Farm Chicken question.

ibetiny

Senior Member
Getting ready to build/buy a chicken coop this week. When looking at premade coops I found that some are rated for up to 15 chickens but only have 5 nesting boxes. I thought each hen had to have its own nesting box. There were 2 6ft roosting bars for the sleeping chickens. And as long as I have your attention, how big should I plan for the run?

Thank you in advance good timebombers.
 

Sherrynboo

Veteran Member
I have 8 hens with two nesting boxes and no problems. Occasionally one will create her own nest on the floor then they all go to that one. Mine live in a hoop house coop with the hen house attached to it. They also get supervised free range time.
 

Hfcomms

EN66iq
You don't need that many nesting boxes. I box for every three or four hens is about right and even if you have multiple boxes sometimes they take a liking to just one of the boxes and everyone wants one. Don't buy a premade coop, build it yourself. As expensive as lumber is right now it's going to be cheaper to make your own. Just about every kit or coop you can buy is overly optimistic as to how many chickens it can fit. As far as the run goes I like 10 square feet per chicken to give them enough room although many others will say it doesn't have to be that much.

What I did was just use an existing shed for one wall and then built the coop off of that. It worked out really good and the chickens were content.

IMG_6819.jpg
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
You could give them a hundred nesting boxes, and they will still all try to pile into one. :lol:

How many chickens are you going to have?
This, exactly! I found that for up to 25 hens, a piece of 4'x4' plywood leaned against the wall at the back of the coop worked better than the fancy nest boxes! There was enough room for several hen at once, and I rarely got dirty or broken eggs.

But if you're going to use nestboxes, you don't need more than one for every 5 hens.

Summerthyme
 

Greenspode

Veteran Member
I have kept as many as 25 in 12 x 12 coops, with a 12 x 24 outdoor attached run. They were free ranged during the day during good weather. That was plenty of space, and I never felt they were crowded at all. It might have been a too small without the outdoor attachment, or if they didn't free range a lot, though.

25 hens - 8 nesting boxes - all the eggs in the same 2 boxes every day!
 

BeeMan

Just buzzin along
Ask 10 people any similar question and you’ll likely get at least 15 different answers.
That said, approximations are in order, and then there are MANY variables involved.
Two square feet per hen might work, if you're keeping bantams, or just keeping them up at night.
Four or five square feet, per bird, isn’t overly large for most people and their birds, if you’re keeping them up “all the time”.
Crowding them tightly for a long period of time can lead to “pecking” which can bring about serious problems. To much room rarely leads to problems.
Most of them will pick a favorite nest box, and others have said, some will want to use the same one. 3 to 5 birds per nest is usually acceptable, depending on who you ask.
I currently have 30 hens arguing over three nest boxes, and ignoring 6 other boxes sitting beside them.
YMMV so try something and if it doesn't work, try something else.
Better to be big on square footage and short on nests than vice versa.
 

zeker

Veteran Member
You could give them a hundred nesting boxes, and they will still all try to pile into one. :lol:

How many chickens are you going to have?
I have 2 girls stacked on top of each other

