Farming forum: My chicken coop, yard and garden project

Page 1 of 7 • 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Views: 4854, Replies: 128 » Jump to the end
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Sep 2, 2013 7:28 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

As I mentioned in a different thread, we are starting to get serious about designing and building a new chicken coop and yard. Our intention is to have a large coop that is big enough for us to occasionally divide the interior into two sections, so that we can segregate flocks. This will be useful for when we occasionally add new chicks, and when we grow out a flock of meat birds once or twice a year.

As for the yard, I've taken from the rotational grazing method of growing cows. The idea here is to have 2 or 3 separate yards, each attached to the coop, and the chickens only have access to one yard at a time. Then when they have most of the plant life eaten down, they are rotated into the next yard.

Now I am planning to take this a step further and follow them with vegetable gardens. So, they will spend the first season in "Yard 1". Once they've cleared it all out, I start only letting them out in Yard 2 and I plant corn, squash, beans, etc into yard 1.

When yard 1 is harvested, I can let them back into yard 1 to clean up the harvest, and now I start gardening in yard 2.

That's an over simplification of what I'm talking about, but I think it gets the point across.

Here is a diagram of what I'm looking to build:

Thumb of 2013-09-03/dave/98c6e4

The total size here is 100' wide by 50' high. The two large pens are each 40'x50' and the coop is 20'x10. As you can imagine, there are chicken-size doors heading into each of the three pens so they can go into whichever one I choose for them.

As for the layout of the interior of the coop, that's still a work in progress.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Sep 2, 2013 9:03 PM CST
I like the plan so far...
Porkpal
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
Image
Newyorkrita
Sep 2, 2013 10:23 PM CST
Wow, this is very ambitious.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
OldGardener
Sep 3, 2013 5:45 PM CST
Nice start Thumbs up If I may ask, how many egg birds are you planning on keeping? (Again, I apologize for always peppering you with questions - hmmm.. is that what the '?' icon is for?)

For our birds, we will be using a pre-existing cinder block building that looks like an old-fashioned vegetable stand. It's exactly half the size as your coop (10x12) but it will do Smiling , It has a large opening on one end which is 6-8' wide by 4-5' tall that a previous owner covered with a screened panel. There is still remnants of a counter top that bridges to the outdoors. It looks like there may have been a roll down that slid down over this window at one time but it is long gone. I figure that, with a little modification, this will make a great entrance/exit area for the birds. On the perpendicular wall, there is a walk-in door. Since the door needs replacing anyway, I'm considering a double door - a screen door over a solid door - so that we can get some cross ventilation when needed. I really would have thought vege stand but we are in the middle of nowhere and the road isn't even nearby. Maybe someone here knows what it could have been used for previously?

Nice runs! Will you be using hot net for fencing?
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Sep 3, 2013 7:48 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I don't mind the questions, that's why I started the thread. Smiling Your coop sounds interesting, and I think it'll work great!

We're planning to keep 50 to 60 egg laying birds at a time. And occasionally we'll do a run of meat birds which will be only 2 months at a time and perhaps 40 to 50 meat breed birds. Eggs are a valuable food for us so we try to keep our flocks healthy, strong and happy. We've been keeping about 20 hens for some time and honestly, they aren't providing enough eggs for our family of 8. So we're leveling up. Smiling

For fencing we will not be using the hot net. I've seen it and I'm just not a fan. What I am a fan of, however, is the welded wire fencing that you can buy at the farm supply stores. It's the stuff that has thin wire welded together in 2" tall x 1" wide rectangles. I like the 6 foot high version. It's as expensive as all get out but it lasts forever and doesn't need a charger. Big Grin
[Last edited by Trish - Sep 4, 2013 6:58 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #477663 (5)
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
OldGardener
Sep 4, 2013 9:11 AM CST
dave said: We've been keeping about 20 hens for some time and honestly, they aren't providing enough eggs for our family of 8. So we're leveling up. Smiling

For fencing we will not be using the hot net. I've seen it and I'm just not a fan. What I am a fan of, however, is the welded wire fencing that you can buy at the farm supply stores. It's the stuff that has thin wire welded together in 2" tall x 1" wide rectangles. I like the 6 foot high version. It's as expensive as all get out but it lasts forever and doesn't need a charger. Big Grin


We have 8 children combined spread out over 25 years and I remember well the amount of groceries required Big Grin We still all try to get together on Thanksgiving (along with the grandbabies) and that is definitely a 2 turkey day - with a lot of sides!

We'll only keep a dozen or so eggs birds now that most of the kids have long moved out and have their own families. But we do traditionally try to raise at least 1 set of (50) meat birds per year as well as our aging population of egg birds that we currently have here in So Cal.

For the past 3 years, we have been running hot sheep net with a solar charger for the sheep and goats in Tx and, so far, so good. But I would prefer welded wire as the net requires constant attention (weed height, damping down the perimeter of the fence line during the drought, etc). I do like the hot nets, though, for temp fencing - especially when testing out different layouts prior to installing permanent fencing.

