Need Chicken Advice - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons View Post
Please do not consider wasting your money on that coop. It's cheaply built, not weather and predator proof, thin and flimsy wood, big enough for 2 adult hens... I could go on. Take that money and build something from scratch or find one on CL.
If you want to end up with 5 hens get all 5 at once. It's the same amount of work to raise five and you won't have integration problems down the road. You've selected a nice group of breeds. Stay away from big floppy single combs that are more prone to frostbite and they will do fine.
I would suggest joining a backyard chicken forum where you can search your individual concerns all long. You'll love the new additions.
Do you have any forums you'd recommend? I've been searching on my local Craigslist and haven't found a coop, there was one but it looked more like firewood then anything . Though I am still looking. I do plan on going to the Harford Fair this year to talk to folks at the chicken barn and get more ideas.
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 11:05 AM
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Chickens need only a few things but they really need them.

1. predator protection. Without this you will have no chickens very quickly. Hawks, coyotes, raccoons, possums, skunks, weasels, foxes, cats (will take chicks but not full-sized standard adults), and DOGS. Think this through all the way. I've kept poultry for 25 years. Their night coop is on a concrete slab (many predators dig), the wire is aviary netting (anything larger, a raccoon can get its hand through).

By the way chicken feed will attract rats unless kept in metal bins. No feed left out at night for same reason.

2. room to roam. Chickens (like horses!) move around looking for food all day long. The more you can give them this experience, the less trouble you will have keeping them sane and healthy. My hens run loose inside a half acre fence all day. I have dogs to protect them.

Chickens will destroy gardens in minutes, so there's that.

3. clean water and a variety of foods. They eat pretty much anything. Lay pellets for layers (any brand), oyster shell for layers.

Any of the coops you show, if the chickens are supposed to stay in there all the time, are maybe good for two or three bantams. No more.

Get a good book on raising chickens in your backyard, it will answer the majority of your questions.
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Last edited by Avna; 04-20-2017 at 11:15 AM.
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 11:15 AM
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You need to think outside the box. A playhouse, a swingset (convert the fort to a coop and the frame is the run) or a shed makes a nice coop with a few hours of work.
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Once I get an idea on coop size I am heavily considering building an enclosed chicken run for them. This way no one gets eaten and they can run around like mad
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 12:03 PM
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Gus, you can also buy a chicken tractor. It's basically a heavy, wire enclosure on wheels. Some come with a coop, while others don't. That way, you can move it around and the chickens can be on different patches of grass each day. They WILL destroy any vegetation if they only have one small area in which to roam, so any fixed enclosure you make, however big, will eventually be nothing but dirt.


My girls and roo are in a very large coop. It's 10' X 10', on a concrete slab overlaid with wood flooring. I didn't buy it, it came with my property and I just repurposed it for chickens by adding nest boxes, perches, and a wire door made out of an old window screen frame.

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post #16 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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The property we'll be going to has an old tool shed on it, kind of like what you'd seen at lowes. If I beg my father to help would that be a possible to make a good coop?
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 02:17 PM
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I will second getting all 5 at once. You might loose one or two to illness or predators and even if you buy only 2 and they both live you will have a hard time adding more later if you have a small coop. Because, honestly, chickens are cannibals and will pick on newer birds that you later add to the flock.

I have a fairly good sized chicken run and I will occasionally add new birds but I always buy them in "gangs" of about 5 or 6 because there will be some tension until the gangs work things out. Being that you can only have 5 and will have a smaller coop, it's just better to buy a single "gang" all at once.

Chickens are a blast and I love mine! I currently have about a dozen. I've been keeping chickens since I was a child and even so, I will occasionally loose a chicken to a predator or have a baby chick die (even though I feel very confident caring for them) so just plan that you might have a loss or two and count yourself lucky if you end up with 5 laying hens.

Speaking of which, you definitely don't want to go "straight run" or you will end up with 50% roosters. Buy "pullets." Sometimes a rooster accidentally get mixed in with the pullets too, so you might have to give one away if it becomes apparent you got a rooster at some point, but basically, pullets are sorted to all be girls, so pullets are what you want.

This time of year my Tractor Supply has baby chicks and later in the spring/summer they won't. But if they have them still when you are ready for them, you can buy your pullets at Tractor Supply and they will help you with what you need to start off with chicks. Like a feeder, waterer, chick starter, etc. Probably a heat lamp too, depending on if you get young chicks or not. But the babies have to be kept warm. I think that is probably the #1 think you can do to ensure the survival of baby chicks is to make sure they are warm.

Good luck and have fun! Chickens are a blast. If you handle them a lot growing up they can be very tame and have fun personalities.
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by LoveGus View Post
The property we'll be going to has an old tool shed on it, kind of like what you'd seen at lowes. If I beg my father to help would that be a possible to make a good coop?
Yes, a shed would make an excellent coop. You basically want something that will kept predators out at night and keep them from getting frost bite in the winter. I would much rather pick a shed over the "fancy" coops at places like Tractor Supply. Just build a little fenced yard off your shed and that should work great. Make sure things like raccoons can't get in and you will want to close the door at night to keep the predators out. And if it's big enough, a shed gives them a place to walk around in the winter out of the snow. My chickens hate snow and don't like walking in it.
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-20-2017, 02:22 PM
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It could make an excellent coop. Anything over 4X4 will do the job. You will want to add windows for natural sunlight and ventilation. You can walk around in it which makes cleaning and feeding easier. You will have better air quality and less moisture build up too. Waterproof the floor with a scrap of linoleum. A roost and a nesting box or two and you're in business. The only thing to build now is a run.
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