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    • andrewf75
    • By andrewf75 10th Jul 17, 10:31 AM
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    andrewf75
    keeping chickens
    • #1
    • 10th Jul 17, 10:31 AM
    keeping chickens 10th Jul 17 at 10:31 AM
    Not sure if this is the right place, but I'm considering getting some chickens

    I'm trying to envisage what sort of set-up to get for maybe maximum 3 to 4 birds although we have a large garden.

    I want to give them a lot of space, this for me is part of the attraction. But I don't want them roaming the whole garden as we have flower beds,veg etc. There is a patch at the end of the garden that we want to mostly restrict them to.

    My thinking is to get/build a fox-proof walk in run/coop (second hand) say 2x3m and then fence off a wider area around that to let them into when we are around. I'm thinking the wooden type as those Eglu things seem very small although I believe they are easier to clean. The outer run could be either solid permanent fencing or the more flexible stuff which can be moved I'm not sure which. Presumably the outer run doesn't need to be covered? I have seen some talk that it should be to keep wild birds out

    Thanks for any tips!
    Last edited by andrewf75; 10-07-2017 at 10:33 AM.
Page 1
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 10th Jul 17, 12:50 PM
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    Davesnave
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 17, 12:50 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 17, 12:50 PM
    For proper 'free range,' each bird needs af 4m2, I think, so 16m2 overall would be your minimum for those birds. We gave ours too much space, which sounds lovely, but they just don't use it all.

    Nobody near us has managed to keep foxes/badgers out, but we have, because they'd need to negotiate a 6' fence, the bottom of which is sheep fence with added buried galvanised netting. So we're immune....at a price. That price is probably not worth paying, both in monetary terms and in visual disharmony, if all you want is 4 chooks in the garden.

    Covering the run is worthwhile to keep wild birds out, but you can also keep food and water under cover where they are less likely to find it. We've lost two hens recently to canker ( a fungus that lives in the throat) which has been transmitted from wild birds. As wild birds can't get at the food etc, the run was probably infected via droppings. Even a roof net won't stop those.

    For a lower, less obtrusive fence, you could explore using electric, permanent or movable, but you'd then need to clip wings to stop younger chickens flying out. Some of ours can fly the 6' fence, but don't tend to do so, sensing they are safer inside, but when young they get up to mischief!

    I would go with a robust wooden coop which will still provide protection at night, should a large predator get into the enclosure. I use ordinary sturdy sheds with bolts top & bottom on the doors and pop holes. Badgers are notorious for smashing-up fimsy coops, but here, ours just walk on by and look for easier targets.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Waterlily24
    • By Waterlily24 10th Jul 17, 2:58 PM
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    Waterlily24
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 17, 2:58 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 17, 2:58 PM
    We did let ours roam the garden, it was quite a big garden and my hubby kept it really well - vegetable plot, lots of flower beds and they didn't do any real damage at all. What made me laugh was that they all went into the coop at night of their own accord. They had a wooden shelter that was up a ramp with a drop down door and a wired cage on the outside.
    • andrewf75
    • By andrewf75 10th Jul 17, 3:13 PM
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    andrewf75
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:13 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:13 PM
    Thanks, so maybe rather than fencing a largish area off as the outer run, I'd be better off with a big wooden coop fully protected and covered (16m2 seems do-able) and then letting them roam the whole garden occasionally as well. We're not precious about flowers and veg, just don't want them trashing it completely!
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 10th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
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    Davesnave
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
    We're not precious about flowers and veg, just don't want them trashing it completely!
    Originally posted by andrewf75
    Chickens aren't created equal; they have personalities, and different breeds have specific traits.

    I'm not sure which ones, but some are much less destructive than others. Most of mine would reduce a row of greens to shreds in a few minutes, yet the Dorkings don't bother at all with stuff like that.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Waterlily24
    • By Waterlily24 10th Jul 17, 5:06 PM
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    Waterlily24
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:06 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:06 PM
    We only had about 8 all supposed to be female but one was a male lol.
    Silkie, Rhode Island Red, Orpington, Sussex Light and Maran are the ones I can remember. The Maran laid the most beautiful dark brow eggs.