in the same box

even tho there is ample boxes for them

I have 10 girls and 3 boxes

just now found an egg out in the closed in, run

even with a broody girl commandeering the 'fav' box

she just sits beside the box till the next egg is laid
 

Walrus Whisperer

Hope in chains...
I seriously advise against buying a coop. The way they are made is substandard, short screws, substandard wood/ plastic. Build it yourself, it will last for a very long time.
Put plenty of roost space in. A strange phenomenon I have noticed is that they ALL want to roost as close to the human entrance as possible. I don't get it, but that's what they've done for 11 years now. I have 11 nest boxes for 24 girls, they will carry on all kinds of machinations to get the other lady OUT of her preferred nest box. You do not want a rooster for their happiness, crowing bugs the neighbors and I've had to eat every roo I've ever had. Till they are past at least 1 yr old, they can & will view you as a threat to the girls and attack you or kids. Hurry up and get the wood before it gets any pricier!
I need to replace my people & supply ramp into the coop, all I need is a sheet of plywood buts it's getting very pricey. Lowes here has bundles of slim wood slats that make nice cross pieces for a ramp to keep you from slipping, many other uses also for them. I Intend to treat it with a few coats of used motor oil to make it last a longer time. I already replaced the chickens ramp for their pophole. I made their internal door only openable from the inside, raccoons have hands. I made it so it's a piece of wood with a finger hole, it slides up and down and fits into guide wood pieces on the inside. A raccoon can't get it open.
That's all I can think of! Some chickens are very personable, others aren't. This is the friendliest flock I've ever had in 11 years, half want to be on me or lurking/waiting for a short petting. There's two that will fly up to my shoulders, I'm only 5'1" now so.... You will have favorites, don't worry about it. :turk2: :turk2: :turk2:
 

Cyclonemom

Veteran Member
If you buy a pre-made tractor, take into consideration what happens during winter.

If it is meant to be moved daily, can you move it through snow?

If not, is it easy to clean out the poo that freezes and piles up?

How will you run electricity to it for heated drinkers and supplemental lighting?

Is it built like a tank to keep critters out? Never underestimate the ingenuity of hungry varmints.
 

West

Senior nut
Let them free range all day! Chickens will roost in their coop if it's safe with good high roosts off the floor or ground. They will return every night on their own. Also feed them in their run attached to coop.

Shoot or thump all predators that even threaten your flock.
 

Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
....even with a broody girl commandeering the 'fav' box

she just sits beside the box till the next egg is laid
When a hen goes "broody" she will sit in a box and kind of zone out. Even then she will get up every so often to eat and drink. Doubt that many boxes will get fill with broody hens all at the same time.

They will poop in the boxes so please change the straw often. This will also help with mite control.

Chickens also like to roost together. They find a perch or spot and all crush in together at night.

Chickens don't feed at night. Rats and mice do. So take in your feed at night. A metal trash can will work. It will save on feed costs and mice and rats can be destructive.

Make sure your coop is predator proof.

Not much run fencing will stop a bear but it should stop or discourage a dog. Some predators fly so hens need cover to run under. Some use netting but I never did.
 

Walrus Whisperer

Hope in chains...
You can break a broody with an all wire cage, the air flow under her will dissuade her at some point. If she insist on being broody, obtain a small handful of very young chicks, leave them in a box around or over the hen all night. They chirp and she hears them so by morning she may be amenable to having them stuffed under her and not attack them. Every time xcept once this has worked for me. I have two hens now with chicks that I bought at tractor supply, both went broody at the same time.
People don't know that when a hen is sitting on eggs, the chicks nearing hatch start talking when they break into the airsack. Mama talks back to them, it's the sweetest sounds in the world, mama murmuring to her babies.....
 

Walrus Whisperer

Hope in chains...
I built my coop two feet above the ground to help in case of aerial attack, they all run underneath when the local hawk flys sorties....plus it's shade in the summer
 

sierra don

Veteran Member
I just finished building this yesterday (will but a front and back on the hen house a little later).

2 livestock panels at $24 bucks each, 100 feel to 6' high 2 x 4 fencing $159 bucks, fencing staples $6 bucks and a 12 x 16 brown tarp $25...........total dollar cost was $238.

Used jack-pine/lodge pole trees I cut down a few years ago and used a draw knife to debark then. The corner poles I will leave the height on them and put some bird homes on top, the rest I will cut down to just above fence level.

All other wood I used was scrap wood that I pick up here and their

The yard is 17 feet wide by 30 feet long.

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chicken-pen.JPG

chicken-yard-01.JPG

chicken-yard-02.JPG

chicken-yard-03.JPG

chicken-yard-05.JPG
 

Dobbin

Faithful Steed
Owner has had up to 12 hens-1 Rooster. The house has five boxes. Currently 9 hens - and that rooster.

