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So school me on chickens for a first timer. My wife wants them to have fresh eggs, and just to have.

I'm thinking of a coop that can be moved about, either on wheels or with forks (yet to be bought, but I'm getting tools out of this somehow).

We live near the lower Columbia river in Oregon so it is a mild climate.

Our golden retriever will test any coop we have, so not a free range type of situation. Only 2 acres minus the house & shop.

Thoughts?

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I helped my friend build a run for his chickens. Probably 10ft x 30ft and 6ft high with welded wire fencing all around and a net over the top. The coop is on the end of it, so the ladies can come and go from the coop and have some room to walk around, eat bugs, etc. There's a gate to get in. Just need to make sure the bottom of the wire is surrounded by sand and rocks to keep digging animals out like raccoons. This has worked out very well.

I brought the tractor over to help build this. used the grapple, pallet forks, front bucket tooth bar, and post hole digger to clear the land of brush, grade the area, and dig the post holes. So I strongly suggest milking as many new tractor attachments out of this as possible.
 

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If you have chickens long enough you will find out how just how many different types of preditors you have in your neighborhood. Hawks, fox , owls, weasels, racoons, mice you name it. It's also a test of your ability to build something to keep all the bad guys out of coop. Dogs and most preditors are capable of ripping chicken wire with their mouths if they are motivated enough. 1/4 hardware cloth will keep out any common pest.

Give the chickens as much space as you possibly can to keep them happy them more outdoor space the better. Your average store bought premade coop kit from tractor supply is typically good for half the number of birds it claims to fit. If the birds don't have enough free space they will attack each other.

Lots of people like the chicken tractor idea (it's what the cool kids call a coop and run on wheels). They are a great way to spread the chicken poop fertilizer around the yard and keeps any one spot from being destroyed by the chickens. They will eat all the grass and dig up all the bugs in any one spot given enough time there.

I spent a couple seasons taking a cruise boat up and down the columbia river. Really pretty area out there.


Be careful of chicken math, much like tools and tractor attachments you start out with 6 chickens then next thing you know you have 20. I'm at 12 hens and a rooster. We decided to entertain the kids and incubate eggs to hatch on easter. Now I have 19 brand news chicks that hatched over the weekend. So how I know we will end up keeping a couple of them.

781641

781647


My outdoor run and the small 8x6 shed is the coop.
781648
 

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Building an elevated coup I think makes it easier to keep things out. Mine is elevated, framed well (tight), have no problems with things getting in. My brother in law built a "rat-proof" coup by pouring a 12" thick slab and framing in top of it. Had rats 3 weeks later living under the slab and getting into the coup. For the money, I think it's cheaper and easier to build it with a little ground clearance.


Be aware your dog may eat all the poop. My dogs will follow the chickens around like they're pez dispensers if I let them, it's disgusting.
 

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I have had chickens for a long time. Best thing I have ever used is electrical fence netting. I have the coup inside fence with also a outdoor fully covered metal enclosure next to coup. Chickens roam freely between enclosure and a large yard area. Alot of animals try to get by the electrical netting but seem to quit after the second try. I have not lost a chicken in years. I love the electrical fence and it is easily moved around and setup.
 

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Building an elevated coup I think makes it easier to keep things out. Mine is elevated, framed well (tight), have no problems with things getting in. My brother in law built a "rat-proof" coup by pouring a 12" thick slab and framing in top of it. Had rats 3 weeks later living under the slab and getting into the coup. For the money, I think it's cheaper and easier to build it with a little ground clearance.


Be aware your dog may eat all the poop. My dogs will follow the chickens around like they're pez dispensers if I let them, it's disgusting.
We have a white dog that finds every pile and rolls in it. Good fun I guess
 

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Here is our current flock free ranging in the neighboring hay lot. I purchased this Amish made coop. It’s 8 foot long and 6 feet wide. It is supposed to have room for 8 to 12 chickens. We had 10 for a while. These six seem comfortable. If I had to do it again I would probably build my own and it would be a little larger. From March to around October we will get about 4 eggs a day and the kids show them at the county 4h fair
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As for coop building if you go that route remember to add plenty of ventilation. Even in the cold months the coop needs to have free air flow. Most chickens will be fine in sub zero temps if they are out of the wind in a dry place.

