1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Would a tractor-type coop be too small?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by grullablue, May 22, 2008.

  1. grullablue

    grullablue Chillin' With My Peeps

    323
    2
    141
    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I have 9 hens, White leghorn type. Not sure on breed, I'm guessing. You can see them on my website, www.glacierridge.com/chickens. They came from my son's kindergarten classroom! My dreams of the coop my husband was going to build have been shattered by the county's zoning permits....the place we want to put it is 3 feet too close to the pond in our backyard (needs to be at least 75 feet away, it's 72 feet, and because of fence lines, we cannot move it back even 3 feet). We have to keep it away from the pond, away from the road, away from lot lines, and there just is no suitable place to put it where we CAN put it. So I think we are giving up. We have considered even giving up the chickens....but I'm researching other options first. To avoid a zoning permit, we have to stay under 32 square feet. But I'm just considering a tractor of some sort....but would something portable like that be too small for our 9 hens? I may even consider downsizing...... We have the studwalls up on the coop my husband was going to build. The skeleton, including the trusses, are up. I'm devistated. But.......not much we can do. We just don't have much to work with here....

    Angie
     
  2. BowChickaBowMow

    BowChickaBowMow Chillin' With My Peeps

    213
    0
    119
    May 16, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    Hi Angie, good luck w/ your decision!

    I believe that 32sq ft is too small for 9 chickens. Coop space should be 4sq ft per bird... and the run space should be 10 sq ft per bird. Though I've seen others mention on here that 6sq ft per bird is sufficient.

    Do you have a garage? Can you build the coop in there?
     
  3. newbiecaroline

    newbiecaroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    395
    1
    141
    Jan 21, 2008
    Alberta
    You didn't mention size of coop...can you make it longer and narrower...so you have the 3' extra required back from pond?
     
  4. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    Is someone coming out to check it after you build it?? Or are you just following the books?
     
  5. newbiecaroline

    newbiecaroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    395
    1
    141
    Jan 21, 2008
    Alberta
    Checked your web site you have a small farm? and have county issues? confused about the space you have...sorry.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    78
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If it's really bugging you, since it is only a matter of literally a few feet, why not apply for a minor zoning variance. At least around here, they're pretty easy to get unless you have neighbors that just plain loathe you. Although I believe up here there is a couple hundred dollar fee. You might look into it at least.

    FWIW, I would not worry too awful much about 9 chickens in a 32 ft sq structure (if that's what you have to do) because you can ADD ANOTHER 32 ft sq structure as a porch or atrium as long as it is not physically connected to the first. So, put it on the downwind side and make the roosting chamber roof overhang the porch one by a bit, and have them physically unconnected. Presto, more space [​IMG] While there may be some places where the building inspector would frown at you, it's generally ok in the places I've lived and know about.

    A tractor will only really work if your land is flat. (For some styles of tractors it can be slightly sloping but still has to be un-bumpy un-dippy un-rolling... however, this requires you to have a relatively low flat tractor, and they may not provide enough good warm dry interior space for climates with serious winter).

    Take a 10' piece of good straight lumber out in the back yard, and see how many places there are where you can put it and not have a gap of more than 4" or so anywhere along its length.

    It would take a *big* tractor to house 9 hens. I know leghorns are a bit smaller but I gather they are also a bit on the feistier, more active side.

    Personally I would not try to do it in a tractor less than about 8x10, which may be hard to find flat enough land for, and which it may be hard to design a warm-enough tractor (that is still light enough to move) if you're in a wintery area. This is not meant as discouragement at all -- my point is just that you will have to think it through very carefully and see whether and HOW you will be able to do it.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  7. grullablue

    grullablue Chillin' With My Peeps

    323
    2
    141
    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Yes, we have a small farm, however we only have so much space to work with. I don't want it in a pasture, because animals rub their butts on things and tear it up (know from experience!). We have a nice area between the barn and the road....nice and flat. But. Too close to the road. We have this nice flat area I want to put it. But. Too close to the pond. The entire back yard is nothing but hills and rock walls. The side yards as well. The front yard is hilly in spots...the only flat area is right in front of the house, where I don't want it. Not right in front of the house. Really, to see our place....we don't have a lot to work with that's not already taken up by hills, rock walls, barn, pastures...something. What is useable, isn't according to zoning laws. We have to go by the book because he WOULD come back out and check. I know he would. He's been here 3 times now. We never called him out. He started showing up when we started building it.

