Trying to get started but just got a curve ball!

MicheleCarelock

In the Brooder
Jan 6, 2016
15
0
22
My husband and I live on a tight budget so getting started raising chickens was already going to put a strain on us financially, and then my 20 year old car broke down so now we have a hefty car payment every month. I know chickens aren't expensive to keep, but they are expensive to start keeping. We had already planned on making the coop mostly from scrap wood and scrap tin, but we still have to buy the wood for framing the structure. We also still have to buy posts and wire. Not to mention getting the babies set up with their temporary brooder. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to cut costs and things I can hold off on without potentially harming the babies? I still really want to get started, but I don't know if it's possible :-(.
 
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chickengirl1029

Hatching
Jan 14, 2016
4
0
7
Sedalia, Colorado
Have you gottne the chickens already because one way to cut cost would be to not get as many chickens. There will always be a cheaper price but you just can't go with out good insulation or they won't lay for you in these cold months. If you haven't gotten the chicks yet I would suggest waiting till summer so that way you won't have to buy a bunch of special stuff for them to get through the winter. So I think you should hold off till summer so that way they will have those warmer months to mature.
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MicheleCarelock

In the Brooder
Jan 6, 2016
15
0
22
Have you gottne the chickens already because one way to cut cost would be to not get as many chickens. There will always be a cheaper price but you just can't go with out good insulation or they won't lay for you in these cold months. If you haven't gotten the chicks yet I would suggest waiting till summer so that way you won't have to buy a bunch of special stuff for them to get through the winter. So I think you should hold off till summer so that way they will have those warmer months to mature.:cd :jumpy

I don't have them yet. I hadn't planned on getting them untill the end of next month or so depending of when exactly the farmers and feed stores around here start selling them again. Luckily I live in the deep south where it don't get very cold. I thing the coldest it's gotten this winter is the low 30s or height 20s and that's been just a few nights. It mostly stays a good bit higher than that. During the day it even gets warm as long as you don't stand in the wind.
 
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User395221

Crowing
Jan 3, 2016
3,611
4,108
361
My Coop
My Coop
Where do you live? I'm in a city and people are always putting things up for free in the classified ads. You could put up a "wanted" ad to see if anybody has building materials or a shed they don't want and would give to you. People (here) often have bits of stuff around that they don't use and don't want, but haven't gotten around to advertising for sale/giveaway. You might be surprised at what you can find.
 

Skeeter10

In the Brooder
Oct 29, 2015
80
1
41
Where do you live? I'm in a city and people are always putting things up for free in the classified ads. You could put up a "wanted" ad to see if anybody has building materials or a shed they don't want and would give to you. People (here) often have bits of stuff around that they don't use and don't want, but haven't gotten around to advertising for sale/giveaway. You might be surprised at what you can find.
ik what u mean my cousins neighbor got a bunch of tin because he was going to build a shed but decided not to and my cousin was wanting to reside his garage and he asked if he could have the tin and he gave it to him for nothing at all
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,589
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
Since you don't live in a truly cold climate like I do (I'm in Northern Wyoming not far from Yellowstone Park) maybe a hoop coop is the answer for you. Inexpensive to build, easy to enlarge, fast and easy going up, and sturdy, sturdy, sturdy! We have a wood shed coop for ours, but we made their run out of cattle panels covered in chicken wire. In winter we just cover it with clear plastic to keep them dry and out of the wind and it's always warmer in there than it is in the coop. Cattle panels are cheap, available at any feed store, and aside from it taking two people to handle them, so easy to work with. My coop isn't insulated or heated, I don't use supplemental lighting, and my girls are giving me an average of 9 - 13 eggs a day. They have slowed down this winter but I'll take 9-13 eggs! I have 21 chickens out there. Pullets often lay well through their first winter. It's my older girls who take the winter off, and that's fine with me.

You'll also need 8 steel fence posts - you pound them 4 on a side into the ground. Then arch the chicken wire covered cattle panels between them and wire them into place. Only 3 cattle panels gives you a space of 12' x 8' or so, depending on how close together you arch them. The only wood you'll need is for the people door going in, unless you opt to put together a plywood shelter for them for nest boxes, etc. Close the other end off with another cattle panel cut to fit. We also put a hardware cloth skirt up the sides about 2 feet, folded it outward at the bottom and extended it out another 2 feet or so, and secured it to the ground with landscape fabric staples. Grass grows right up through it and you can even see it, but predators can't dig under. When we decided to enlarge the run last summer, all we had to do was take off the end, add two more fence posts and one more covered cattle panel, put the end back on and we were done.

Ours has easily stood up to 60+ mph winds, snow, and still looks and functions great! If you click on My Coop under my name, and scroll down past the building of the coop, you can see how we did the cattle panel run. The beauty of starting this way means that when you do get the funds to build a more substantial coop, you can still use the cattle panel pen as a run - just add a pop door that goes from the coop to the run.


By adding a temporary plywood shelter to the inside you could put in nest boxes and a roost.


We cover ours with landscape fabric in the summer for shade. Breezes go right through, and water runs off. The lattice isn't necessary - we just put up for the "purty factor."


Adding another cattle panel to make it longer.


The end piece taken off for expansion. Notice the chicken wire upper part and the hardware cloth skirt and apron.


Inside the run. Nice and bright in there and I had chicks in the brooder pen, visible to the left. It was in the teens and twenties.


No issue with weather, either.

I'm not trying to talk you into anything here except to think outside the box when it comes to building a coop - we were on such a tight budget building our setup that we chose a cattle panel run just because it was so inexpensive. We are also older (65 and 68) and I'm partially disabled, so it had to be easy to construct and maintain.
 

Percheron chick

Crowing
8 Years
Apr 12, 2013
4,653
3,148
391
Hudson, Colorado
You can also find hens for free to $10 on CL. Spending $60 for 6 laying hens will save you money over raising them yourself. It costs close to $20 each to get a pullet to point of lay not including the cost of the brooder.
 

MicheleCarelock

In the Brooder
Jan 6, 2016
15
0
22
Where do you live?  I'm in a city and people are always putting things up for free in the classified ads.  You could put up a "wanted" ad to see if anybody has building materials or a shed they don't want and would give to you.  People (here) often have bits of stuff around that they don't use and don't want, but haven't gotten around to advertising for sale/giveaway.  You might be surprised at what you can find.  

We live in the country right next to one of those "you blink and you miss it" little towns. There are plenty of old fallen buildings that I plan to ask about. The biggest concern I have is the fencing. Even if we have to buy the wood to frame it it's not going to be that bad. It will take a lot of good fence. The dog's that roam around like to dig and kill chickens.
 

Hholly

Songster
Jul 3, 2015
1,332
242
206
Amo, IN
Sometimes you can find cheap fencing and dog kennels on Craigslist. I've even seen free hens on there before. Do a search on here for DIY coops, feeders, waterers, etc. Lots of great ideas are on this site.
 
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