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Thread: Advice for new chicken coop

  1. #9
    Bacchus's Avatar
    Bacchus is offline Rooter
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    We have 6 hens - nominally they are my daughters (who's 10) - and we barely have enough each week as she keeps selling them to family and neighbours (at 1 per half dozen) She even has her own labels made out! We are planning to get 2 more - the coup (wooden) could hold 10 or so I think.

    The main problem we have is that the outer, fox-proof, cage is fairly big so not easy to move and even though it's half covered with tarpaulin the ground can get wet and mud they generate from scraping is amazing. We put lots of straw down (thankfully free) but still, we are considering letting them wander out of the run for a while. It would be more interesting for them.

    So something to consider is:
    1. Do you want an enclosed run of some type to keep the foxes out. If so
    a. will it be small enough to move easily so they get new ground to scrape or
    b. will it be a more permanent fixture and then you "de-mud" in some other way.

    Happy henning

    EDIT Fane Vally agricultural supplies - just up from the small Tesco's sells layers crumb for about 7.50 per 25kg bag.
    Last edited by Bacchus; 18-02-2018 at 10:15 AM.

  2. #10
    mrsbusy is offline Sprouter
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    Total Mite Kill and a pressure spray from Aldi and a disposable face mask.
    Be very careful if you buy second hand wooden coop.
    I have both wooden and plastic - a second hand wooden coop, a second hand Eglu cube, an Eglu Go-Up, and a purpose built pent shed and run. I needed to change from an Eglu Cube because me rheumatics were not appreciating grovelling on the floor with a hen under one arm trying to get out of the run - okay the cube bit is raised up. And you can get stand up runs for Eglus too - it is worth looking at their website but buy second hand. So I now have a shed that I can stand up in, can easily minister to my hens when they are roosting. I got my Eglu's second hand on eBay; also Gumtree is very good - but still not cheap. I really liked the cube and if you are not bothered by getting in the run on hands and knees go for it. The cube is meant to hold up to 10 hens but I reckon they would have to be bantams or small breed - think I had 8 max and they were utility type. The Go-Up will hold 3 hens and I have kept it for a broody which worked well.
    Someone gave me a wooden hen house - it is very pretty and altho I power washed and scrubbed and painted it all out - having dismantled every bit...the red mite infestation was invisibly there! I had to spray it with the total mite kill and OMG the red mites came out of the paintwork all right. I had to repeat the treatment 3 times with an interval to get the juveniles/unhatched - just like you treat kids for headlice - and then it was good to go-so I always keep Red Mite Kill on the top shelf and check the ends of perches constantly. When I started I thought diatomaceous earth would do the trick - it is certainly what a lot of people advise - but I found the mites just laughed at it.
    The new wooden shed was treated with creosote substitute by the supplier - so far not had any mites in it but only had it 1 year. The cube also got red mite infestation - the roost bars have lots of little channels underneath and the mites were hiding there - so careful inspection required but easy enough to treat. I also found the wooden coop easy to treat.
    So I guess it is whatever suits you best. If you go for say an Eglu second hand, you can always sell it on and get probably what you paid for it - but wooden ones go for very little.

  3. #11
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    I'm planning on getting some chickens this year too and have been reading anything and everything....and must admit the stuff about red mite had MY skin crawling too But this seemed to be the only negative! Everything else seemed to be positive Scooping poop doesn't bother me at all as I've had animals all my life...and with chooks I just think of all the lovely fertiliser for my compost heap!

    Where do red mites come from in the first place?

    I turn 50 in March and hubby Neil said last week that as I couldn't have a puppy (working hours not suitable) then he'd been looking into getting some poles, netting and buying me a chicken coop I cannot decide on what breed or type to get either Part of me is thinking 3-4 bantams (silkies, pekins possibly) or 3 larger hens ('normal' sized LOL). Found a good supplier *Durham Hens* who breed various types and vaccinate them etc and also take chickens for holidays when the owners go away. I think Neil's regretting saying I could have some as I do have a tendancy to fully research things first.

  4. #12
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    I'm looking at Utility breeds. Light Sussex /RIR / Vorwerk / Scotts Gray. Needs to have bare legs and
    weather tolerant (unless they are in a covered run)
    Feathers and mud do not mix, and they will always find the mud!!
    Last edited by 4Shoes; 23-02-2018 at 01:38 PM.
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  5. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Shoes View Post
    ...and they will always find the mud!!
    I had a dog like that!!!

    Yes, the feathered feet and muddy winters DID cross my mind. Neil is going to build a really big run anyway (20+ feet long) but they WILL be free range a lot of the time as well. I should pop down to Durham Hens one day and have a chat with the staff and go and look at a few different breeds and varieties
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  6. #14
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    Gilly, you mentioned Silkies? They look cute but I don't think they're very good layers. The one I had wasn't - but he turned out to be a cockerel. Fluffy had been dumped in the woods and it took me 2 days to catch him. A few days later he started to crow. Apparently they are also very difficult to sex until they're about 6 months old!
    Do your research first, before deciding on the breed. Do you want them for eggs or to look cute?
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  7. #15
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    A bit of both as I absolutely HATE the way eggs are produced....even free range? Can I totally trust the producers to have happy hens and their welfare at heart? At least if they are my birds I know they're well looked after and have a good life.....and I get to have some fun pets at the same time

    At first, as Neil is not a big fan of eggs, I thought I'd go for a breed/variety that lays 'ok' amounts and won't have me swamped in eggs but I've been looking at a lot of recipes and I think I'll have no problems using eggs up....and I have a couple of lovely gardener customers who come into our shop who've given me plants in the past who I've jokingly said will be finding boxes of eggs on their doorstep if my ladies go mad with their laying! Starting to think a 'normal-sized' hen is what I'll be going for....with Silkies and Pekins it wasn't the low amount of eggs which had me faltering but everyone saying just how broody they keep going! Neil said well just give them some eggs to hatch....until I said knowing our luck 90% would be cockerels and would HE be prepared to dispatch, pluck and eat them?
    And then there's ex-batts too....the only thing which worries me about getting them is if they're constantly ill because of being used so intensively as egg-machines Yet all the years we've been fostering cats for our friend we have always gone for the old knackered ones.....why stop at just cats?

    I'm over-thinking everything, aren't I? *as usual!* Just get the darned chickens Gill!!!! We're probably talking about late May/June before I can get my girls anyway as we need to finish pulling down the polytunnel (before it falls down itself!) and then Neil can build a run and I can get a coop sorted.....and my veg seedlings can get a bit of growth going!
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  8. #16
    muck lover is offline Rooter
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    I’m going to do it. I was thinking a large permanent enclosed run with chicken house inside. I need it fox proofed. I’ve seen a fox in my driveway a couple of times this winter on cold frosty evenings. I would just have to deal with the mud.
    I’m still working with a couple of very early starts per week but I have some offspring still at home who could open the hatch in the mornings when I’m not there.using a lot of eggs totally not a problem.
    Letting hens out for a wee wander might be an idea but I have a dog who is easily cowed so they would need supervised.
    It’s not about the money.... I know the figures wouldn’t add up but I am thinking of it more as a hobby.
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