Small Suburban Coop and Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RaeEllen, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. RaeEllen

    RaeEllen New Egg

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    Mar 25, 2015
    Atlanta
    We live on a semi-secluded, suburban plot with a great corner of our yard that's woodsy and abuts city land (i.e. no neighbors on that side or in the back). It has an old, approxamately 150 sq ft dog pen already built in the far corner that we'd love to convert into a run for 2-3 chickens.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on conversion in order to create something very low impact (visually), yet safe and functional? We've researched city, county, and neighborhood association rules, and, we are technically OK with our location and plans (unless, via association rules, someone really insists the flock is a commercial enterprise rather than pets or declares it a nuisance, or the modificatons we make to the pen make it appear to be a completely new structure - the coop size is small enough that we don't need special approval) We think our best approach is to keep things small, low key and visually work into the woodsy background.

    That being said! From my research, I was thinking a 12 square foot coop would be fine for 2-3 birds. Is there any prebuilt source that's made of natural materials and is extremely plain and functional? Also, I'm concerned about converting the run. Right now, it's wooden fencing, about three feet high, covered with wire mesh and ivy. It's a pretty attractive structure and we hope to keep it that way! We can replace the existing chicken wire, (and regrow the ivy) and bury some but is there a minimum safe height? Do we need a cover? I'd like it to be a safe space for the chickens to spend the day, there are definitely hawks and owls in the area. What I can't imagine is creating an entire enclosed structure of mesh, but perhaps there's no alternative if I need something safe and reasonable to keep tidy?

    Finally, and this might be a bit outside the range of this sub-forum, but does breed play into the type of space we need? We were thinking Barred Rocks and/or Orpingtons.
     
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Pics might be helpful so people can get a better idea of what you're looking at converting.

    There are plenty of places that sell little coops for 2-4 birds. It really all depends on how much you want to spend and how much work you want to do (fully assembled, kit, etc.). There are probably people selling on your local craigslist, too.

    Orps tend to be LARGE chickens, so they definitely need room, but 150 square feet of run space should be more than adequate. Whether or not you need a cover on the run is really up to you. If the coop is SECURE and you're going to be DILIGENT about locking it every night, you can probably have an open top. But 3' high will not keep dogs, foxes, raccoons, etc. out and it certainly won't deter hawks.
     
  3. RachelEllen

    RachelEllen Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2015
    Whoops! Messed up my registration, so I had to create a new account. But, it's me.
    Thank you for the advise.

    Here is a picture of the pen from the street:

    [​IMG]

    It actually looks closer in real life. We are doing some landscaping, and all that dirt will either be grass or mulched beds with greenery. The fence and pen really fades into the background, you can't even see the wire. So, basically, as lovely as they are, I don't want to stick a bright, red chalet coop in there. I'm actually having some trouble finding either a prebuild or kit coop (I'm not up to building from scratch) that's right for 2-3 chickens, not bigger, that looks solid and "finished" but not ornate.

    As far as the pen itself:

    [​IMG]

    This is what I'm dealing with. I'm definitely going to redo the wire - it's over a decade old and not secure. We were also planning remove the pine straw and spread some mulch.

    But, I'm not sure if I can create a safe daytime space for the chickens without a cover. Are there any options for that that won't dramatically change the looks of the pen? And that allow me to get in there on a weekly basis to really clean? I'd really want to let them out during the daylight hours, but we aren't there all day to watch. The only other option that occurred to me was a portable run inside the dog run, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having such a nice space for them.
     
  4. RachelEllen

    RachelEllen Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2015
    Oh, and I'm a bit confused by your last paragraph. (I confuse easily) We are excellent pet owners, so yes, the coop will be totally secure, well maintained, and the birds will be diligently locked in each night. Are the risks you mention just less likely during the day?
     
  5. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Yes. Except for hawks And loose dogs. Most of the really nasty stuff I see mentioned happens under cover of darkness. I just know that I had to have a secure run because I leave for work before dawn and am not always home to lock them up at dusk.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    southern Michigan
    Welcome! That fence is cute but won't keep your birds safe. My run is eight feet high and covered in woven wire, with hardware cloth, and a concrete base, and a wire cover. Predators will show up! Electrified poultry netting outside of your existing fencing will keep land predators out, but not deter hawks. Thinking ahead, how about a redone playhouse or garden shed? Bigger is always better, and tall enough to walk in is much better. Mary
     

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