Starting from scratch

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by ddeiss, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. ddeiss

    ddeiss In the Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2019
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    Hi all,

    I don't have any chickens yet, but hope to find a good coop plan for a small flock of maybe 6-8 laying hens....thinking maybe a large chicken tractor. I've never had chickens before, so I am trying to absorb all the knowledge I can prior to getting them so I am properly prepared. Not real concerned about egg production, although that will be a nice bonus. Just looking forward to having them as pets. :love

    We currently have a dog and 4 house cats. Our dog completely ignores the sandhill cranes who frequent our yard, so I'm hoping she won't be too interested in the chickens. We will closely monitor that, of course.

    Thanks in advance for all the information I'm sure I will gain from all of you.

    DD
     
  2. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

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    Howdy! :frow Welcome to our FUNomenal community! :celebrateBest wishes and have lots of fun! :wee
     
  3. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    Hello, DD, and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.
    Have you looked at the coop pages under the Articles tab?
     
  4. ddeiss

    ddeiss In the Brooder

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    Yes, thank you! I was just looking at those...so many great ideas!
     
  5. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    I know. It's tough to make a decision. I recommend reading a lot of articles, taking notes about what works in what areas and what tends not to, then start reading posts in the Coops & Run Forum. You'll find something. Oh, and don't forget to consider a shed to coop conversion! I'm in the middle of one of those myself.
     
  6. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Cyprinus carpio

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    Welcome to BYC! We're glad you decided to join our wonderful community! :welcome
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    Welcome to BYC! Do you have any pictures of your dog and your cats, I would love to see them.
     
  8. ddeiss

    ddeiss In the Brooder

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    Nowthen, MN
    Here's the crew!
    IMG_0321.jpg IMG_1737.jpg
     
  9. CindyinSD

    CindyinSD Crowing

    What’s the weather like where you live? You can add your approximate location to your profile if you like. It will help folks to answer your questions.

    A chicken tractor is fine if you’re in warm country. If you have harsh winters, you may want something more substantial.

    Also, you need to keep in mind how much space your girls will need. If you have hard winters you’ll need more than you would if you live in, say, Texas where the hens can be out most days and basically use the coop as a bedroom and storm shelter.

    Personally, I built a fancy little coop and ended up moving my whole flock to the emptied tool shed, racing against a blizzard. I realized that, while the coop was nominally big enough, it was too small to be snowbound in without the danger of going bonkers. The shed has sliding doors. Don’t buy a shed with sliding doors if you can help it. I’m always cleaning out the tracks.

    43D1CC61-F685-45FC-9B76-889734DBA878.jpeg

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    Assuming 4 sq ft per bird, the minimum size of a coop for 8 hens would be 32 sq ft. That’s really small, imo, but you could make it work. I would go double at the very least, but maybe you live someplace where they still do summer. Taller is better, and don’t forget ventilation and light (skylight, windows if you can).

    You’re also going to want to consider roost space. The standard is about a foot per bird. Mine use about half that. But then it’s been winter almost their whole lives so far. On hot summer nights they might want the whole 12”. Higher roosts are more desirable, so the boss hens will commandeer those. Roosts should be higher than nesting boxes, but don’t stress about it. Two by four lumber, broad side up, makes good roosts. The chickens can sit on their feet and avoid frostbite.

    Read the posts here about coops. It’s worth studying. Look up deep litter, nesting boxes, roosts (use the search function). You’ll find lots.
     
  10. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Crossing the Road

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    Welcome :welcome Glad you decided to join us :thumbsup Love your cats and dog! Have 4 cats and 2 dogs.... one dog is good with the chickens, the other one ‘needs work’ . He is a rescue and I’ve only had him for a little over 5 months, 4 of those were hectic with surgery and chemo. Chicken training will be our summer project :) Good luck with your new chicken adventure!!
     
    sourland, ddeiss, DobieLover and 6 others like this.

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