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The hens wanted to sleep in the nesting box so we blocked it off until they start laying. We've been trying to train them to roost, if we put them up on the bar they seem to stay there but they won't go up on their own. It took them a few weeks to figure out the ramp, but now they've got the hang of it. When I move the coop to it's permanent spot I want to set it on buried cement blocks to prevent predators from digging under and to prevent rot.

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Really neat! Did you buy a kit, or plans, or design it yourself? I want a chicken coop, but haven't seemed to get there yet. I think I want mine to be portable, much of the time, so the chickens can get into fresh dirt and bugs, without being totally at risks of predators, during certain times of year.

Do you have much of a snake problem in your area? I can't firgure out how to make a coop snake proof to keep them out of the eggs. Still working on details in my mind.

Thanks for sharing! Let us know what changes you would make, and why, as time goes on. It would be a huge help to some of us!

Thanks again!
 

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I designed it myself, taking lots of ideas from the Wichita Cabin Coop. The rear sloping roof on the Wichita coop will trap snow if it's against another building, so I changed the roof to shed snow to the sides because there is a possibility that the coop will go against the goat barn. The roof cannot support heavy snow loads. Available materials also dictated much of the design, most of the lumber was salvaged from shipping crates, and the metal siding/roofing was leftover from my other buildings. It is easily movable by towing, and I may leave it that way for the reasons you mentioned as long as we don't have a problem with predators digging. We don't really have a snake problem here, I might see one or two garter snakes in a year. We see red tail hawks flying over daily, and Cooper's hawks nesting within a half mile, so that is our biggest concern. We also have fox, possum, raccoons, and sometimes coyote.

I'm planning to install a feeder and waterer that can be filled from outside the coop. I'm still working on the design but I'll post some pictures when I get it done. We have to deal with freezing here so that makes watering more difficult.
 

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COOL! So glad you will share! Thanks again!
 

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That came out great! I like the cable to raise the ramp.

Do you ever let the chickens run around your yard, or do they stay in the coop? How long have you had them?

My wife really wants to try raising 4 or 5, so it is a project I try to collect info on.
 

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The chickens are about 2 months old. They are Moyer's brown egg layers. The hatchery is only 20 minutes from here so we went and picked them up the day they were born. Commercial Chicken Breeds - Moyer's Chicks

We've only been letting them out while we're outside to watch them. They run to the door now as soon as you approach. They were out for a couple hours yesterday until we noticed 5 hawks circling. So far they don't roam more than a couple feet from the run. Eventually we'd like to let them free range, I think we will just need to have extras and get used to the fact that we will loose a few now and then.
 

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Ahhhh Pennsylvania Chicken Farming, a subject dear to my heart. We have about 40 assorted Bantams in a permanent coop converted from an Amish made kids 6x8 gingerbread playhouse. I made a little trapdoor in back that opens to a 20x20 fenced in area with an external access. It is under a stand of old Maples so it is very shady in summer. The coop has a full sized door on one end which we use to access to clean and gather eggs. We have 10 nests hanging on the back wall, and a 2x4 running the length of the coop for a roost and a lightweight ladder up to it. We hang feeding pails from ceiling hooks and currently change the 3 gallon waterer daily placing it on a milk crate to keep it above the wood chips. I am planning to upgrade to a gravity fed barrel and nipple watering system for the non-freezing months. We collect and sell about 4-5 dozen eggs a week which covers the cost of the organic feed.

We've had issues in teh past with only 2 predators, one are foxes, the other are hawks. I came home from work one day to find a sharp shined hawk had managed to infiltrate the fenced in area in back (netting over the top had some open spots where I cut it to go around trees). If had killed and eaten one bird. It got out on it's own too....

We let the chickens free range in our yard on weekends when we are home and working outside. We've suffered a few hawk attacks during these times too, but it was the fox that really irritated me. In broad daylight it jumped a 4ft fence (nothing for a fox, they will climb an 8ft fence!) grabbed a bird and jumped back over with me in hot pursuit......it dropped the bird and I picked her up thinking she was dead (I was damned if I was goona let the fox have it!), but she stirred when I picked her up and she is still with us today. We called an animal control guy from out near Hershey who came up and set a trap and caught the fox....it was a female and she was pregnant. He released her out near Hershey somewhere. Less than a year later we had another fox attack, so it was time for a flock guardian dog. We got a Merrema Abruzze from a breeder in Fort Washington NJ and she has been with us for 2 years and we have not had a fox attack since, and for some reason we no longer have a groundhog issue either?? The Marremma is even starting to look up, and I'm hoping she will help with Hawks as well. We've only had one Hawk kill since she got here. Here are 2 not so great photos of Fiona. And I'll try to get some photos of the coop too.
 

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Fiona is pretty, and useful too!
 

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That's funny, we have a dog named Fiona, but she's a greyhound. She would be on the side of the fox, wanting to kill the chickens. She's the opposite of useful, but she almost never barks and she sleeps most of the time. She's getting old and we've considered replacing her with a guardian dog when the time comes. Does your Fiona bark a lot besides when visitors/intruders arrive? Does she sleep in the barn?
 

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Often times, I've ended up making pets out of some of the hens and even roosters. Those little Banty hens can be so gentle as other breeds can be as well. I had a Black Giant rooster that looked like a big hen when he was very young. He turned out to be a very large bird. Was very gentle, until I made him mad by jiggling his throat when he'd crow. :lol: It probably embarrassed him in front of the other birds, cause my fingers on his neck would make his crowing sound odd and similar to a creeking hinge. He'd end up pecking my hand hard to make me stop. One thing in particular I'll always remember was how he would encourage the hens to get in the nests to lay eggs. It was a funny sight to behold. Never seen another rooster do what he did. He would climb in one nest and stir the hay all around and start that familiar sound they make when trying to get hens to come to a particular location.

I'm sure some of you have seen how some roosters will call hens to come eat bugs they've found or other food. They have their own language.

One thing I've learned about laying hens, is when the days get shorter and colder during cold weather, install a light or lights depending on how many chickens one has and also the size of the coop. I leave the lights on at night and during cold clowdy days. And, keep hay in their nests and roosting areas to keep them warm. If the hens can't get warm enough and don't have a fresh, plentiful supply of clean water and food, they'll stop laying consistently.
 

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That's funny, we have a dog named Fiona, but she's a greyhound. She would be on the side of the fox, wanting to kill the chickens. She's the opposite of useful, but she almost never barks and she sleeps most of the time. She's getting old and we've considered replacing her with a guardian dog when the time comes. Does your Fiona bark a lot besides when visitors/intruders arrive? Does she sleep in the barn?
She would sleep in the barn if we didn't let her come in and sleep int he BR at night. She occasionally has barking fits late at night before she comes in, which is why we end up bringing her in so she doesn't wake the neighbors, which aren't TOO awfully close. She's about the best working dog we've ever had. We also have 3 Pembroke Welsh Corgi's, 2 of which bark too much and the other is a groundhog killer and does a great job herding the chickens, bu he has prey aggression, and if one of the other dogs yelps or cries he will usually attack them, so we have to be careful with him. He can't catch Fiona and if she wanted she could um, well you know, stop him. But she usually just jumps over him or runs away from him. She's very fast and deadly silent. We're going to be breeding her this year so, if you think she might be the right kind of farm dog for you, stay in touch.
 
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