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Chicken keepers!


Sal
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I feel like I recall there being a few chicken keepers here?  Just wanted to start a thread to share your coop/run/flock stories?  

We are adding to our crazy menagerie, and starting up a little flock of 6 hens for eggs and (lets be real) pets. 🙂  I have been doing ALL the research and planning, while hubs gets to building.  Of course, DIY-ing our coop and run, and me being me I have to make it extra and adorable.  Trying to get it all ready for our baby chicks that come in May (they wont go into the coop until likely sometime in June, so we have time still!)

My eventual goals are to add some raised veggie garden beds, and also a small greenhouse back there.

Here's the progress so far!IMG_3674.jpg.69bf4497eb348e54462e20639bb518c0.jpgIMG_3690.jpg.ae4d1196c51d2d04c6eef647cb882f09.jpg

 

 

 

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On 3/23/2022 at 10:29 AM, Sal said:

Oh HOW COOL, @Patrick_G - that is a great idea.  What a beautiful little pond, and look at the owl!!

I decided we should overbuild a little, because I hear there is something called "chicken math" - which I think must be somewhat similar to "tank math" 🤣  You always end up with more than you intended...

I know about that "chicken math."  My daughter-in-law had chickens, then when she had her first child she decided to get rid of the chickens.  After a few months she missed having them, and told me she was going to get some again, ". . . but only about 7."

Before long she had 70.  I still give her a hard time about that.

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On 3/23/2022 at 12:04 PM, JettsPapa said:

I know about that "chicken math."  My daughter-in-law had chickens, then when she had her first child she decided to get rid of the chickens.  After a few months she missed having them, and told me she was going to get some again, ". . . but only about 7."

Before long she had 70.  I still give her a hard time about that.

Oh my goodness!!  70!  That's amazing!  🤣  Based on the chicken forums advice, I think my coop and run will have comfortable space for about 15 chickens, but...  We'll see how it goes with the 6.  My kids are mostly grown now and a few have flown the coop (pun intended) so I am looking for ways to fill up my empty nest.  However, 70 new babies may be a bit of overkill...  hahaha!

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On 3/23/2022 at 12:27 PM, Patrick_G said:

We’ve kept them in the past but now we just occasionally raise a brood to augment grandma’s flock. That way we get to have chicks every couple of years without actually having to take care of a flock. 

That's so fun! I can not WAIT for baby chicks.  

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On 3/23/2022 at 11:16 AM, Sal said:

Oh my goodness!!  70!  That's amazing!  🤣  Based on the chicken forums advice, I think my coop and run will have comfortable space for about 15 chickens, but...  We'll see how it goes with the 6.  My kids are mostly grown now and a few have flown the coop (pun intended) so I am looking for ways to fill up my empty nest.  However, 70 new babies may be a bit of overkill...  hahaha!

I don't think 70 was part of her original plan, but one of her friends was getting rid of her chickens so she and her husband could spend more time traveling, and they were free, so she couldn't resist.

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Oh,  you guys are killing me. When I moved to this (grumble grumble) rural state I told myself a silver lining was that I could finally get chickens. That was more than ten years ago and ... no chickens yet! 

@Patrick_Gno surprise that you even make a chicken brooder in the house look lovely and what a great idea turning it into a lined pond.

@Sal You're living the dream, making it cute is part of the fun and that coop looks like it will be super cute. Almost all of my kids have also "flown the coop" and I'm sure there is a connection between that and my growing number of tanks. 

I will live vicariously through you all until the planets align for me to start my own flock. They are all over my neighborhood and I love to walk past and hear their clucking.

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On 3/23/2022 at 12:16 PM, Sal said:

Based on the chicken forums advice, I think my coop and run will have comfortable space for about 15 chickens, but...  We'll see how it goes with the 6.

Some of the internet is a bit stingy when it comes to their requirements for housing chickens. I have six birds in a 3x8 foot coop and I would not want to add any more, even though they’re only in there at night. The poop builds up fast. Believe the sites that say 3 foot per bird for standard size breeds!

