Total newbies - build thread

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Myv8growler

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Total newbies - build thread
« on: April 09, 2012, 18:09 »
Hi all, we are soon to be new chicken owners.
We have wanted chickens for some years but always held off for some unknown reason.

I intend to build my own coop and I will attempt to run a build thread (with pics) as we go.
I welcome any and all advice along the way. We are hoping for 2-4 birds.

I have a space at the bottom of my garden which measures 4m x 1.5m which I want to use as a hen house and run.

I am going to sit down and draw up some plans, but my initial thoughts are around 5ft high with a polycarbonate roof to keep the chicks dry. I was going to lay some concrete foundations for under the sides and leave the floor as a soil base.

Here are some pics of what I have to play with.





I intend to use the whole area to the left of the red line.



If the rain stops tomorrow, I'm gonna start digging.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 18:11 by Myv8growler »

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Ice

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 18:14 »
Welcome to the forum. :)  Ask as many questions as you like and have a look in the search facility as there have been many threads about projects like this.

Do you have any urban foxes where you are?
Cheese makes everything better.

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Myv8growler

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 18:18 »
No urban foxes that I am aware of.

As for the questions, I am sure they will come thick and fast.
Not too sure which chickens to get yet, but I will start with the house and go from there.

I have looked at some of the coops you can buy on eBay which seem perfectly good, but I want to make it a bit more personal and to accommodate the space I have put on one side.

I have read some of the threads already with some build pictures so I am armed with a number of ideas.

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devonbarmygardener

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 22:18 »
Enjoy the process!

We built our coop and pen on my mates' allotment over the winter - finishing it just days before we got the girls!
Very proud now.

I do recommend having a shaded/covered area of your run though - went up to visit the ladies for their afternoon tea (a big scop of corn!)  and the pen was an absolute mudbath and bless them, they didn't want to spend the day indoors despite the weather!
Chooks produce a beautiful tilled soil (would be prefect for lovely straight carrots) but the rain utterly destroys it! ::)

Emma

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 22:30 »
For want of being shot down in flames, can you give them any more room?

Minimum run are for 1 hen is 1 sq metre, but we try to say to give them At Least 2sm each, Hens are birds, they like to run and fly around.

If you are restricted to that area, could you perhaps build the coop 18 to24 inches off the ground so they can run underneath it too?  Remember that you will have a feeder and drinker in there too taking up space.

Covering at least part of the run is a good idea, helps keep smells down if the run is kept dry.  If the coop is raised, you could hang the feeder underneath it, keeping the feed dry and if its off the ground, helping to keep rats away from the feed.

Also if you can build the run 6ft high, that will make it easier for you to get inside so you don't have to stoop, unless you are under 5ft of course!

I have seen some wonderful runs on this forum where people have built shelves and things at different heights. It gives the birds more room and more things to do rather than just the run floor.

Have at least 3 birds too.  They are flock animals and if one should die, then you still haave a pair rather than one lone hen, which is very sad.

Hope this helps

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Myv8growler

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 22:39 »
Thanks for the comments.
I intend to make the bedroom area suspended so they will have a full 4m run.
They will have the entire garden too during th daytime when we are home.

As for making it higher, I am 6'4" so I wold have to make a blooming big coop for me not to stoop! (not meant to rhyme!)

And I am sure my neighbours would complain if the coop was bigger than a standard garden fence.

As fo the birds, my friend has kindly offered me his 4 bantams as his personal circumstances have changed recently.

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devonbarmygardener

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 22:41 »
We were quite lucky with space.
Our run is about 10 metres by 6 metres. Plenty of room.
Any suggestions for relieving chicken boredom would be greatly appreciated - I think it's the cause of our henpecking!

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 22:50 »
Bantams is good, they take up less space, which means your girls will be even happier!  And I meant the run should be 6ft high, not the coop!  But you have to be awkward and be 6ft 4ins!     :lol: :lol:

In the end, of course its up to you and your situation, but you did ask!    ;) ;)

Emma, lots of ways to stop boredom.  they love things to jump on and off of, an old big of log, or pile of rocks?  Hanging greens like cabbage or brussel stalks, just above head height so they get exercise while trying to snaffle the greenery, greens are good for nice yellow yolks too.  We have also hung things like corn cobs up too.