On the fencing, is 6' working well in terms of coyotes? I see that some folks run a hot wire or strand of barbed wire above the welded wire fencing for extra protection. In your experience, is that necessary or is the 6' height adequate?
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Sep 4, 2013 9:26 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Good question on the coyotes. My original solution for coyotes (and dangerous packs of dogs) was a rifle but that is inconsistent and usually you can only fix the problem after the damage is done. Ask me how I know that. Sad So we invested in perimeter fencing, actually. I put up 4 foot high woven wire fence all around and that keeps out of our property nearly all 4 legged predators. It costs me a little over a dollar per foot and was money well spent. It's been years since we've seen a dog on our land.

Here's an old photo from our perimeter fence. (Pardon the tee shirt. This was from back when I was running DG)

Thumb of 2013-09-04/dave/aaeb22

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Sep 4, 2013 10:04 AM CST
Good fence! The only reason I'd put a hot wire over that would be to keep horses from leaning over it.
Porkpal
Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
Image
Trish
Sep 4, 2013 10:12 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

In Kerrville, a 4 foot fence wasn't tall enough to keep out the foxes (or the dogs, for that matter on one very sad day).

However, we've never had anything jump a 6 footer, although a bobcat stalked around and around once seeing if he dared. We see evidence of larger animals and know that the property is host to wolves, coyotes, bobcats, and more, but they really don't mess around in the homestead area.

Hawks, on the other hand....that's been a problem. I think we should consider a topper this time.
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Sep 4, 2013 10:13 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

It's true and the cows do occasionally lean over it to try to get at those delicious grasses that are clearly must be better than the beautiful grass they are standing on.

I've been thinking of running a 4 point barbed wire along the top of it all.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
Image
Newyorkrita
Sep 4, 2013 10:45 AM CST
Dave have you done meat birds before? Or are you only planning on starting once your new coop is done. The only way I have seen meat chickens being raised is in a larger chicken tracker which was then moved each morning.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Sep 4, 2013 11:00 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

We have raised meat birds several times. Feathers everywhere!
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
OldGardener
Sep 4, 2013 11:14 AM CST
Trish said:In Kerrville, a 4 foot fence wasn't tall enough to keep out the foxes (or the dogs, for that matter on one very sad day).

Hawks, on the other hand....that's been a problem. I think we should consider a topper this time.

We currently have ours screened in up top - very secure. We did, however, have to reinforce the perimeter at ground level due to a persistent coyote who kept trying to dig under to gain access.

For the coop in TX, I am trying to come up with another idea as it seems to me that the run I would like to have may be too large to screen in effectively without having to resort to additional vertical support. But, while I considered owls (will lock in at night), I had not given thought to hawks. I should have as we have a pair of nesting hawks in one of the backyard trees here in SoCal and I am all too aware of the danger they pose to wee critters.

I'll be curious to see what you come up with (and may borrow heavily from your ideas if that is okay nodding )
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
OldGardener
Sep 4, 2013 11:22 AM CST
dave said:We have raised meat birds several times. Feathers everywhere!


Do you use a cone? With the wings tucked and compressed, there is little to any feathers shed.

We finally settled on processing birds in the kitchen. With an extra deep sink, a well placed disposal to act as a cradle, and a well placed cutting board sealing off most of the opening at the top off the sink, all of the mess stays contained. Also, clean up is a snap!

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Sep 4, 2013 11:26 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

We've never used a cone but we definitely plan to in the future. It's been several years since we processed chickens. The feathers everywhere, though, was what happened after we plucked all the feathers off!

But last time I just skinned them and that works fine but we didn't get the skin, of course.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Sep 4, 2013 12:28 PM CST
We have quite a few types of hawk around here, several large enough to take adult hens, but there have been very few losses to hawks since I accidentally acquired a couple of roosters. They are much more alert than the hens and sound a timely warning when large birds fly over. Currently the roosters are in a separate rooster run but they are still effective.
Porkpal
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Sep 4, 2013 12:33 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

It really is amazing how quickly the roosters know when a hawk is nearby.

It also helps to not have any places for a hawk to roost. They like to sit and study their prey for a time before swooping down for the kill. So trees and power poles are perfect places for them to sit and think.

We lose a few chickens to hawks each year but thankfully it hasn't been a serious problem. I'm not sure what @Trish is talking about with a topper...
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
OldGardener
Sep 4, 2013 12:40 PM CST
Several companies sell poultry netting (soft, thin rope woven as a net) for use as a "ceiling" in the run.. Perhaps this is what @Trish is referring to?
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
OldGardener
Sep 4, 2013 12:42 PM CST
Here is an example: http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Fence-Netting-and-Runs/A... though I have never used this company.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
Image
Newyorkrita
Sep 4, 2013 12:44 PM CST
That looks like it would be very effective!

Page 1 of 7 • 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Farming forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by sunnyvalley and is called "Hair-raising"