Want to start raising chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jdb1994, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. jdb1994

    jdb1994 New Egg

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    Dec 8, 2012
    Hi everybody, I'm new here and would like some info on a building a coop. I've got my idea and space picked out, but do chickens need access to the ground for pecking and just being chickens, or can they stay in a raised coop? I wanted to build the coop off the ground and make the floors and walls out of chicken wire for ventilation and easy cleaning, with the exception of the nesting boxes. I live in southwest Florida so it's hot here must of the time. Thanx in advance for your suggestions.
     
  2. Nike

    Nike Young&Beautiful

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    My Coop
    They should have room to roam! They're just like any other livestock. They love to find bugs and plants to eat. The wire floor could hurt their feet, I would go with like wood or something. Then of course bedding. Even though you live in Florida, I would have at least three walls that are made out of wood and not wire. That way they'll be protected from drafts. Unless you are building a pen in a barn or something? Is that what you are doing?
     
  3. jdb1994

    jdb1994 New Egg

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    It's gonna have a privacy fence on one side, and open on other three sides, I guess i can fence off the bottom so the chickens can forage around under neath? I was gonna wall off one end where I was gonna build the nesting boxes. What breed is the best egg layer?
     
  4. Nike

    Nike Young&Beautiful

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    My Coop
    I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean you are building one of those little stand up ones? Would they be protected from storms with just one wall?

    Leghorns are good for white eggs. RIR, barred rocks..... those are some good for brown eggs.
     
  5. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What you're building isn't about something to keep chickens in, it's something to keep everything else out. Chickens will stay near home on their own. But they need protection from predators and the elements unless you want to replace them all the time. You'll have much better luck if you build the coop to keep things out. Right off the bat you likely have Raccoon, Opossums, snakes, hawks, and coyote. Fox likely. Bobcats maybe. That means no chicken wire. Chicken wire also let's in mice. You'll lose a lot of feed in an open air coop built with chicken wire. You want to encourage snakes for rodent control, but limit the snakes ability to steal eggs.

    The best thing to use for wire is 1/4 inch welded hardware cloth. Secured with screws and washers. Coons can pop staples if they're the small 1/2 or 3/4 inch. Raccoons only need a 3 inch gap to gain access. Coyote and fox will dig in from the bottom. Or climb the top if it isn't covered. If you have the birds up on wire, chicken wire specifically, a coon can get it's hands through that and grab anything it can reach. If a roost is up against chicken wire, you'll find headless chickens from where a coon got himself to roost height and reached right through that wire for a bird.

    They'll be cooler in the shade with access to the ground, they'll dig down to cooler soil and dust bathe in it. Free range time will reduce your feed bill and make better eggs. Coop space needed when combined with free range is 4 sq feet per bird. If no free range, they'll need an additional 10 sq ft of run space. This avoids bickering, bullying, feather picking, and reduces the odds of egg eating (which can also be nutritional from nothing to eat but feed when cooped up)

    So really, think about what sort of eggs you want, how many birds you want, what predators are in your area, and then decide what sort of coop to build. Also consider the weather. How often does a big storm blow through, and what direction does the wind blow the rain most often? The side the wind comes from should be solid.
     
  6. jdb1994

    jdb1994 New Egg

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    Thank you that's alot of good info, I have every predator u can think of. I guess I thought an open air coop was healthier. The fence is about 8' from the side of my home, so I was gonna build a roof from my house to the fence and then build a coop inside that, so they would have walls in close proximty on three sides and a roof. The fence isnt on my property line it hides my well equipment and a/c on the side of my house, so the space is the shape of a U that I want to build my coop in.
     
  7. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it's that close to the house, you need to check with your insurance company. Some require a distance of 25 or 50 feet. Should the "out building" catch fire, they don't want it catching the house. It would suck terribly if an adjuster came out, saw it, and dropped the policy. Some areas also have a set back for livestock, that would be listed within the ordinances. The insurance setback, to me, is more important than the county/village/city ordinance.

    Sounds like a good plan now so long as you don't get caught in red tape. It can get expensive when you start building, so it's good to make sure that there should be no reason to have to tear it down.
     

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