Hanging CD's sometimes helps, sunlight shining on the CD distracts them, but we had more success with the turkeys and CD's than we did the chickens.

Their afternoon treat of a handful of corn keeps them distracted for a bit too.


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devonbarmygardener

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2012, 23:23 »

Emma, lots of ways to stop boredom.  they love things to jump on and off of, an old big of log, or pile of rocks?  Hanging greens like cabbage or brussel stalks, just above head height so they get exercise while trying to snaffle the greenery, greens are good for nice yellow yolks too.  We have also hung things like corn cobs up too.

Hanging CD's sometimes helps, sunlight shining on the CD distracts them, but we had more success with the turkeys and CD's than we did the chickens.

Their afternoon treat of a handful of corn keeps them distracted for a bit too.



We have log perches and logs half dug into the ground. They certainly enjoy digging - particularly where the fences are dug into the ground! I have told them they're helping any potential predator to get in from the other side  but they won't listen ::)

They love afternoon tea (corn) but it doesn't keep them going for long.

Sorry Myv8growler - didn't mean to poach your thread. What I will suggest for your hen house is keep the perches the same height - we have 3 perches - 2 at a lower level and 1 higher up and NO-ONE likes the lower perches! It's quite funny to peep in and see all 10 girls squished together on one perch!
Emma

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 23:41 »

Sorry Myv8growler - didn't mean to poach your thread. What I will suggest for your hen house is keep the perches the same height - we have 3 perches - 2 at a lower level and 1 higher up and NO-ONE likes the lower perches! It's quite funny to peep in and see all 10 girls squished together on one perch!
Emma

That's pecking order stuff!  The higher up the perch you can get, the more important you are!   :D

Your girls seem to have lots of things to do Emma, another reason for feather pecking they reckon is lack of calcium.  Are they getting enough of that?  Or do you have a bully who is pecking the others?

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devonbarmygardener

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 11:25 »
If we have a bully she keeps changing! My poor pecked girl was the initial bully - she'd peck the others away from the feeder - now have 2 feeders and 2 drinkers!
Our Blue Marans was the worst for pecking the last I saw, although she was attacking everyone not just Anastasia.

Might try the calcium issue - and some anti-peck spray!

Thanks :)

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Myv8growler

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 12:10 »
Been digging and raking for a few hours now.
Got the foundation trenchs dug out.
All measured up.
I'll post pics later when I get back from buying my cement.

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Myv8growler

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2012, 16:08 »
Slabs cleared, raked and level (ish)



All pegged out and measured. Flattened down too.



Trenches dug out for the foundations.



Pebles laid as a base.



Concrete foundations laid





Time for a rest!

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drumstick

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 17:50 »
We used our existing 10x8 greenhouse as part of our chicken area.. We took out all the glass for safety reasons and also for the fact the chickens would be too hot under glass. We replaced the glass around the sides and doors with chicken wire and the roofing is 4mm polycarbonate sheeting. We had to thread wiring across the roof panels to keep them in place in windy weather, as we do get a bit of wind here on the Suffolk coast. We then put the coops inside the greenhouse and extended the legs on the houses to enable the chickens access under their housing, giving them extra room. This also gives them a dry area inside the greenhouse when it is raining as rain can come in from the open chicken wired sides all depending on the wind direction! We have 3 outside runs, which have tunnels running from one to another above ground to enable the chickens access to all the runs and they can be closed off too. The tunnels were made from dustbins and compost bins. We also have other small tunnels made from wood and cut down plastic dustbins for shelters for the chickens in the rain in the runs. We have put a tyre out in one of the runs with well rotted manure in it, which they love digging and dust bathing in. All in all our set up has been a great success with the chooks. We had a choice of flower beds or chicken runs and the chickens won, it is lovely to see them as free and as happy as they are out there.

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devonbarmygardener

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Re: Total newbies - build thread
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012, 20:52 »
Wow myv8growler - you work fast!
It's looking good.

drumstick: very'Good LIfe'! Thats bow Barbara Good built their chicken house  from the old greenhouse.
She also painted it pink - the guys on my allotments wouldn't let me paint the chickenhouse pink :(
It looks good though - we've called it 'Peckingham Palace' :D

Emma



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