starting out - Silkies

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AmandaJaneW, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. AmandaJaneW

    AmandaJaneW New Egg

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    Nov 2, 2015
    Hi there,
    I thought I had already posted this, but I cant find my post anywhere, so apologies for duplication.

    OK so my 9 year old daughter and I are thinking of getting a chicken coop for our small back yard.

    This one:

    http://www.inthemarket.ie/acorn-chicken-coop/

    We want to keep 2-3 silkie hens as pets (eggs would be nice but not necessary - will be used more as a bargaining tool to get Himself on board).

    Our yard is small, but has 3 raised beds that are around 4' x4' each where I would put the coop and run. The beds are made of railway sleepers and step down towards the kitchen. There are old stone walls, a dwarf willow, bamboo, and a few plants that the snails and slugs have not got to yet. I have a builder who can adapt the coop/run to allow for the step down, and perhaps put the perches a bit higher (is this necessary - I'd like to avoid poop in nesting boxes)?

    Its Ireland so the area is damp, as is the whole country, but the willow tree makes that area a bit drier.

    Looking at this site, I think my best bet is to set the beds up for "deep litter" now (actually we have a lot of leaves, so I think the beds are already more than half way there - will add bags of pine needles after xmas, and install the coop after Xmas, and get the chicks in springtime.

    I need to know if it would still attract flies/be smelly. The coop would be around 2 metres from the kitchen door. We looked after a friends 2 guinea pigs for a couple of weeks - would the smell and poop be something similar?

    We have a geriatric basset hound. He is gentle and friendly to other animals - not aggressive and cannot be bothered to chase anything. He is lying on my feet snoring at present. When I teach piano, he sings along with the music. His presence keeps the neighbourhood cats away. There are definitely urban foxes in the area, but I have never seen one in the immediate vicinity. The chickens could free range in the garden while we are around to supervise, but there are a lot of cats in the area so I wouldn't leave them unsupervised. I work from home and the children are home around 2-3pm.

    We are responsible pet owners. I don't want to keep any pet in a miserable state. The reason we are looking at chickens is because I am not keen on keeping caged guinea pigs or rabbits or budgies (its cruel), but my sweet animal-mad girl would love a small pet to cuddle. I got the feeling the guinea pigs did not like being picked up to cuddle.

    This is my master-plan so far.

    Please could you pick any holes in it and add any bits of advice (including telling me if this is not a good plan and I should not have chickens in such a small area), or any tips on how to get the builder to make the coop more fox-proof.

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    xxAmanda
     
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. Cheep N Peep

    Cheep N Peep Chillin' With My Peeps

    The coop is very cute, and looks better built than 80% of what else is out there on the market. But beware: It will be more expensive than a coop built from re purposed materials, and chicken math will strike. Just imagine all the little chicks at the farm supply store laughing maniacally after you walk past on your way to buy chicken food- they know you can't resist their fuzzy butts and tiny toes! You are in their fluffy clutches! The coop you plan on buying will make a happy home for two or three silkies, but there won't be room for more.
    It looks like you did your research and are not expecting to fit five or six standard birds in there. [​IMG] If you thumb through the pictures, one of them gives you the dimensions. It looks like the coop space (not including the nesting boxes or run) is a little less than 3' x 2 ', enough room for your three bantam hens. :) And can I get a thumbs up for doing the conversions? I had to get out a ruler! [​IMG]

    nschls school is right about the perching thing- silkies tend to sleep on the floor. They might have trouble climbing the ladder, also, so be ready to build a longer one with more steps if the need so arises. And yes, seramas are a lot smaller than any other bantam, in fact they are the smallest breed, period. They need (and correct me here, if I am mistaken) only a single square foot ( 30 centimeters by 30 centimeters) of indoor space compared to the two square feet of an average bantam, but of course any extra room is always better. You could have five seramas in your acorn coop. However, I don't know if they need supplemental heat in the winter...?
     
  4. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2015
    Good point that I forgot to mention. From what I read they do need supplemental heat in the winter. This will be my first winter with serama, but to me it does not matter. I've always heated my coop.
     
  5. AmandaJaneW

    AmandaJaneW New Egg

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    Nov 2, 2015
    thank you for your help!
    I spoke to a bantam breeder this morning to find out about both breeds - we can go and have a look in February. He breeds white silkies and seramas. He seems to be the only serama breeder in these parts (please tell me they only come in the one size - he has bigger chickens too)...
    I can ask the builder to make a longer wider ramp, which might be more suitable if we still do the 2 silkie hen (not 3 as its not big enough) plan. I would also need to ask him to build another ramp so they can access the lower beds. If we go with the seramas, I am presuming they can handle ladders and steps but will I need to clip their wings?
    What kind of heat would I need? We have electricity in the garden that we could extend, but something that generates a lot of heat (like a tumble drier) needs a lot more wire/hardware than a strong light bulb... Having said that, the tumble drier is in a shed to the far end of the raised beds. We could do have a winter coop against the shed wall that would be warmed by the tumble drier (which operates daily in the winter) and I could hook up a heat lamp too without having to extend and bury the power supply, and connect both coops with a run.
    I have heard awful stories about chickens getting burnt on heat lamps and also bad stuff about foxes. Is it worth putting an apron around the coop too?
    I was also wondering about stapling some oil cloth over the outdoor part of the run (to keep them drier) - was thinking this would make the run more shower proof for silkies but perhaps this would not be needed for Seramas.

    Peep n Cheep thanks so much for doing the maths for the inside of the coop - from the pics, it looks like the roosts are really low down, so perhaps silkies might like them?
     
  6. AmandaJaneW

    AmandaJaneW New Egg

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    Nov 2, 2015
    Ooooh I just reread your reply - I could squeeze in 3 silkies or 4-5 seramas... yay!
     
  7. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2015
    Serama do come in different sizes, but all are small. The sizes are different in grams and ounces, so size differences are slight.
     
  8. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. Cheep N Peep

    Cheep N Peep Chillin' With My Peeps

    I like the way you type my name! :) Happy to help. Tell us what you end up doing!
     

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