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Author Topic: So...about chickens...size of run  (Read 17300 times)

mackbear

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Armadale
  • mackbear
So...about chickens...size of run
« on: January 18, 2009, 06:01:28 pm »
Hi All,

I'm hoping to keep some chickens in my back garden but I am a total newbie to it!  Just to explain, my back 'garden' is actually a gravel covered car lot (because of partner's interest in classic cars). I have a little sloping area of soil/plants to the side, under some tall hawthorn bushes and next to some lap fencing.  I was thinking about building a run there with a small house but really, I am only at the 'seriously thinking about it' stage.  Here is the question...

What size would a house and run need to be for 3-4 chickens? Any other advice would be great too...!

thanks a lot

Martin.

johnmac

  • Joined Dec 2008
  • Perth
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 10:07:25 pm »
hi there and welcome aboard...... Some may disagree....but i dont think it will matter much if you don't have gress, because in a small enclosed area they would quickly kill the grass in any case! For four chickens... a run of about ten foot in length would suffice, by say six or more feet wide...the bigger the better.....

Have got the possibility of fencing off round the entire garden so when you are about you can give them free run of the whole garden? In this case you can buy about 50metres of chicken wire for about 30 to stop them squezzing through places and other things squeezing in!!!

As for the run itself...try and make it interesting for them... a small dust bath for sunbathing.... some sand for digging in, a few small branches or logs to jump about between.... and maybe a few covered planted bits of soil into which you can plant lettuces for them to nibble at/destroy!

Good luck!

mackbear

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Armadale
  • mackbear
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2009, 10:24:01 pm »
hey Johnmac,

thanks so much for the welcome and for this.  I was planning to sort of level off the slope where the run would be and adding in a healthy amount of bark chippings. I would probably look to put the chicken wire around the perimeter of the existing fencing anyway, just in case there were any escapees from the run.  Provided they could cope with the gravel, I would have no problems in letting them out and about when I was in the house.  The existing fence around my place is about 5-6 ft high.  Im presuming they could get over that if they wanted to?  And I am presuming too that I would have to replace the bark chippings fairly regularly?

Making the run interesting is a great idea....i'd certainly incorporate your ideas if i go ahead, so thanks for that :)

Martin.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2009, 11:12:00 pm »
Don't bother levelling off the ground - the hens will do that for you. ;) And don't use bark chippings - not sure about hens but they are poisonous to ducks. They might fly up on to the 6ft fence once they are used to their surroundings - mine have just started doing that, but you could clip one wing of each to stop that.  Just snip off the ends of the flight feathers (longest ones)  Not cruel - no veins or nerves in feathers and best done before they start to fly so they never miss being able to.  I'm too late to do mine really.  Just a nice dry shed with a nesting box inside lined with straw and a couple of perches inside and out and tehy will think it's Buck House :chook: :chook: :chook:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

mackbear

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Armadale
  • mackbear
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 11:25:28 pm »
hey Doganjo

thanks for the info.  Great advice about the flight feathers - would be sure to do that - and thanks for the reassurance that it wont hurt them.  Will make sure that the shed is wind and watertight and they have a nice nestbox to lay those precious eggs into :)

cheers

Martin

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 08:19:27 pm »
If you are going to feed greens - cabbage, sprouts, lettuce, nettles - hang them up at beak height. If you put them on the ground, they'll get ruined and not eaten. Also a sunflower tied up by the stem with the seed head hanging down for them to peck at is good. Failing that put a wild bird feeder in with some seeds for them to peck at.


mackbear

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Armadale
  • mackbear
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 09:17:19 pm »
Thanks Rosemary.  I would never have thought of that and would have been inclined to put them on the ground, so great advice.  Its this sort of valuable stuff that you might not get out of a book and another reason why this forum is so good.

i'm thinking about buying a small garden shed and modifying that as the 'coop'. Any advice on that approach or should I be thinking differently?

thanks once again.

Martin.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2009, 10:45:36 pm »
I've got a small chicken house surplus - would do 8-10 birds. PM me if you are interested.