About half the hens actually lay - they're now about 4 years old and while they do lay at that age, they don't lay every day. Maybe every second or third day.

Still, the hens themselves "move" eggs to consolidate a "clutch." One hen that is "brooding" will sit the clutch. Owner's hens that do lay "vary" in egg color. So usual is when one hen is sitting on five eggs they're obviously from three or more hens.

Owner keeps asking - "How do the hens move the eggs - it's not like they really have 'fingers'?"

Dobbin
 

Martinhouse

Veteran Member
I've noticed that often the hen hanging around the front of the box isn't waiting her turn, She's waiting for the egg to be laid and then she's the one who makes all the racket announcing it, not the one who laid the egg.
 

Barry Natchitoches

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Getting ready to build/buy a chicken coop this week. When looking at premade coops I found that some are rated for up to 15 chickens but only have 5 nesting boxes. I thought each hen had to have its own nesting box. There were 2 6ft roosting bars for the sleeping chickens. And as long as I have your attention, how big should I plan for the run?

Thank you in advance good timebombers.
Allow me to chuckle profusely before I post my reply.

:jstr::jstr::jstr::jstr::jstr:

OK.

Now, to share a little bit of chicken wisdom, learned after raising those cantankerous bags of feathers for eleven years.

:chkn::chkn::chkn::chkn::chkn:

it doesn’t matter how many nests you have for the ladies - they will only use one or two of them. The rest will go unused.

I see - on a daily basis - hens cackle and complain on and on because they are ready to lay their egg, and there is somebody else already in the most favored nest. I have watched as a second hen climbs in to the most favored nest to lay her egg right along side the other hen - even though there is an identical nest right next to the one they are fighting over that is vacant and ready for use.

In fact, I have watched while - for a period of time - one nest is favored over another, and the girls would rather wait for the most favored nest than use an identical, empty one right next to the nest most favored today - but then, for no good reason, the “most favored nest” changes, and they all begin to fight over another nest instead. Usually, a nest seems to remain the most favored one for anywhere from one to three months before they all decide to switch to another nest. But it does seem that when one finally switches to another nest, they all do. And the loud cackling complaints, doubling inside the nest to lay, and even occasional fights over the nests continues.

No matter which nest they want to all use.

They are like children who all want to play with the same toy.
 

Walrus Whisperer

Hope in chains...
I forgot to mention the roosting chicken wars they have when a group are all new, especially. I made roosts with a poop board underneath of it. No matter how much space you give them for roosting, they fight over where they are, object to whoever is next to them, jostle for "their" space they feel is theirs. The poop board can keep them from being hurt when they lose the jostling for position. It eventually calms down a bit as they get older, but EVERY single nite at dusk they do it all over again. I have noticed that the most desirable spaces are nearest to the door the keeper goes in and out of. I don't understand it! Even when they are still small, they do that. It makes ya want to tear your hair out.
:hof::hof::hof:
 
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zeker

Veteran Member
When a hen goes "broody" she will sit in a box and kind of zone out. Even then she will get up every so often to eat and drink. Doubt that many boxes will get fill with broody hens all at the same time.

They will poop in the boxes so please change the straw often. This will also help with mite control.

Chickens also like to roost together. They find a perch or spot and all crush in together at night.

Chickens don't feed at night. Rats and mice do. So take in your feed at night. A metal trash can will work. It will save on feed costs and mice and rats can be destructive.

Make sure your coop is predator proof.

Not much run fencing will stop a bear but it should stop or discourage a dog. Some predators fly so hens need cover to run under. Some use netting but I never did.
my outdoor enclosure is an 8 ft fence around trees

I left the trees up so the birds cant be seen by the predators

in 13 yrs I only saw 1 crow with an interest in the girls

I have owls hawks and eagles in my area

including this guy who hit my window when he was being harassed by crows

and had to be removed to my shed to wake up

he is a northern goshawk

he recovered and went his way
 

Attachments

etdeb

Veteran Member
This, exactly! I found that for up to 25 hens, a piece of 4'x4' plywood leaned against the wall at the back of the coop worked better than the fancy nest boxes! There was enough room for several hen at once, and I rarely got dirty or broken eggs.

