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Anyone Raise Chickens?

ChrisM

Mostly harmless.
1,180
1,411
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
South Carolina
Wife and I want to start raising chickens soon. Does anyone here have input on where to purchase a coop and run? We can put it together, I just don't want to do it from scratch. Wife wants a Carolina Coop but they're expensive as all get out. We eat a ton of eggs so we'd be looking for something a little larger.
 
611
603
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Kansas City, Missouri
If you're trying to keep it cheap you can get pretty creative. You just have to keep the birds in and the predators out. Dog houses, dog kennels, T-post and chicken wire, old cabinents. Just kick around on Facebook or Craigslist to see what's out there. My brother has a small shed like you can buy at Home Depot with a 10x10ish fenced area. Some times people will sell those sheds. You can move them with 3-4 guys and a flat trailer pretty easy.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
6,973
4,293
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Illinois
Two things to consider with a chicken coup. What you want to keep in and what you have to keep out. Several of our neighbors have built coups from on line kits. The coyote's appreciated the snacks. If you have racoons, coyotes, wild dogs or other critters in the area, build to keep them out. Chain link fence panels from a farmers supply do well for the outside perimeter.
 

ChrisM

Mostly harmless.
1,180
1,411
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
South Carolina
Two things to consider with a chicken coup. What you want to keep in and what you have to keep out. Several of our neighbors have built coups from on line kits. The coyote's appreciated the snacks. If you have racoons, coyotes, wild dogs or other critters in the area, build to keep them out. Chain link fence panels from a farmers supply do well for the outside perimeter.
I've got plenty of ammo for a chicken coup. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

Sorry I couldn't help myself.

It'll be located close to a small forest, so I'll have to contend with all of them. Good thing to keep in mind. Fence panels seem like a pretty easy solution.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
6,973
4,293
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Illinois
Yep, chain link panels make the job easy. I had to convince our neighbor the critter who got into their coop was not my dog. She was a gentle fun loving Springer Spaniel......unless you were a bird. Then, game on. :ohdamn:
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
619
730
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
For the run, bury some vinyl-coated fence about a foot deep to keep animals from tunneling under the fence. Think about covering the run with chicken wire to keep out hawks - we covered our 10x10 chicken run but not our duck run, as it was much larger. We built our coops from tongue & groove boards or T-111, but a small metal shed would work. If you have a Tractor Supply near you, they sell pre-built coops. Check if you have a local Agway, Blue Seal, etc. feed store, as they may have coops. We made our nesting boxes out of scrap plywood & boards. We used hanging feeders so mice were less likely to steal the feed. Both our coops had wood floors, and we put them on concrete blocks to keep them off the ground. We built them so the entire back wall was a pair of doors, for easy access to the feeder, waterer, and nesting boxes, and for cleaning out the wood shavings we used for bedding.

If you can make a pond, think about ducks instead of chickens. A wading pool with ramps in & out should work. I think duck eggs taste better than chicken eggs and make better baked goods. We raised Khaki Campbell ducks, and they were very productive (~200 eggs/yr./duck), though it looks like Metzer Farms (one of the biggest US waterfowl hatcheries) has a couple breeds that are better. https://www.metzerfarms.com/compare-duck-breeds.html
You can get chicks or ducklings easily, but if you have small kids, buying an incubator & eggs can be fun, though you can't control the male/female mix. The newly-hatched birds tend to "imprint" on who they see, and will follow you around even when grown.

For either chickens or ducks, if you want them to keep laying all year you need artificial light (on a timer) when the days get shorter. You may also need a heater for their water depending on how cold it gets where you are. So, try to plan on running electricity to the coop.
 

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