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So many chickens, so little space - Insight?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chickenpatty84, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. Chickenpatty84

    Chickenpatty84 Out Of The Brooder

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    SE Louisiana
    Hey everyone, need some assistance with a coop dilemma.

    So the amount of chickens that we have coming our way is a tad daunting: 18 is the final count. My original plan was to build two chicken tractors out of PVC or CPVC with a sturdy wooden base and having 9 in each one. With the square footage recommendations on this site, that would make it around a 12x5, give or take. After speaking it over with my wife, she wants only one tractor. This, however, would come out to be something like 20 feet by 10 feet, way too big for what I'm looking for. If that's the case, I'll just build a coop and fence in a huge run for them. The amount of land I'm working with becomes a problem though. With what amounts to approximately one acre of developed land, it's going to be difficult to have that much space dedicated to chickens as well as the other things we want later on down the road (goats, big vegetable garden, flower garden, a garage, additions). Until I address the other forested acre, I'm kind of stuck.

    So my question is this. Would it be better to have two tractors or one non-moveable coop and forego that extra land at the moment. She says that I wouldn't really need to have a specific run, just make a fence surrounding the property. Yet, how would you deal with predators, or the chickens not coming when called, or them laying eggs everywhere but the hen house? My desire for a tractor centers on the fact that I can rotate where the chickens eat, thus making it easier to eliminate them tearing up more grass than I want.

    Any insight?

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Welcome to BYC :)

    Maybe you just need fewer chickens. Hard as it may sound, it can be a great relief to cut back to the number of birds you have the resources, time and space to reasonably house.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  3. Chickenpatty84

    Chickenpatty84 Out Of The Brooder

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    1muttsfan,

    Thanks for the soeedy reply. I agree 18 is a lot, however my wife is a stay at home mom and says she is confident she will be able to provide a good environment for the flock, even at the cost of other things like goats and such, and that's saying something. Something else we had talked about was perhaps making a fenced-in, stationary coop area, then making like a detachable run or two that they can stay in while grazing. The run(s) will be able to attach to the coop fencing on several sides when not in use, like at night. This will theoretically provide them with a large enough coop with a stationary/detachable run when needed. Thoughts?

    Thanks.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    central Wisconsin
    I personally would do the one coop or shed for everyone, with a smaller run or poultry netting with the option to free range, you should have a sturdy coop and a sturdy adequate run so in case they need to be locked up due to predators, I think it's easier to let the chickens go where they want instead of taking them around in tractors that are usually a bit lax in protection from determined predators.

    We free range, my LF have no run, my Bantam have a nice run which I lock up at night to keep them safe.
     
  5. DiamondFrazieur

    DiamondFrazieur Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 30, 2015
    North Carolina 28310
    I would do a stationary coop (predator proof) with a moveable run. Place your coop centered in your garden and rotate your run around your coop as a part of your crop rotation plan.
    That's what I'm building. My chickens are going to work for me and we'll all be happier for it. chickens and crops both need to be rotated. :)
     
  6. Chickenpatty84

    Chickenpatty84 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 14, 2015
    SE Louisiana
    Oldhenlikesdogs,

    Just to clarify and paint a better picture for me. You're suggesting I build a solid, stationary coop but with a large physical run attached to it correct? You wouldn't build the coop with a detachable run? And I understand what free range means, but are you also suggesting to have some sort of door leading out of the large run that would allow the flock to graze on the rest of the land, not just the land inside the run?

    Thanks.
     
  7. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Most people find that it is best to have a solid, stationary coop with a permanent attached run, as it is at times advantageous to shut the birds in, either for their safety (such at night or when predators are an issue) or when having birds out and about is not convenient (when you are away from home, inclement weather, big family party). you could easily do a few small movable tractors so that the birds could scratch around without eating all your garden plants, or they can be allowed to range free in your yard; just put a door in the run that you can open to let them out. A coop should provide about 4 square feet of floor space per bird, so 18 birds requires a fairly substantial building.
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    central Wisconsin
    yes, that's what I have, if a predator starts coming around, you can tell because a chicken will go missing, I lock mine back into their sturdy run until I can deal with the predator. And you can let them free range whenever it's convenient to you, but you will be happy to have somewhere you can confine them in if necessary, that's not just a coop.

    [​IMG]

    This is my Bantam run, they can come and go as they please unless I close off access which I do at night because something was going in and taking them, I leave my pophole to the coop open because I'm a late riser.
     
  9. Chickenpatty84

    Chickenpatty84 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for that. I'm starting to lean to the stationary coop with a moveable or semi-moveable run. As far as the space needed for the coop, I agree; when it rivals the size of the average apartment in NYC, substantial is the word I'd use.

    Thanks for the info.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  10. Chickenpatty84

    Chickenpatty84 Out Of The Brooder

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    SE Louisiana

    Oldhenlikesdogs,

    Thanks for the info and the picture. Much appreciated. It helps visualize what it is that I want to do. So you leave your coop and run open during the day so they can choose to stay in the coop, the run, or free range - barring any predators - correct? That seems ideal. Question though, and excuse my ignorance, but when you do have to lock them up in the coop or the run, how do you get them to go in there? It seems it could get pretty interesting trying to put them in one at a time while they're all running around. Sounds like a computer game you'd play at work when you're bored.

    Thanks.
     

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