But if you're going to use nestboxes, you don't need more than one for every 5 hens.

Summerthyme
So the lean to is all you used? We have 10 hens and 3 nesting boxes. They all use on and the eggs are filthy. They just need to hid behind the lean to?
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Yes, I've used the lean-to on its own, and it worked amazingly well. Try it, and if it works like it has for us, you won't need the nestboxes...

Summerthyme
 

etdeb

Veteran Member
Yes, I've used the lean-to on its own, and it worked amazingly well. Try it, and if it works like it has for us, you won't need the nestboxes...

Summerthyme
With my lucK I will look behind and big fat snake and hurt myself trying to get away. I will try it thought because the eggs are so nasty and we do have breakage. I just wish I would have a broddie hen.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Well... make it so you can easily tip it forward to look behind it first... I'd definitely use the "redneck lean-to" if I had snakes... tipping it out and checking sure beats reaching into a nestbox blind, or bending down and putting your face at snake level!

Summerthyme
 

Walrus Whisperer

Hope in chains...
With my lucK I will look behind and big fat snake and hurt myself trying to get away. I will try it thought because the eggs are so nasty and we do have breakage. I just wish I would have a broddie hen.
Make sure there's straw to cushion the eggs laid there. I've got one girl now who poops on the egg she lays, nobody else does that. I've had at least one girl every year that poops on or with their egg. I don't know if its a malfunction or what... :shr:
 

China Connection

TB Fanatic
etdeb

In general they will not start to sit without say about 10 eggs.

So say you only have a few chickens then you might have to wait a number of days for the egg numbers to mount up before one will get broody and start to sit the eggs.
 

RememberGoliad

Senior Member
I've noticed that often the hen hanging around the front of the box isn't waiting her turn, She's waiting for the egg to be laid and then she's the one who makes all the racket announcing it, not the one who laid the egg.
Know what she's saying?

"Look, look, look look LOOK an EGG!"

:rofl:
 

WanderLore

Veteran Member
I got my last load of chicks going on 3 years ago. I only got 2 hatch babies last year. One was a rooster who hatched in my hand and he is very gentle.
After years of losing birds to varmints, this is what I did. I bought a 10x10 dog kernel, about 8 feet tall I think. I had old fencing I cut and put around the bottom of the kennel. Then used old fencing and snow fence around all that and over the top.
To make a house, I had an old picnic table that was broke up and some fence posts.
I dug 4 holes and set the posts in a rectangle. Then nailed the old picnic table boards over that. Old barn wood from the barn made a slant roof. We picked up some long plastic panels and nailed that all over the wood. Snow fence nailed around open small spots near roof. Old screen door, and board nailed for roost. Some old shop boxes for boxes.
The chickens watched us with excitement lol. The day we were done and let them in there (it's built into the kennel) was quite a party. They love it.
I took old wool junk blankets and wired them to sunny side inside. This keeps out sun and snow. They seem to really love their house and stay pretty comfy. They have the kennel yard and I let them out few hours at night.
Cheap and maybe not the best but it has worked good for 3 years.
 

Coulter

Veteran Member
I just finished building this yesterday (will but a front and back on the hen house a little later).

2 livestock panels at $24 bucks each, 100 feel to 6' high 2 x 4 fencing $159 bucks, fencing staples $6 bucks and a 12 x 16 brown tarp $25...........total dollar cost was $238.

Used jack-pine/lodge pole trees I cut down a few years ago and used a draw knife to debark then. The corner poles I will leave the height on them and put some bird homes on top, the rest I will cut down to just above fence level.

All other wood I used was scrap wood that I pick up here and their

The yard is 17 feet wide by 30 feet long.

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View attachment 262792

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If you leave the bark on does it cause the poles to rot?

How deep did you plant the poles?

Post hole digger?

Thanks
 
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