location on the fence would be necessary. If the front yard is not fenced in, I would not consider it at all.
  9. BoldogKennel

    BoldogKennel Songster

    Jan 29, 2010
    Washington State
    I agree: if there is not a good fence around it, forget it!

    People are so rude! They let their dogs run at large and sure as hell, some husky is going to tear right into that pen and eat those poor birds. When a dog goes up to a pen, the birds freak, which triggers prey drive, and, well, dogs are predators, so they are doing just as they should.

    The only other thing would be to run hot wire around. That works great to train neighbor dogs that the neighbors won't keep confined to their property.
  10. i think your friend has a charming idea, and hopefully she lives in a nice area with friendly people. Personally, i would not house my chickens, or anything i really cared about, in such an exposed area. You can't predict what every person passing by is like, and i think the temptation would be too great for someone of shady character to take advantage of the situation. Even with a relatively secure coop, it would probably be easy for a thief or crafty teenager to break in and cause harm or steal the chickens. Like libertychicken's neighbor's concrete pig, i would think it would just be a matter of time before someone plotted some evil deed.

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