Starting my School flock

Ndubchickens

Hatching
May 22, 2015
6
1
9
Hey, I'm interested in bringing chickens into my school. The bylaws in my town permit chickens and we thought it would be a great idea to have them at our school. But first we have to sort some things out. So I thought I should come here to look for advice.
I live in B.C. In the Vancouver area and I'm hoping that the chickens will fare well in this climate. But I have some concerns.
First would we be able to leave them in the free range pens for the weekend. They will be in a shelterd area where it will be hard for predetors to get them so they should be safe. Or do we need someone to check on them daily ( egg collection and other care) also how much time would we need to spend cleaning, feeding, watering, and general care. And finally what would be the price range for 5ish hens ( feed, scratch, emergencies and others ) it would be great help to get some info from the experts to get this project off the ground.
 

keesmom

Free Ranging
12 Years
Jul 28, 2008
10,710
4,644
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First thought is who will take care of these birds during vacations and over the summer? Who will be locking them up every night?


First would we be able to leave them in the free range pens for the weekend. They will be in a shelterd area where it will be hard for predetors to get them so they should be safe.

What do you mean by free range pens? Don't count on it being predator proof because it's sheltered. Unless you have a hardware cloth fully enclosed run predators can get at them. They can be very determined. You may want to research what predators are in your area. Here there are hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, fishers, mink, weasels, raccoons, and opossums.


Or do we need someone to check on them daily ( egg collection and other care) also how much time would we need to spend cleaning, feeding, watering, and general care. And finally what would be the price range for 5ish hens ( feed, scratch, emergencies and others ) it would be great help to get some info from the experts to get this project off the ground.

Who will be paying for feed and other supplies? The cost of the hens and supplies will be minimal compared to building a secure coop and run.
 

Ndubchickens

Hatching
May 22, 2015
6
1
9
For the school breaks we would be able to get the members of the club to come twice daily to feed, clean, collect eggs and let them in/ out of the coop. During the summer break we have talked to the local petting zoo about being able to look after them until school starts again.
For school days we can get a student to let them out in the morning and get them in after school. The helpers for the special needs students have expressed interest in helping us take care of them for a good learning experience for their kids.

They will be in a area completely surrounded in building and the only entry points are through the school and one big chain link fence. And the coop and run will be built in consideration to this. We will try and make it the most predator proof possible. We can try to build a big hardware cloth fence and reinforce it with other fencing. I know that we have coyotes and raccoons but not too much else that I have yet to discover. But I will get to work researching what to protect them from.

We are hoping to get a grant form several places interested in this project so that we can feed them yearly and have some money on the side for emergencies. As for the building of the coop we have a great carpentry program at our school who just build us a new fenced off 14 bed cedar garden. In the program the grade 12 students have to draft and create a project so we were hoping to suggest this to them. By combining our forces we can build a coop lower on cost and to our specifications so it can properly protect them from our kinda cold very rainy and something's hot environment.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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I also question the advisability of live animals being kept on a 'school schedule'.
They really need care and 'supervision' daily, 7 days a week., by people who know what to look for and how to handle problems if needed.

I'd budget about $1000-1500US for building the coop and run.
You'll need to make it absolutely predator proof 24/7, chickens don't really get put away 'after school', they go to roost at sunset.
Tho they can be 'trained' to go into the coop anytime with food, you'd need a bigger coop if they spend more time in it.

Depending on how you manage the manure, it only takes maybe 15-30 minutes at most twice a day to care for them.

Make sure they have plenty of space and ventilation, it will make for more healthy chickens and much easier daily maintenance.
There are 2 articles linked in my signature about space and ventilation that should be required reading for any aspiring chicken keeper.
 

keesmom

Free Ranging
12 Years
Jul 28, 2008
10,710
4,644
531
MA
For school days we can get a student to let them out in the morning and get them in after school. The helpers for the special needs students have expressed interest in helping us take care of them for a good learning experience for their kids.
As aart stated, chickens go to roost at night. Trying to get them in before then will involve a lot of chasing.


They will be in a area completely surrounded in building and the only entry points are through the school and one big chain link fence. And the coop and run will be built in consideration to this. We will try and make it the most predator proof possible. We can try to build a big hardware cloth fence and reinforce it with other fencing. I know that we have coyotes and raccoons but not too much else that I have yet to discover. But I will get to work researching what to protect them from.

You need a securely covered run. As someone who has lost more chickens to aerial predators over the past 15 years than any other critter, trust me. In fact we lost 3 one month old birds to a goshawk today, and I just finished patching up a 4th. They were in a temporary run covered in fencing (not hardware cloth). The hawk got through anyway. Add to that a loss of a free ranger to a fox this AM. Remember everything likes a chicken dinner.


Make sure they have plenty of space and ventilation, it will make for more healthy chickens and much easier daily maintenance.
There are 2 articles linked in my signature about space and ventilation that should be required reading for any aspiring chicken keeper.
Read aart's articles on space and ventilation in coops. Both are extremely important and aart knows his stuff.
 

Ndubchickens

Hatching
May 22, 2015
6
1
9
Thanks for all the help. We are trying to get it the most people possible to help out with this project. If we have enough we can always have people coming by to check on them. I only live a few minutes from my school so it wouldn't be hard for me to come by and check on them whenever.

I will show the builders of the coop the space and ventilation articles and then we can build a coop that will adequately provide for the amount of birds we are planning to get.

The other possibility for our birds other then on the ground is to put them on the roof of the school ( that's where our bees are. But they wouldn't be too close to them so no harm would come to them from the bees) There they will be protected from coyotes and raccoons. We have spaces that are sheltered on the roof that may provide protection from flying predators. I'm sure we could find some way to grass up there. But that is only one possibility. We may be building a new school soon and if we get this coop set up we could request a special place for the birds and then we could expand our flock. But that's all in the future.
 

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