Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by AnimaliaPrime, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. AnimaliaPrime

    AnimaliaPrime Hatching

    Feb 2, 2015
    Hi, we live in Milwaukee, WI --planning to move to the country (back to the country in my case) in the next couple or few years, but I couldn't wait so when our town (Wauwatosa) passed the chicken law, I wanted chickens!

    We have a tiny backyard, but enough for 3-4 backyard chickens and we have a large vegetable garden that we hope they can help dig out and turn over when they are mature. We plan to have a coop/small run area in a permanent location and build a 'large chicken tractor" run for moving around the yard every day. This will "dock" to their permanent location at night, days when we are gone and in Winter.

    I have decided, after lots of research, to get Easter Eggers (Americaunas) due to their cold hardiness, XL (and pretty) eggs and their docile and friendly temperament.

    I have worked with animals my entire life (see a small bio of me here: www.petpawrade.com) and I've worked with pet birds and have owned a Quaker parrot for over 10 years now, but it's my first time actually owning my own farm animals. I've taken care of other people's, but never had to figure out how to build, bed, feed, etc. on my own.

    My husband is a "city slicker" who wants to be a farmer and he's learning. He's also extremely handy and can build/fix almost anything, but he doesn't want to build a coop from scratch if he can at all avoid it. He is self-employed and already overworked due to keeping his own business running on a budget--by doing everything himself.

    So we are looking at "pre-fab" coops that he might have to customize a bit, but they are all so small! Wauwatosa requires us to have 16 square feet of space per chicken (combined outdoor and indoor space) and most of the pre-fab coops are about 20-30 sq. feet total. Of course, we are building an additional "run", but we were hoping that wouldn't have to be so huge. Oh well.

    Any suggestion on pre-fab coops would be appreciated. We have looked extensively and like the "Pawhut" designs in the larger sizes--the $450-$500 ones. We were hoping to start with something more price economical, but the ones in the $200 range are too small and there is not much in-between.

    I have a couple questions I'm hoping some of you can help with.

    1. Can I use the Deep Litter Method for the runs, or just in the coops? The place we are putting the coop/run is almost entirely bare earth--won't even grow grass because it's next to the garage and under a maple tree). So we don't want "muddy" chickens and I've heard wood chips aren't great. Of course not because those we get free from the city. LOL

    2. I plan on growing my own fodder--probably barley fodder or maybe a mix, to feed them and only supplementing with grain as a "forage" activity for them. Does anyone else do this? I have known people who feed only fodder or other fresh greens/veggies to their chickens and the chickens were/are robust, healthy and their poop doesn't stink at all.

    3. In WI, we apparently have a law that says baby chicks have to be sold in groups of 5 or more. This is interesting, since no municipality allows more than 4 chix per household in the city limits. Not sure how we'll get around that. there are some petting zoos around and I'm thinking we'll either get a couple extra chicks and donate them, or even see if the petting zoo can sell us 4 chicks.

    Thanks, and we look forward to our continuing education on chicken keeping!

  2. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us!
  3. matt44644

    matt44644 Songster

    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan
  4. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    I've never heard of using the deep litter method in the run but I would look further into that. It would depend on your weather and how you plan on building your run. If it gets all wet and soggy in the rain then you shouldn't use the deep litter method unless you want sick, miserable chickens! I would post here for more info on building your run

    I don't use fodder with my chickens but I've heard it is a big success with other chicken owners. I'd go for it!

    What I always recommend to people with chick problems like that is to see if there are other people in your area looking to buy chicks. Then you can order more and split them up.
    Here is a link on finding chicken people near you https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/26/where-am-i-where-are-you

    Hope this helps! Good luck!
  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! There are threads on growing/feeding fodder you might like to check out https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/713334/growing-fodder-for-chickens
    Pre-fab coops are usually expensive and don't hold nearly as many chickens as they advertise, you are usually better off to build one or have one built for you, there are a lot of great coops in the Coops forum, many of them have detailed instructions on building them.
    Like Mountain Peeps said, what you can do with the run will mostly depend on the drainage, you may need to put down a base of sand/gravel first https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/192490/has-anyone-used-wood-chippings-in-their-run/10
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Sometimes people find coops offered on Craig's list, often with chickens included., probably from people that tried and didn't like having birds. Others buy small sheds and add coop features for the birds. Welcome to the flock
  7. cypressdrake

    cypressdrake Songster

    Jul 4, 2012
    Thibodaux, Louisiana.

  8. ChickyChickens

    ChickyChickens Chickening Around

    May 24, 2014
    BYC? Epic <3
    My Coop

    Welcome to BYC!!! There are loads of members on here…so if you have ANY questions…just ASK!!!

    Hope you have loads of fun and all your answers answered here on BYC the BEST CHICKEN KEEPING FORUM on EARTH!!


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