Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

The place to discuss chicken coops and runs.

Moderators: Marigold, victorias poultry

thematthewtaylor
Newcomer / Hatchling
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:29 am

Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by thematthewtaylor »

Hello,

I am planning to have a couple of chickens in my urban garden. Would appreciate some advice.

We do not want Chickens to take over the garden so think 2 will be enough. Want to keep minimise maintenance so thinking of going for an Omlet Go Up or something.

We are thinking of creating a space at the end of our garden and would appreciate some ideas on how to best prepare this space.

My initial thoughts are:
- Breakout half of the patio area
- How should I prepare the ground?
-- Add wood chips to subsoil?
-- Add gravel and then chips?
-- Weed membrane?
-- Turf the area and move the run around the garden?

There are foxes in the area so was thinking of getting the Omlet Go Up with 2m run which seems very fox proof for night. Will then construct a fence (1m ish) that can be moved to create an area for them to wander in the day.

Lots of ideas at the moment so help to converge towards a preferred option is much appreciated.

Thanks,
Matthew
Attachments
Matt - 1 (4).jpeg
Matt - 1 (4).jpeg (216.8 KiB) Viewed 160 times
Icemaiden
Full Member
Posts: 797
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:05 am

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by Icemaiden »

Hi Matthew.
You've come to the right place. Pour yourself a mug of something & have a good mooch through the Chicken houses, runs & equipment board on the forum. There's heaps of information & advice here to give you ideas.

Bear in mind that foxes will eat your hens in broad daylight as well as at night, so their run will need to give them enough room for all of the time that you're not outside with them...
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
bigyetiman
Full Member
Posts: 1307
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 8:27 pm

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by bigyetiman »

Hi and welcome, have a good look around the forum and see peoples idea and runs etc they have created.
I know many people that have lost hens to foxes in broad daylight, and it takes only a minute, so I would definitely have a covered run, a bird of prey can strike pretty quickly as well.
One thing you can come up with ideas and change as you see things on the forum, we have all done that, seen someone else's set up and thought "why didn't I do that"
User avatar
dinosaw
Part of the Flock
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:03 pm

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by dinosaw »

Hi Matthew

I'd echo what Icemaiden and BYM said. I'd also advise you not to get two chickens, get three, it will save you a lot of trouble if one of your chickens happens to die in the early stages of your chicken keeping, which is not uncommon.

I think we have always recommended 2sqm per bird in run space on here, as it helps reduce the worm burden and behavioural problems so a 3m x 2m run for three birds would ideally be what you were looking at. Even if you decide to go with two birds I wouldn't advise anything smaller than that myself.

The good news is that looking at your photo you seem to have a great foundation to build a cheap run with not a lot of effort. I would leave the pavers, they will stop a fox digging in and make it easier for you to give your run periodic deep cleans. You just need to put a run material such as aubiose on top at a depth of about 6 inches.

What you could do is use your existing fence and shed to form two sides of your run, then all you need to do is build a framework from 2x2 timber to form the other two sides, mesh it with 18g weld mesh. Your fence and shed give you a base to screw your frames into and you will probably need to break a couple of pavers to anchor them on the near side. From there is depends on how far you want to go, you could simply put mesh across the top of the run or build a little pitched roof to keep it dry, which is better but dearer and more effort. Obviously you would need to make a door for access.

Alternatively you could go for something like this and then reinforce the bottom half of it with better quality mesh as a fox would rip through this in no time.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CHICKEN-RUN- ... Sw8gVX4QXe
thematthewtaylor
Newcomer / Hatchling
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:29 am

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by thematthewtaylor »

Icemaiden wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:56 pm
Hi Matthew.
You've come to the right place. Pour yourself a mug of something & have a good mooch through the Chicken houses, runs & equipment board on the forum. There's heaps of information & advice here to give you ideas.

Bear in mind that foxes will eat your hens in broad daylight as well as at night, so their run will need to give them enough room for all of the time that you're not outside with them...
Thank you. Looks like a bigger run with roof is the way forward. Ideally wanted to avoid a roof as it feels like they are in a cage.
thematthewtaylor
Newcomer / Hatchling
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:29 am

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by thematthewtaylor »

bigyetiman wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:23 pm
Hi and welcome, have a good look around the forum and see peoples idea and runs etc they have created.
I know many people that have lost hens to foxes in broad daylight, and it takes only a minute, so I would definitely have a covered run, a bird of prey can strike pretty quickly as well.
One thing you can come up with ideas and change as you see things on the forum, we have all done that, seen someone else's set up and thought "why didn't I do that"
What birds of prey will attack chickens in London?! Didn’t even think of that.

Will definitely have a good look at other designs.
thematthewtaylor
Newcomer / Hatchling
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:29 am

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by thematthewtaylor »

dinosaw wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:40 pm
Hi Matthew

I'd echo what Icemaiden and BYM said. I'd also advise you not to get two chickens, get three, it will save you a lot of trouble if one of your chickens happens to die in the early stages of your chicken keeping, which is not uncommon.