Your coop looks absolutely gorgeous! My favorite part is the big door on the side. It looks like you’ll be able to put a wheelbarrow right up to that door and just rake all the dirty bedding into it. 😍 Give that plywood floor a good coat of paint so the poop doesn’t soak into the wood and everything slides out nicely.

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On 3/24/2022 at 2:52 PM, PineSong said:

You're living the dream, making it cute is part of the fun and that coop looks like it will be super cute. Almost all of my kids have also "flown the coop" and I'm sure there is a connection between that and my growing number of tanks. 

I will live vicariously through you all until the planets align for me to start my own flock. They are all over my neighborhood and I love to walk past and hear their clucking.

I can only hope my neighbors feel the same way @PineSong!  We are following all of our town's chicken rules, so there's really nothing they can do, but I dont wanna make anyone cranky.  I am hoping I can offer fresh eggs as a peace offering.  🙂

I hope the planets align for you soon!  

On 3/24/2022 at 3:45 PM, Hobbit said:

Some of the internet is a bit stingy when it comes to their requirements for housing chickens. I have six birds in a 3x8 foot coop and I would not want to add any more, even though they’re only in there at night. The poop builds up fast. Believe the sites that say 3 foot per bird for standard size breeds!

Your coop looks absolutely gorgeous! My favorite part is the big door on the side. It looks like you’ll be able to put a wheelbarrow right up to that door and just rake all the dirty bedding into it. 😍 Give that plywood floor a good coat of paint so the poop doesn’t soak into the wood and everything slides out nicely.

Thanks @Hobbit and @Patrick_G too! We went back and forth over whether to make it a walk-in or raised coop and settled on the raised coop with WIDE doors facing our "gully" so we can rake it out and dump it over the gully easy peasy, at least until we rebuild the composting bin!   I am planning to paint the interior with a glossy white paint to increase light, reduce mites, and make cleaning easier, and my girls are getting a nice sheet vinyl "tile looking" floor...  hahaha.  It will be under their bedding, but should make the rake out easier... I told you, I am insane - but hopefully in a good way.  I just love my animals.  I even bought them some art work.  🤪🤪

I'd like to try the "deep litter" method, but we'll see how it goes.  I've heard it can be tricky at first.

The coop is 4x8 (its really 4x7, that last foot is the nesting boxes) and dedicated run is 8x20 - at least that is the plan right now.  In our town they have to remain in an enclosed run per the ordinance, however - we do have a fenced in backyard and we plan to cheat a little and let them have some supervised "free range" time in the yard probably on the weekends and when we are working out there.  IF we were to add more birds, I think the run could handle it, but I think we would likely build a second coop to attach to the other end of the run, but I haven't thought that far out yet, hahaha...  we'll see how it goes.

I really want a small greenhouse, so I may decide to stick with a small flock and use the extra space for that instead.  🙂

 

 

  

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On 3/25/2022 at 10:59 AM, Odd Duck said:

If there’s any way to have 2 separate run and alternate between them annually, you will have less parasite problems.  You can also create easily movable runs that wind through the garden beds by using mesh cat tunnels.  This lets the chickens pick at bugs and weeds but keeps them from eating your seedlings and produce.

I have seen some really fun "chicken tunnel" builds, and I will say - it is very appealing to me.  😂   My guess is that this will be part of our "run" at some point!

 

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On 3/25/2022 at 9:29 AM, Sal said:

The coop is 4x8 (its really 4x7, that last foot is the nesting boxes) and dedicated run is 8x20 - at least that is the plan right now.  In our town they have to remain in an enclosed run per the ordinance, however - we do have a fenced in backyard and we plan to cheat a little and let them have some supervised "free range" time in the yard probably on the weekends and when we are working out there.  IF we were to add more birds, I think the run could handle it, but I think we would likely build a second coop to attach to the other end of the run, but I haven't thought that far out yet, hahaha...  we'll see how it goes.

You may already know this, but if you let them out in the yard there's a good chance they'll go visit the neighbors.  When my daughter-in-law had her last batch it wasn't at all uncommon for some of them to fly up and land on the top of the 6' tall fence, then jump down on the other side.