Ross

  • Joined Jan 2009
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2009, 12:37:05 am »
If you allow your hens to range freely around your garden, then you will find that chicken poo gets everywhere. Is this likely to be a problem with your partners cars?
There's no real restriction on size of run if you have less than 350 birds, but the industry standard for free range is 5 square metres per bird. I run 290 birds on about 3300 m2, and that seems to be about enough for them to be sociable/unsociable as the mood takes them. Too small a run leads to stress, feather pecking and bullying. If the underdog doesn't have the option of taking herself away from the others she will suffer badly.
That said, when we had just a handful of Light Sussex in our garden, we never had any behaviour problems at all. They just mooched around together, eating grubs and the new growth off everything in the garden and pooing prolifically. Our lawn has never looked so good.
There is no problem in the world that cannot be fixed by the judicious application of the appropriate hammer.

mackbear

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Armadale
  • mackbear
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2009, 02:26:57 pm »
Hi Rosemary,

Have dropped you an email.

:)

thanks

Martin.

mackbear

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Armadale
  • mackbear
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2009, 02:30:16 pm »
hey Ross,

thanks for the advice.  Will have to invest in some covers for those cars I guess :)

I hadn't thought about the 'hen-pecking' part of it so I will heed your advice and make sure that the run is big enough to allow for some 'escape' routes.  I hope that I can let them out of their run when I am around so that they get to wander a little more.

:)

Thanks

Martin.

3Kids2Hearts1Dream

  • Joined Jan 2010
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2010, 04:47:17 am »
Hey everyone, I've researched nearly everything anyone could possibly imagine...and still need some moral support and advice lol. We are in the final planning stages of designing a coop/run, and I am simply wanting to verify that the space is adequate.

We are going with a 10x10 coop that will be 5-6 feet tall (can't decide what would be better since it will be on a 12-18 inch lift and I am 5 foot 5 lol), with 15 nest boxes (10 high, 5 centered directly underneath the top 10), and a 10 foot roost running in front of the nest boxes, another 10 foot one running a foot high, and 2 3 foot corner ones.

We live on an acre of land, but because of our location (3000 acres of forest behind our property which is near a very large lake...) I am only comfortable with supervised (as in me physically out there paying attention) free range. So about 1/2 the time they would be in a "run". I'm planning on a 20x20 run, with all saftey precautions to the chickens considered.

Would this be a decent (fair to the chickens) set up for the following: 10 Blue Silkie Bantam's, 10 Mille Fleur d'Uccle Bantam's, and 8 Silver Laced Wyandotte's???? I'm trying really hard to do this right, and make sure we'll have a happy lil group. They are mainly going to be just for the joy of having them, I don't even eat eggs lol. My husband and kids will eat any eggs we get most likely. But they are mainly just going to be our new lil buddies, and I want them to be happy.

I do think that it is important for me to mention that within 12 months we plan on building an identically sized coup and expanding their "run" space. Is this a plan that will work, or are we in over our heads on numbers?

Thanks to anyone that takes the time to reply, we're just trying to not mess up here lol.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 04:56:01 am by 3Kids2Hearts1Dream »

shetlandpaul

  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2010, 05:26:48 am »
28 chucks for a 20 by 20 run is small but as long as they can free range i suppose it should do. its going to get very messy. the house sounds good by the way. its going to cost a lot to build. at that size i would make it high enough to stand up in. have you thought of two 8x6 cheapish garden sheds. that way you could run two flocks

3Kids2Hearts1Dream

  • Joined Jan 2010
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2010, 05:42:53 am »
I have considered that, but our budget doesn't allow it  :-[. Would going to a 30x30 run work do you think? As I had mentioned originally within 12 months we'd have 2 of the same size coops, and they would then have 1/2 an acre to roam on. Should we scale a larger run, or scale down on how many we get this season? We would be fine with either. The coop materials are running around $500, and the run materials are running $300 (we are cutting trees to use as posts/supports), and ordering the chicks is running around $200. So we're trying to keep at that $1000 mark.

candpdoyle

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • whimple
Re: So...about chickens...size of run
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2010, 08:51:10 am »
if you buy some electric fencing you would have a nice space??  we have a 50m fence with around 20 birds and they are fine... we do have to move it weekly though as they will destroy the grass ;)  i have built 2 coops which are 900x900mm x1200 high... i also have an old landrover roof for rain shelter and seperate nest boxes so the coops can be smaller and more mobile :)


will probably cost around 200 to set up the electric fencing if you shop around for an energiser


Chris

 

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