    I've walked my yard, scoping every last piece of area for a place to put this thing. Somewhere handy....I want to be able to SEE them....hear them....and of course need to care for them every day. I don't want them way off somewhere...I want them nearby. This guy suggested putting them out in the pasture. Yeah, it's flat. Nice open area. But.....I also think of, if we were to ever go somewhere....I often throw large squarebales out for the horses, and have someone come take care of our smaller animals. I woudlnt' want someone to have to walk out with the big horses to care for the chickens....who might not be comfortable with big horses. I'm trying to think this through....ugh. This guy has been my worst nightmare!

    So, the run doesn't count...I can make that as large as I want....I thought of making a room in our barn, and cutting them a little door, but our barn is quite small, and we're using every square foot of it already. As most people with small farms, the barn is never big enough.

    I didn't mention....we actually would need to be 13 more feet away to avoid hiring a surveyor. To "prove" it's 75 feet away. Hubby is so fed up with this....a surveyor is not something he wants to do. I do like the idea of two 32 sq ft buildings. There's a way to "get around" it....hmmmm.... I would consider reducing my number of chickens too....have maybe 6 instead of 9.

    I'm just thinking outloud here. I appreciate you all letting me do so. I've been going through posts 100 pages ago on here....scrapping for ideas, trying to come up with a solution. We're frustrated. We were so excited for our chicken barn....I see the "skeleton" of it every day.... (8 x 12). But....we'll probably end up taking it down.

    Back to scouring for ideas....thanks for listening to my rambling. I really should have known a tractor would be too small....

    Angie
     
  8. newbiecaroline

    newbiecaroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    395
    1
    141
    Jan 21, 2008
    Alberta
    Sounds like the barn idea you like? why not add the building onto the barn?
    Oh and thanks for explaining you land situation....that guy must drive by your place to know you were building huh? grr
     
  9. grullablue

    grullablue Chillin' With My Peeps

    323
    2
    141
    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Yes, I was outside (with the chickens actually) one day when he stopped by. We weren't hiding anything....maybe we should have, but my husband had started it right out in the open. (portable type). We didn't think we needed a zoning permit for it,being portable. We don't need a building permit, we knew that. But....we do need a zoning permit, and it's just been a nightmare. I love our place, I really do, but it doesn't allow for much expansion. Because of the woods and pond in our backyard....and the fact that we have about 28 acres, but it's long and narrow, and much of it is woods and water. Very hilly here as well.

    I will update, we'll figure something out, but it's such a disappointment about the plan we did have. It was really fun while it lasted. I just can't seem to find anywhere else to put it. If I had a free corner in the barn....that would be perfect......but, three of the four corners have a door in it, (walk door for me, and the other two have horse stalls) and the other is where I need to store the hay. I wondered if we could just add a "room" off to the side of the barn somewhere maybe.....again....thinking out loud....

    The outside run size can be as big as I want to make it.....the only issue is the square footage of the "building" we make, and where we put it.

    Angie
     
  10. newbiecaroline

    newbiecaroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    395
    1
    141
    Jan 21, 2008
    Alberta
    It's too bad one of the existing doors couldn't be integrated into the coop building.
    I only have 2 1/4 acres but I have the exact same problem...long and narrow! I can only work with one side of the property that is up along side an empty field. Back is much lower and can't build due to apparent flooding from the creek in past years, that's what the neighbors tell us.
    So my coops are at the side about 10 feet from house but clearly visible from the front of house...not the perfect situation. yes and lots of bush.
    Maybe just step back from it all and you'll think of something!
    Where there's a will there's a way - right?!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by