Want to make an inexpensive coop with my kids to keep enough chickens to feed our family of five

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mcmarkrazz, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. mcmarkrazz

    mcmarkrazz New Egg

    Feb 10, 2013
    Just found this great site but still not sure where to start. Just looking for an inexpensive coop to hold 4-5 I am guessing will be enough for our family. Did a lot of search but want to do it right the first time , we have a small fenced in area prob 25 x25 that also has some under deck area.. Might have to close this off as I would think the chicken poop would start to smell under there after awhile. Could build a coop partially under the deck but it's only about 3 ft high or could just make a stand alone coop and the chickens could run in the fenced area when not in the coop.. Also will my cats try to attack the hens?
    If there Is a chance I will have to make a covered area for them I guess.. Anyway any help or easy build plans would be great..thanx all
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    :frow Welocme to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us! :frow

    You don’t understand how hard your question is to give a really good answer. We keep chickens in so many different circumstances, in so many different climates, with different flock make-ups, for different goals, urban or rural, and using so many different management techniques that there is no simple answer that really fits all of us. Add to that a whole lot of things we discuss are really only important to people. In a whole lot of cases, the chickens don’t care nearly as much as the people.

    The easy answer is that cats hardly ever bother grown chickens. They are a risk to young chicks.

    It sounds like you might live in suburbia. Have you checked local laws to see if you can legally keep chickens?

    Your climate will make a big difference in what kind of coop you need. In the southern USA, cold is not your problem, heat is. Even pretty far north cold is not really as much of a problem as a lot of people think. With their down coats, they can handle cold pretty well, but they do need some protection.

    Chickens are not all that hard to keep from a chicken’s perspective. They need feed, water, some protection from the environment and protection from predators. Especially if you are in suburbia, noise and smell might be issues. As long as you keep the coop and run dry, the smell probably won’t be bad at all. But it is real hard to keep a run totally dry when rainy weather sets in. Some members of this forum that live in suburbia work kind of hard to manage that. I’m in the country. That’s not an issue for me, though a wet run can be a dangerous disease ridden run so I do pay attention to it. I just don’t work as hard with it as some people do.

    With them that close to your house, the smell and noise might be a problem. They create a lot of dust too, both from shedding dander and scratching. They create a lot of poop. You may wind up managing that. I compost mine for the garden. I don’t know if that is an option for you.

    I don’t know what that deck is like. Chickens can fly and just jump up pretty high. Your problem may not be under the deck but on top.

    I don’t know what your fence looks like. I’ve had chickens get out of a 5’ high fence. Some people keep them pretty well contained in a 3’ high fence. Whether they want to get out or not depends on their motivation. Some individuals just like to roam.

    A coop does not have to be that expensive. Like I said, the chickens don’t care. A coop needs a roost. That’s dead simple. A tree limb or 2x4 works fine.

    You need nests. I’d suggest two for what you plan. We do a tremendous amount of different things for nests. Some really simple and some people build some really complicated things. If you want a cheap nest, go to a local bakery or deli and get an empty 4 to 5 gallon bucket. They usually give them away for free. Figure out how to put that about a foot off the ground and at a 45 degree angle. Pot some hay, straw, or dried grass clippings in there. A perfect nest.

    They need a way to get from the coop to the run. Make that as simple or complex as you wish.

    You need access to the coop to gather eggs, take care of the chickens, or maybe clean. That’s probably the most complicated part of the whole thing. Whether that is a door you can walk in if the coop is tall enough or something you can raise, slide, or swing if the coop is smaller.

    You need good ventilation, no matter where you are. I get that by having openings under the overhang so it is over their heads when they are sleeping. In warmer climates you still need openings over their heads but it doesn’t matter so much about the breeze hitting them.

    You need to keep the feed dry. That may be in the coop, under the deck or somewhere else.

    There are so many ways to do any of this I can’t get very specific.

    Good luck!
  3. mcmarkrazz

    mcmarkrazz New Egg

    Feb 10, 2013
    Thank you for all the great feedback.
    I live in wisconsin on a lake in the township so chickens shouldnt be a problem but i will check.. i have a vactioin house next door and a 95 year old lady on the other side so i cant see anyone getting anoud with the noise ect. do I need a rooster to get eggs ? wow i need to do some research.lol . the fence we have is a standard metal chainlink fence and worse senerio if a chicken gets out he runs in my yard im guessing till i catch him.or they go for a swim down in the lake..
    I have railings around the deck which i built and is 700sqft so huge underneath area and then grass in fence area. i dont think they can jump up as i even have a baby gate at top of stairs to keep my little one from wondering.
    p.s we do get alot of raccoons around my house ,also muskrats by the water. will these be an issue?
  4. farmergirl99

    farmergirl99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2012
    You do not need a rooster too get eggs. Unless you want the to hatch. Roosters only fertilize the eggs. Raccoons are definitely a problem. They reached in my small hols and grabbed some chicken.. :D Good luck!
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    If you have lots of coon's build your coop very secure, racoons are incredibly strong. Do NOT use chicken wire, use welded wire, hardware cloth, any and all openings should be covered with it. Make sure your birds are secured in their coop at night and that your latches are secure. They will seach for any way to get in and any place that they can rip an opening to get in.

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