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  1. oceansideangora

    oceansideangora New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2013
    I am thinking of adding a few chickens to the homestead. They would be living in the following environment, underneath my rabbit cages:

    The area is 8X32 or about, a little wider in places. My cages are all hung with the tops 4' above the ground, and are covered with PVC roofing panels. The sides are 6' tall cedar, or else 12' tall privet trees.

    I am thinking a couple hens could live in there really comfortably. I have room for a night coop/nest boxes on one side where there is an edge of the porch. The area isn't covered, except about 80% of it is cages (so fairly water proof). When it rains there are puddles here and there, but since we are on sand, it drains quickly.

    Obviously the chickens would eat the spilled grain/hay/fly larvae whatever underneath the cages. The aisles between each cage bank is only 2-2.5 feet wide, so I am not sure they could fly on top, but even if they do, they can't poop into the cages since they're covered.

    I am mainly thinking about it, because my compost heap is a failure, we simply have too many wild critters who pick through it. Yes, I would lock them up at night, but in reality, the entire setup is directly off of my back porch, and my bed is 15 feet away from it. It's also lit with a floodlight all night. Anything that touches them, the dogs or cats are going to hear. I am thinking that maybe it'd work to basically change to chicken composters underneath the rabbit cages.

    [FONT=Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif]My question is, does anyone see a problem with this plan? Would they basically do what I wanted with the composting? I normally clean out underneath the cages once a month, during good weather every other week. With that large of an area and only a few chickens, do I need to worry about how hot the compost is?[/FONT]

    [FONT=Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif]The night coop would be located on an edge of my porch. It is 24 inches wide, and about a foot off the ground. The porch is treated wood, and I would cover it with hay or shavings. 2 sides would be the house, and 2 sides I would have to construct. I have a bunch of 6 inch boards that I am thinking would make good siding with a 2X2 construction. I am wondering though about making the floor wire underneath the roost - or should I make it solid and just use a deep litter system? How large should it be for 6 birds who would only be locked in it at night? Also, do I need to put food and water in there at night? [/FONT]

    We don't eat eggs, we're primarily vegan, we do cook with a few, and I have a neighbor who would love them. I am thinking 3 hens max, and large girls, better to till up the garden with in the winter time.
     
  2. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 22, 2012
    Pictures would help...
     
  3. oceansideangora

    oceansideangora New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2013
    I will take some better ones tomorrow, been nothing but rain! Here though are a couple.

    [​IMG]

    This is the outside of the fenced area showing the location next to the screened porch.

    [​IMG]
    Here is the inside. Before chickens go in, alongside the fence will be another bank of cages like this. It opens up, where the porch is, and the coop would be up there. I will get a picture of that corner tomorrow.
     
  4. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2012
    south central Texas
    I am no expert, but if you can cover the top with sun screen or hardware cloth, I think it'd work.great. just put down some next box and maybe a small ladder to roost on. And if you covered it they would need a night coop.
     
  5. chickenchacha

    chickenchacha Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Main thing is to lock them up tight at night even if they're close to the house... "everything loves chicken" is our motto.
     
  6. oceansideangora

    oceansideangora New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2013
    If I lock them up at night do I need to cover it? Do they need food and water in the area with them at night? I'd love to make the coop out of things I have on hand, I happen to be frugal that way :). I have a couple of 2X4 sheets of plywood hanging out, and some PVC roofing that I could use. Is 2' tall enough, or does it need to be closer to 3?
     
  7. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2012
    south central Texas
    If you lock them up, you "should" be predator safe. Some provide in the coop, some don't. I do not. I'm inthe middle of introducing new chickens, so I removed food/water so no one fights.

    When you're talking about height, a lot of chicken tractors aren't but knee high, so two-3 ft high is enough height for either the run or the coop.
     
  8. oceansideangora

    oceansideangora New Egg

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    Jan 17, 2013
    Sounds good, that all helps a lot. Since I sleep about 20 feet away from the run, and the rabbits would throw a fit I am not too worried about predators. I may string a hot wire along the top of the entire thing though to keep something from climbing in. Considering the $$ value of the rabbits that has been in the back of my mind anyway.
     
  9. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2012
    south central Texas
    Oh hot wire might work! If you haven't had a problem with preds with the rabbits, you may not with the chickens.
     

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