Seeking chicken run location feedback...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Curlita, May 23, 2008.

  1. Curlita

    Curlita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I'm about to embark on my chicken adventure and need some feedback/information/opinions...

    I'm having a coop constructed by a fellow here in Seattle and it looks like it will be nice and secure. I'm planning to locate the coop and run at the end of our house, which is bounded on one side by the house and on two other sides by the fence. I'll frame in and screen the remaining side.

    In the center of this area is a tree, so the space is fairly shady, doesn't get direct sun, and doesn't really grow grass (although it might foster some impressive weeds now that I've raked all the leaves out of the area). The area is 14' x 9' and I'm planning on 4 chickens. One days when we are all out of the house (3 days a week) they wil be in the run, but when someone is home they will free range.

    Do they need a lawn/grass in their run, or will damp earth be okay? Or can I give the run a layer of straw to frolic in?

    Does the coop need to get direct sun to keep it warm enough in winter?

    Would there be a problem with keeping the compost bin in with the chickens, in their run?

    Should I cover the top of the run with chicken wire? I was planning to do this, but am a little flummoxed with how to deal with the tree. My thought was to build some kind of frame around the tree trunk and staple the chicken wire to it somehow...

    My husband is not fond of the idea of chickens in general, so the location was chosen mainly because it keeps the chickens close to water and the compost bins, while not locating them in the middle of the yard. It also lets me take advantage of existing fences and walls.

    Thanks for your input!
     
  2. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    Whatever grass you have will be gone in short order! As far as the top goes, I have bird netting that is very pliable so the tree shouldnt be a problem. Just wrap it around however it will fit. Hope this helps!
     
  3. Curlita

    Curlita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    That's kind of what I figured about the grass.... is bird netting pretty widely available at feed and/or hardware stores?

    Thanks!
     
  4. mradam

    mradam Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2008
    Eastern Missouri
    Does the coop need to get direct sun to keep it warm enough in winter?

    Although it would probably be better to have sun on your coop in the winter, as long as the INSIDE of the coop is insulated/warm enough at night they should be fine.

    Would there be a problem with keeping the compost bin in with the chickens, in their run?

    Depends on if the chickens will be able to get to the compost or not. If they can they will have it spread around the entire run within a few days. It would be difficult to keep your compost piled up if they can get to it. I don't see any danger to them by keeping it there though.

    And ditto what spatcher said about the grass... your run will be void of grass very quickly. If you want to keep the floor covered with some straw or somehting you can. Just throw a bail in there, cut the strings, and let them spread it out. I'll love it.

    Good luck on your adventure!

    Adam​
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  5. Curlita

    Curlita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Great, great information! Thanks!

    The compost is stored securely in tubs, but I've realized that if I scale the run back a bit, I can keep the compost just outside it and still have 20 square feet of run per chicken.

    I may prune back the tree a bit to see if I can get a little more light in there, as well. My husband will be thrilled to see a sudden interest in battling the vegetation.
     

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