Updated: I need help with ideas/plans for a chicken coop please.Submitted by Jefferson on Fri, 04/26/2013 - 14:56
After being treated to a wonderful meal at "Nui" and "C's" home a few weekends ago, I was given a dozen of their fresh eggs to take home, which led to the inspiration to get 11 tiny baby chicks. Right now they are in a portable cage that is starting to get cozy. I can look at pictures on Google images of different coops, but I thought I would defer to the DP since posing questions here usually yields some great ideas..
We have a large privacy fenced backyard which is mostly grass with a large deck and a 5' x 30' oval shaped garden out by the fence. I've heard that if you make a chicken run that surrounds your garden, the chickens will eat any of the bugs trying to enter the perimeter.
I would imagine 11 full grown chickens are going to need some space, but I don't want them to have access to the entire back yard and the deck as they poop all over everything.
So, I'm looking at doing a permanent coop and maybe some sort of separate roll around chicken tractor, or some sort of permanent run around the garden. Either way the chickens need to be protected from feral cats, coons, and possums. I doubt a coyote could get back here but you never know. The other thing is easy access, and easy maintenance. (if there is such a thing)
If you know of any online plans, websites, or other resources that may be helpful, I would certainly appreciate it.
Update 4/27/13: Looks like the consensus is that http://www.backyardchickens.com/ is the go to resource on the internet for raising chickens. Thanks to all who have responded in typical helpful DP fashion. It's one of the reasons I love this place. I'm still reading through all of the great informative responses and formulating a strategy for the build. Please continue to post suggestions and pics as the build will not start for a couple more weeks. We're going to build a temporary run, and then build something permanent. I will post pics once it is all done. Thanks again for all the great input! There is nothing like learning from others' experiences so you can get it right the first time.
Update 4/29/13: We built a temporary chicken run out of scrap lumber on Saturday. It's roughly 8' x 8' and is just a box, nothing fancy. The chicks seem happy and it also may be useful in detaining small unruly children as well.....J/K
The permanent coop will be started in a couple of weeks. Having trouble deciding between the Ralph's great design, and the colorful mobile "Coup d'Etat" that DP member "kyletownsend" posted here.
Thanks again for all the suggestions. Please keep 'em coming.
Also, thanks to the lovely and talented "photoshopwiz" for pointing me in the right direction to post photos. (and Jon too)