I think we have always recommended 2sqm per bird in run space on here, as it helps reduce the worm burden and behavioural problems so a 3m x 2m run for three birds would ideally be what you were looking at. Even if you decide to go with two birds I wouldn't advise anything smaller than that myself.

The good news is that looking at your photo you seem to have a great foundation to build a cheap run with not a lot of effort. I would leave the pavers, they will stop a fox digging in and make it easier for you to give your run periodic deep cleans. You just need to put a run material such as aubiose on top at a depth of about 6 inches.

What you could do is use your existing fence and shed to form two sides of your run, then all you need to do is build a framework from 2x2 timber to form the other two sides, mesh it with 18g weld mesh. Your fence and shed give you a base to screw your frames into and you will probably need to break a couple of pavers to anchor them on the near side. From there is depends on how far you want to go, you could simply put mesh across the top of the run or build a little pitched roof to keep it dry, which is better but dearer and more effort. Obviously you would need to make a door for access.

Alternatively you could go for something like this and then reinforce the bottom half of it with better quality mesh as a fox would rip through this in no time.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CHICKEN-RUN- ... Sw8gVX4QXe
3 makes sense. Out of interest what happens if a bird is left on its own?

Regarding the base, I was thinking that removing the base would help waste drain to ground and control smells etc. It will be next to a neighbours garden so I want to be as good a neighbour as possible.

Thank you for the run construction advise. A few things to think about and useful tips.
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 6795
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by Marigold »

Chickens are social birds and get insecure and lonely on their own. If you start with two and then get left with only one, it will be difficult to introduce either one or two more, as although the singleton will need to be in a flock she will probably become very territorial, attack the newcomers, and blood will be shed, hens can be horrible to what they consider intruders. There are ways of making the introductions painless, like doing it in the autumn or winter and not in the breeding season when hormones are at their height, but you might not want a lonely hen to wait that long if her friend died earlier in the year.
Looking to the future, you really need to set out with enough space for four birds, (ie a run of minimum 8 sq. metres) Then, if you start off with three, when one dies, in the following autumn or winter you can add a pair of new ones to make four and it will be much easier to integrate them to the remaining pair. And then let the number reduce again, if that’s what you want.
We have found that all Poultrykeepers soon succumb to Morehens disease, so it’s good to plan your setup from the start with this in mind!

The run will not smell if you add a good layer of Aubiose or similar absorbent bedding and pick up the poo from the run floor and inside the coop every day. It only takes 5 minutes and makes fantastic compost! If you add a roof, the floor will stay dry in wet winter weather and won’t get muddy and nasty - a big benefit to both you and the hens. If it stays dry you will not need to hose it down, as hosing simply produces a lot of horrible smelly slurry which is totally unnecessary and hard to dispose of. Again, there’s a lot in the previous discussions about how to set up the run floor and roof.
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 6795
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by Marigold »

I forgot to add that introductions are easier if you add two or more birds to an established pair or small flock. Introducing just one bird is difficult as she will probably be bullied initially and never fully accepted even once things have settled down. A new pair of birds will help divert attention and possible bullying, and will probably make a relationship with each other and become lifelong friends, even within the flock when the pecking order has been established and the flock has settled down. Hence the advice to look ahead; start with a minimum of three and have enough space to leave open the possibility of adding two or more pullets to the pair you have got down to, if and when one dies.
bigyetiman
Full Member
Posts: 1307
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 8:27 pm

Re: Help to design my new chicken project - Thanks

Post by bigyetiman »

thematthewtaylor wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:55 pm
bigyetiman wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:23 pm
Hi and welcome, have a good look around the forum and see peoples idea and runs etc they have created.
I know many people that have lost hens to foxes in broad daylight, and it takes only a minute, so I would definitely have a covered run, a bird of prey can strike pretty quickly as well.
One thing you can come up with ideas and change as you see things on the forum, we have all done that, seen someone else's set up and thought "why didn't I do that"
What birds of prey will attack chickens in London?! Didn’t even think of that.

Will definitely have a good look at other designs.
We are in the London area also, Upminster.
Peregrines are doing well in London, and a female especially with young would if hunting for other food was difficult, a big female Sparrowhawk would definitely have a go, laying hens don't weigh much so could easily take one, and scare them witless if unsuccessful. Buzzards are doing well in certain areas. Although they take carrion, if times are hard anything is fair game.
We have several pairs of Buzzards around here, they haven't gone for the hens at all so far, but we do have breeding Peregrines so we do keep a watch on them.
Did see a Sparrowhawk eating a Guinea Pig on the fence once.
OH is a bird surveyor for the local area, and that made an interesting piece in the London Bird Report and the British Trust For Ornithology's site
Post Reply

Return to “Chicken Houses, Runs & Equipment”