Chicken Coop in a Small Space

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by simonek, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. simonek

    simonek Junior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm wanting to build a chicken coup in a small space (I only want to keep bantams). The space I have is approximately 900mm wide and about 10 metres long. I was thinking about paving that area and planting some ground coverings in the paver gaps for the chooks to munch on.... I could put the coop on stilts, maybe up to a metre off the ground and have a long ramp leading up to it. But the coop itself could only be about 500mm wide (so I could get past it to clean all areas) but extremely long. I would then have to enclose the area with chicken wire to protect them. I'm able to let them out of the area for up to 3 hours each day and all day on the weekends.

    Does this sound suitable or would it be uncomfortable/cruel for them? They would make a great addition to my yard but don't want to confine them in an area that is too small.
     
  2. garyb

    garyb Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    Sounds like it should be big enough for half a dozen bantams - especially if they can range for a few hours a day. Why can't you have the run directly on the ground?

    Regards, Gary
     
  3. Frank

    Frank Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    I wouldnt bother with the pavers or groundcover in the spaces at all. The chooks will polish off all the cover in a morning's workout. You will never see a blade of grass growing in there! Your pavers will be constantly dirty with muck. Let the chickens do their thing and allow them to scratch, bathe in the dirt/sand and scrape all the muck out weekly and put it straight into the compost bin. Let them out to forage but remember if you have mulch/tan bark and neat garden beds, be ready to see them turn the place over and create a mess. The chooks will scratch out big holes and throw any garden mulch/tan bark/ litter willy-nilly. They will turn over the soil for you for free and keep all the insects in check! You'll have to sweep up after them of course - but thats a small price to pay...
     
  4. simonek

    simonek Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    Thanks for the advice.

    My only problem is the space is along the side fence. I thought by having pavers I would be able to clean it better to ensure the odour is kept down so I don't upset the neighbours! :axe: They are really great people and totally wouldn't mind the chickens, but I'm sure the smell would bother them. Would it be really smelly if there weren't pavers?

    I also have to fit a compost bin and 2 x 200 ltr water tanks down the side. There is also a hot water system (right at the back out of the way) and a small a/c system half way down... would this take up too much space?
     
  5. Frank

    Frank Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    I dont think there will be any smell unless you crawl around on your hands and knees sniffing inside the coop(!) Certainly the neigbours will only notice some sqwalking when the chickens lay an egg. Thats about it. When you consider that most battery hens are assigned three quarters of an A4 sheet of paper to live out their entire adult lives - I would consider your space palatial in comparison! Having said that, it might be worth checking with local council regulations as some Councils insist that chickens be kept in an enclosure 1 metre away from the boundary fence with your neighbour. Best offer the neighbours a dozen eggs every now and then to keep them on side :D
     
  6. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    The amount of space if fine.

    Omit the pavers.

    If you keep the chooks in that space on bare soil, eventually it will stink. I am guaranteeing that! The droppings will eventually foul the soil.

    But this problem can be eliminated by putting a bale of straw in there once every month or two. Unless you get a lot of rain, most of the chicken poop will stick to and dry on the straw rather than the soil. Once every month or two, rake all the straw out and put it in your compost or right into the garden as mulch. Replace it with another bale.

    You don't need to waste time tearing it all apart and fluffing it for them. That is their job. Just open the bale and separate it into 4-6 chunks. The chooks will have a good time kicking it apart and picking out any seeds.

    To keep it fluffed and dry, give the chookies a small scoop of grain daily and scatter it widely into the straw. They will spend all day searching out every single morsel. You can do the same with peas, berries and vegetable parings. They will eat what they like and the rest will mix in with the straw.

    If you don't encourage them to keep scratching the straw, they will just walk on top of the straw and it will matt down. You will probably have to change it more often this way.

    Another source of entertainment for the chooks is to hang a lettuce inside the pen and let them peck at it. You can also toss in various weeds and herbs for them.

    Sue
     
  7. simonek

    simonek Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    Thanks Sue and Frank. :D

    I've found another location to keep the compost bin and water tanks so it won't take up anymore space down the side... good for them! In the next couple of weekends I will begin fixing chicken wire down the side and also build them a little coop to lay in. I will probably take pic's and start one of those photo blogs... will let you know the site if I do so!

    I'm really excited about this, just have to finish off some other projects first... I really appreciate your help.
     
  8. Frank

    Frank Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    [​IMG] Filming a segment on Chicken Tractors

    It's a shame you dont have more space on your property. We've actually finished shooting a DVD on "Establishing a Food Forest" at the Permaculture Research Institute with Geoff Lawton and he keeps his chickens in a mobile "chicken tractor" cage made of plastic irrigation pipes, covered with chicken wire. He has a whole series of chicken tractors at work on the farm. I'll post a clip on YOUTUBE in the coming weeks and link to this forum so you can see how the tractor and chickens are used to not only cultivate the soil but through a series of tractor rotations you can see the whole evolution of a food forest growing behind the relentless slow march of the chooks.

    .
     
  9. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    For some situations, there is the popular 'Chicken Moat'. You make a wire chicken run all around your perimeter for the chickens to run in, and they stop encroaching weeds and bugs. MAN THE DRAWBRIDGE! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!

    Here's a drawing:
    https://blog.makezine.com/archive/2006/0 ... _moat.html

    Sue
     
  10. Frank

    Frank Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    [​IMG]

    :D :D :D

    Reminds me of Stalag 17. You'll also need some searchlights and guard dogs in case the chickens decide to make a run for it! :D
     
  11. kathleenmc

    kathleenmc Junior Member

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    Re: Chicken Coop in a Small Space

    Hiya....I used an old small kids swingset with the swings removed. Straight onto the dirt and an egg box on the outside for easy access. The girls love it (5 bantams). Deep littered every 3 months and then used on garden. Have given them an extra run for winter and then plant that out in summer for tomatoes and pumpkins....let chooks back in after harvesting....great extra compost/soil turnover. Goodluck with the design.

    K :mrgreen:
     

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