1. CritterHill

    CritterHill Songster

    Feb 3, 2008
    SE PA
    Just want a sanity check before we start construction in earnest.

    Here is my plan. A dozen chickens (is that too many to start? We have fox, raccoons, hawks so I wanted a bunch so the kids don't get too attached if we lose one or two to predation...)

    8x8 shed (DH is building from scratch) with a human door and a chicken door. One window plus air spaces (screened with strong wire) near the top where the roof raises a bit above the walls for ventilation.

    Approximately 10x25 fenced run. Wire laid out flat a few feet out outside the run to discourage digging predators (soil is so rocky and bouldery that sinking the fence a foot into the soil is nearly impossible)

    Chickens would be allowed into the run during the day when we were at work and locked up in the coop at night. We would allow them to free range in the yard if we were out with them.

    We are in the woods so it is pretty shaded. I know we have to provide roosts and nest boxes, waterers and feeders...

    What am I missing?
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Almost the exact situation I started with myself. 8x8 coop and 10 chickens, then added a rooster, added 12' to the coop, which is now 20' long, added more coops, etc, you get the idea, LOL. My run was exactly that size, but is now twice as wide to match the extra long coop. Laid out wire at bottom for same reason, too. Sounds like my own chicken saga, wooded area and all! Now, I own lots more chickens and a separate small Blue Orpington breeding flock and will add some dark egg layers, etc, this spring. You'll be adding on, trust me, LOL.
    We have the same predators as you, we free range during the day when we're home and lock them up tight at night. No predator losses yet in the couple years we've had them. See the story of my original coop here, with several pages of construction photos: https://www.backyardchickens.com/coops/clutch-hutch/index.php
  3. raindrop

    raindrop Songster

    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    Sounds great to me. Similar to what I do, same predators. I think your plans are quite sane!
  4. Gonzo the Great

    Gonzo the Great Songster

    Jan 14, 2008
    Sugar Land, TX
    I'm no professional to determine sanity...but I play one at work!

    Sounds like an excellent plan! I'm done with my tractor for 10 straight run chicks, waiting to find out which ones are keepers and which will be flavoring my stockpot.
  5. CritterHill

    CritterHill Songster

    Feb 3, 2008
    SE PA
    Thanks everyone! Random internet strangers say I'm sane, it must be true! [​IMG]

    My only concern is that the coop will be somewhat far from the house, so running electric out there will be a bear. I am going to try to get through the first winter with no electric (maybe run an emergency extension cord out if it gets bad).

    Hope we can cope with no electric out there though. I'm in south east Pennsylvania (near Morgantown) so we don't get crazy cold, but we do freeze.
  6. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground

    The only thing I'd add is a cute suggestion I read somewhere - put a window (it doesn't have to open, just a piece of glass) down low for the girls to look out of. I guess they really like to check things outside - I forget where I saw it, but the girls really enjoyed their own at-their-level view.

    I'm going to build soon, too, probably an 8x10, although I'm allowed 10x12 without a permit, I'm trying to decide. I'd like to start with 12-15 birds.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Sounds good. I'd advocate building in more ventilation than described -- you quite likely will need it, and it is far far easier to build it in initially and then close it off at times you don't need it, than it is to get to next August or February and find yourself pushed to the reluctant conclusion that it's time to get out the reciprocating saw [​IMG]

    Also, your run will be covered on top as well, with a strong wire, not just chickenwire, yes?

    Have fun [​IMG],

  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Ann, build as large as you can get away with without a permit. You'll be adding to your flock, I can almost promise you, LOL.
    Pat, good point about ventilation. I have it across that entire front of the coop at the top and it can be closed off in sections as I see fit and opened full open or just a bit. Plus, there are three windows, all of which open, and on the back of the original 8x8 part, one of those screened bsmt vent inserts that has a lever to push it open, that's about 12" x 8", I think. If I had it to do over, I'd have put two of those rather than one on the back. I still have plans to add one in the coop addition, although the 12' addition has much larger vents then even the original.
  9. CritterHill

    CritterHill Songster

    Feb 3, 2008
    SE PA
    Point taken about the ventilation. Thanks.

    Pat - So what type of fencing would you recommend for the top? And if chicken wire isn't strong enough for the top, would it be strong enough for the run? Should I be using something else?

    SpeckledHen - I read through the link you posted. Quite a few good ideas in there, thanks.
  10. airmom1c05

    airmom1c05 Songster

    Feb 3, 2008
    Raymond, Mississippi
    Chicken wire is NOT strong enough to keep predators out. If you can afford it, 1/2 hardware cloth is recommended on many sites. Right now I have economy 18 gauge wire with 3"x2" openings, but I plan to purchase enough hardware cloth to go up at least 5 ft. and turn out at the bottom 1 ft, then cover with dirt. I'm just leery of predators reaching through the openings and hurting my flock. Any strong wire top should be sufficient.

    I also have to provide more ventalation soon as the summers in Mississippi are very hot and humid. It is true that it will be harder now than if it had been done when the tin house was constructed 25 years ago BC (Before Chickens)! I need to replace my fixed window with one that will open and close and I plan to add a turbine vent in the roof. I don't have a chicken door....yet. I have a people door that opens into the pen/yard. It stays open from sunup to sundown. Once the window on the opposite wall is replaced with one that I can open, I should get pretty good cross ventilation. For now, with the cooler temps here, the wide open door provides enough that I never have ammonia smells, but I bet the heat this summer will change that if I don't have cross ventilation. Best wishes for a very joyful chicken experience.

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