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On 3/25/2022 at 11:44 AM, JettsPapa said:

You may already know this, but if you let them out in the yard there's a good chance they'll go visit the neighbors.  When my daughter-in-law had her last batch it wasn't at all uncommon for some of them to fly up and land on the top of the 6' tall fence, then jump down on the other side.

Yeah, we'll have to see how it goes.  Planning to talk to all the neighbors - our street is a pretty quiet dead-end, so I think a rogue escape chicken may not be the worst thing that could happen, but a few of our neighbors have dogs, so that would be my main concern, outside of our cranky neighbors who dont like noise.  Tunnels may be our best bet.

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On 3/25/2022 at 11:07 AM, Sal said:

Yeah, we'll have to see how it goes.  Planning to talk to all the neighbors - our street is a pretty quiet dead-end, so I think a rogue escape chicken may not be the worst thing that could happen, but a few of our neighbors have dogs, so that would be my main concern, outside of our cranky neighbors who dont like noise.  Tunnels may be our best bet.

I don't know if this is something you'd want to do or not, but if you trim the feathers at the end of their wings it will keep them from flying.  They'll grow back of course, so it needs to be repeated occasionally.

It doesn't hurt them at all.  It's like you getting a haircut or trimming your nails.

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On 3/25/2022 at 12:32 PM, JettsPapa said:

I don't know if this is something you'd want to do or not, but if you trim the feathers at the end of their wings it will keep them from flying.  They'll grow back of course, so it needs to be repeated occasionally.

It doesn't hurt them at all.  It's like you getting a haircut or trimming your nails.

This seems reasonable too. I wonder if it also helps them keep cooler in the summer?

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On 3/25/2022 at 3:06 PM, JettsPapa said:
On 3/25/2022 at 2:32 PM, Sal said:

This seems reasonable too. I wonder if it also helps them keep cooler in the summer?

It might help a little, but I doubt that clipping a few inches off a dozen or so wing feathers makes much difference.

I agree. The wing feathers aren’t the warm ones. It’s that down that keeps them toasty! 

I just went out to our coop this evening to pull out a bird and clip her wings. Puffy is our resident wander bird. She loves jumping the fences into our neighbors’ yards. She can get over the three foot and four foot fences no problem. Last year she could still get over them even with clipped wings, but I’m hoping this year she’s a bit heavier and less nimble. Our neighbors are trying to re-grow grass and she’s NOT helping… 😬 Unfortunately she’s not scared of their dog and their dog doesn’t care about her. 🤦🏼‍♀️ But I do tell all my neighbors that if a chicken gets out and the dog kills it, that’s not their fault. I will never blame a dog for killing a chicken.

On 3/25/2022 at 10:29 AM, Sal said:

I am planning to paint the interior with a glossy white paint to increase light, reduce mites, and make cleaning easier, and my girls are getting a nice sheet vinyl "tile looking" floor...  hahaha.  It will be under their bedding, but should make the rake out easier... I told you, I am insane - but hopefully in a good way.  I just love my animals.  I even bought them some art work.  🤪🤪

Awesome! I can’t wait to see pictures!!! You’re going to LOVE your birds. Do you know what breed(s) you’ll be getting?

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On 3/25/2022 at 11:57 PM, Hobbit said:

But I do tell all my neighbors that if a chicken gets out and the dog kills it, that’s not their fault. I will never blame a dog for killing a chicken.

Awesome! I can’t wait to see pictures!!! You’re going to LOVE your birds. Do you know what breed(s) you’ll be getting?

Totally agree - we have one dog that I am not sure I will ever trust with the chickens, so we'll see how it goes.  Fortunately, the coop and run are outside of our fenced in dog area, so he should never really have the chance to.  If the chickens are outside of their enclosure, he will be inside!  

 

We are doing a rainbow flock, so starting out with a variety of different birds.  I tried only to pick breeds that were "quiet" and "friendly", and focused on cold hardy birds since we are in a cold winter climate... though it sounds like they all can be different in terms of noise and temperment, so my expectations are low.  

Breeds we are starting with: Wyandotte, Orpingtons, Americauna, Speckled Sussex, and Welsummer.

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