Chicken breath and poop makes a lot of moisture in the air so the coop needs to have a natural ventilation to get rid of that moisture. My 6x8 shed has a gable vent on the opposite side of the picture as well as the windows and the 2x2 pop door to the outside run.

I found a lot of useful information on another forum site. Lots of great ideas on coop design, waste free feeders, and poop management.
 

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'Our' chicken coop belongs other people, the Mrs buys fresh eggs from friends with chickens.
 

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I have had chickens for a long time. Best thing I have ever used is electrical fence netting.
Electric netting is what I use. Bought the whole setup from Premier. Expensive start up but well worth keeping the wife happy with no dead chickens (except from the owls) .
My favorite breed by far is the Red Sexlinks, these ladies can lay some eggs!
My coop is an 8x10 shed that has cross wind windows for ventilation, Don't try to keep them warm...keep the coop ventilated! Good luck, the eggs are delicious, not cheap. RW Samsung 049.jpg
 

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We have two raised coups, fenced in around the bottom, chickens like a cool shaded place to lay on a hot summer day. As for the pen, we just happened across two 10'x10'x6' dog pens from people that we know. we set them up and put chicken wire around the bottom half so the chickens have a 10'x30' pen to peck in. From our experience I wouldn't worry as much about nesting box space as I would roosting space. All 22 of our hens lay in two boxes while the other 6 boxes are empty almost daily. They will just sit and wait patiently (and sometimes impatiently) for one of those two boxes to be available.
Like you mentioned, we cannot free range ours. We have two dogs, one of which is a Jack Russell that looks at them like a treat, and a few neighborhood dogs.
The best way to get egg production besides paying attention to your breeds is in the feed. A good quality laying mash, all they want of that, and your scratch feeds/sunflower seeds/almost any other treat are all given in moderation. The laying mash has the proteins necessary for good egg production. Right now we average 16-19 eggs per day with just the 22 hens, we have 8 chicks currently about 2 weeks old that will eventually be put out there, but not for another 8-10 weeks.
 

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1023e, pallet forks and a box blade for now...
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Building an elevated coup I think makes it easier to keep things out. Mine is elevated, framed well (tight), have no problems with things getting in. My brother in law built a "rat-proof" coup by pouring a 12" thick slab and framing in top of it. Had rats 3 weeks later living under the slab and getting into the coup. For the money, I think it's cheaper and easier to build it with a little ground clearance.


Be aware your dog may eat all the poop. My dogs will follow the chickens around like they're pez dispensers if I let them, it's disgusting.
🤮 funny and disgusting.... My new pup is doing the same thing.
 

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This thread brings back memories and I'm not sure if all of them are good. We bought 300 chicks every spring and raised them with most going in freezer at 3 1/2 to 4 pounds. The rest went on to be laying hens and a couple of roosters. I've killed and pluck the feathers off of a of a lot of chickens.
But the worst was carrying two five gallons of water from the pump house to the chicken house. I blame that for having long arms.
 

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Forgot to mention we have a smooth coat border collie that stalks them all over the yard. It doesn’t really seem to bother them.
Seems they are quite safe.
 

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Ya the border collie is probably very happy to have a job protecting the chickens.
 

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My chickens started in a coop with a run. Taking water out there was a pain. They now have a 30x30 pen in the barn. I noticed that once they were free to roam outside they were way mellower and learned to come when called.

I normally only keep about 4 otherwise I'm over run with eggs. Of course Sami rides in the Gator.
 

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Do you get snow where you live? Because we can bamboozle a snowplow or snowblower out of this too. The chickens need somewhere to roam even when there is snow on the ground afterall.
 
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