    I tried to put a picture of the coop up but wasn't able to. Hubby built it himself.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 10th Jul 17, 5:15 PM
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    Mojisola
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:15 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:15 PM
    I'm trying to envisage what sort of set-up to get for maybe maximum 3 to 4 birds although we have a large garden.

    I want to give them a lot of space, this for me is part of the attraction. But I don't want them roaming the whole garden as we have flower beds,veg etc. There is a patch at the end of the garden that we want to mostly restrict them to.
    Originally posted by andrewf75
    If you've got plenty of space, put a house in the middle with two runs. Give them access to one run at a time - when one gets worn and mucky, open up the other and let the first recover.
    • Waterlily24
    • By Waterlily24 10th Jul 17, 5:27 PM
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    Waterlily24
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:27 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:27 PM
    Good idea Mojisola, we used to move ours but it was a struggle.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 10th Jul 17, 5:39 PM
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    Mojisola
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:39 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:39 PM
    The double-run method can just rest the ground when the chickens are in the other one (which reduces pest, worm and disease load) or you can follow this method -
    www.backyardchickens.com/threads/run-and-coop-rotation.724133/

    Our last lot of chooks were in a deep straw run with a small section of bare soil for dust bathing. The chooks loved scratching in the straw (a daily handful of grain scattered in the straw encouraged that) which broke it into small pieces, added their nitrogen-rich poop which is good for breaking down the straw and generally made large amounts of humus for the veg garden.

    We used to put in layer after layer of straw until we needed the humus (in practice, when we started bumping our heads on the roof because of the rise in floor level ). The run then got dug out back to original soil level, a new bale of straw was added and the process started again.

    We mixed the straw up so that the old and new were spread throughout the pile and it was left to rot down a bit more before using in the garden.

    We had plenty of perches for them to get up off the ground so they could follow their normal behaviour - scratch and feed and then find a low tree branch to preen and doze. We used branches and some small tree trunks connected together so they could go the length of the run off the ground if they wanted to.
    Last edited by Mojisola; 10-07-2017 at 5:42 PM.
    • Waterlily24
    • By Waterlily24 10th Jul 17, 6:08 PM
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    Waterlily24


    This was our chicken run, not a very good picture of it though.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 10th Jul 17, 7:06 PM
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    Davesnave
    Yes, we have two runs and two sheds, so they alternate, but the runs are way too large, so we'll be scrapping one when we re-fence.

    Don't forget, chickens came from forest fowl, so they need shade. Our runs were made in an orchard, so that's taken care of. A larger house also helps as a wind break, but the need for that depends on the garden's exposure.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 10th Jul 17, 8:12 PM
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    Mojisola
    Don't forget, chickens came from forest fowl, so they need shade.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    And protection from airborne predators (when we had ours out on the lawn for a treat, they would dive under shrubs whenever anything that looked like a hawk flew over - hens out in a wide open space aren't happy hens!) and from rain (a wet hen is a very sad sight ).

    We had half our run roofed so that it stayed dry and they had somewhere that felt safe from predators.
    • andrewf75
    • By andrewf75 11th Jul 17, 10:09 AM
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    andrewf75
    Don't forget, chickens came from forest fowl, so they need shade. Our runs were made in an orchard, so that's taken care of. A larger house also helps as a wind break, but the need for that depends on the garden's exposure.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Back of our garden is perfect, where I want to put them in under large trees

    Thanks all

    The coop in the middle of 2 runs sounds good
    • andrewf75
    • By andrewf75 1st Sep 17, 2:12 PM
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    andrewf75
    Any thoughts on these metal runs? They seem good value and much bigger than the wooden ones.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Feel-Good-UK-Galvanised-2M-x-3M-Cage/1342366149?iid=151388744151
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