Chickens Are Coming- Getting Ready for Chickens 101

Chickens Are Coming- Getting Ready for Chickens 101

A few months ago I started talking to my handy hubby about building/buying a chicken coop and building a big run so they can live peacefully in my garden without wrecking years of garden work.  He wasn’t really keen on the idea at first but he’s a really, really, nice guy and he knows I’m really, really persistent, so…

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Yep, that’s the beginning of a really fun chicken coop! Since we had no idea of what we were doing, I started with a little research which I’ll share in case anyone is interested in what it takes to get this chicken thing going. I don’t know what I’m doing but I know how to find the people that do!

Step #1 Read, Read, Read!

I bought chicken magazines and Chickens for Dummies, I visited three feed stores and watched the chickens and talked to the experts.  I visited two friends who have chickens in their backyards and looked at every coop pinned on Pinterest .I read nearly every word on these interesting and helpful sites:

 Step #2   Make a  list of things you need to think about  or  find out before you begin:

How many chickens can I legally have in the yard? (3-5 in our area- no roosters allowed)
How much space do 3 chickens need in the coop and in the run? We’re doing10 sq. ft. in the run and 16 sq. ft. in the coop for 3 hens.
Will I let the chickens run free in my yard? NO!
Do I want chicks or Pullets (teenage chickens)? Pullets..know the sex and they go straight to the run and coop – no raising chicks under lights just to find they’re roosters!

What kind of coop do I want? Pinterest is the way to answer this question -there are tons to check out on that site! We found one we liked and took off from there…

Do I want to put the food/water inside the coop or in the run?  In the run.
What will I do with the chickens in 3 or so years when they are done laying eggs? The farm store takes them back…
What food from the kitchen is OK to feed chickens?
How much does the food cost at the feed store? 50# for $22.00
Do chickens have illnesses that require vet visits? Hope not!
Are chickens safe for little children and what precautions must I take?
Wash hands!
Should I use straw or pine shavings in the run and the nesting box?
Is it OK to use a two by two piece of wood for a roost like I saw in one coop-wouldn’t a branch be more comfortable for them? Use a branch!
How much will this project cost and who will do the bulk of the work? Hubby,Recycle
What kind of chickens are the best layers and which are the friendliest? (Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Wyandotte are my choices)
Is it OK to get them on Craigs list or is the farm store better…other options? /we’ll use Western Farm store.
Where in the yard is dry, sunny with some shade and has enough space for the run?
And, finally, should we use chicken wire or hardware cloth to keep out predators? Hardware cloth!

 Step #3  Check around for used wood

People often have piles sitting around they want to get rid of and you could use it! That’s how we got 100% of our wood! Call friends, spread the word, and check Craig’s List.

We got wood for the entire coop & run from friend’s left overs. Just had to buy hardware cloth (100 ft./$80.00), some hardware and paint, and we’ll need shakes for the roof.

Step #4  Enlist a handy hubby or someone who is a good builder to build the thing!

I’m blessed to have a very handy hubby who can design and build just about anything I can dream up and over the past 29 years he has always been up to the challenge!
Now I just have to convince our little granddaughter that it’s not a playhouse!

Aug. 4th- Later note, we’ve designed and redesigned and today we tore off the roof to run it the other way so it won’t drain into the run…this is harder to do than it first seems!

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