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Going to get a coop...yay I get chickens! Suggestions?

(9 Posts)
Stropzilla Sat 29-Sep-12 16:06:46

About a year ago I decided I would like chickens, DH wasn't too keen. Except, now he thinks it's "his" idea, it's a good one. Typical men, eh? Anyway, we're looking at coops and I wanted to know what you have. If it's a coop and seperate run, or an all in one sort of thing. We'd prefer an all in one but I need to make sure it's big enough. We'd like 4 chickens ideally, and my local rescue has recently taken on about 9000 ex battery so I was considering taking some of those. I know they may not be pretty to begin with but hopefully they'll regrow feathers.

Does anyone have any online retailers to recommend for coops? We'd be taking them as both egg layers and pets and they'd have to be friendly for my 2 DDs! If you could post links to which coops you have that would be great, and any thoughts on good breeds for a first timer?

TunipTheVegemal Sat 29-Sep-12 18:57:53

I have an Eglu Classic with run plus the 1m run extension, but mostly they free range in half our back garden.

The first thing to decide is whether you want hybrids or pure breeds. Hybrids=more eggs in a shorter time then they stop, pure breeds are more likely to lay for longer but not quite so many eggs.

Grockle Fri 05-Oct-12 19:58:07

Eglus are fab - I had a classic and a cube.

Ex-battery hens are lovely - quite friendly & very rewarding to nurse back to health.

pigsinmud Sun 07-Oct-12 19:05:50

I have just bought a cube. Got my 4 chickens about 2 weeks ago. They have a 1/3 of the garden to free range in. I recommend the eglus, but obviously have not tried a wooden one. So easy to clean. I was a bit shocked at the price, but now don't regret forking out the money.

PrettyPrinceofParties Sun 07-Oct-12 21:47:23

Are eglus really fox proof? I'm going to be getting some ducks soon, so would need an eglu cube to be big enough I think. I like them but dh thinks they're ugly! bit too expensive for us anyway, even second hand.

Dh and I are thinking of constructing a run using heras fencing and other bits, then using a shed as the coop. I think housing for ducks is easier though as it's a bit more basic without the need for perches or pop holes.

Grockle Mon 08-Oct-12 14:52:16

Yes, they are. The fox used to sit on the top of my Eglus but couldn't get in, despite trying very hard. When I sold them, they had scratch marks on the roofs of the house-part.

My current chicken house is a wooden run with fox-proof mesh on the sides & dug into the ground. Has worked fine so far.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 09-Oct-12 18:07:30

Eglus often have less space than minimum European requirements for Battery hens. Go to your local agricultural merchant and buy a good traditional chicken coop.

PrettyPrinceofParties Wed 10-Oct-12 15:23:42

Yes, I was looking at the cube for 4 ducks, but we're going to build our own using heras fencing and mesh to form a skirt round the bottom. When we're about we'll let them free range too. The slugs won't know what's hit them!

HappyTurquoise Wed 10-Oct-12 18:24:10

Good luck with the chickens! I took my kids out for the day with a friend each to a visitors farm which sells animals, and ended up giving in there and then and coming home with 3 hens, food, straw, water hopper and all. Mr Turquoise had just finished roofing the shed and it was all cleared out ready to be his man shed, so they I patched up the holes in the side and they went in there for a bit!
The coop we got is the type you can buy the run separately, in sections. I was thinking if we had a really harsh winter, I could put the coop inside the shed as a bit of extra shelter at night, then let them out as usual in daylight. The coop & run needed varnishing and assembling when it arrived and so that became the summer holiday project for the kids when I was at work. I thought all the coops looked a bit small and although we only have 3 chickens, I chose a coop for 6 birds.
Even in the shed, the chickens liked to pile on top of each other in a corner to sleep and they seemed happier in the more compact coop, each of them laying an egg every day from then on. We do have 4 sections of run, but haven't needed to use it yet. We let them out first thing in the morning and check their food, then dd takes them a bowl of mash before she leaves for school. They have the whole (enclosed) garden to scratch about in all day, with some tree cover, lots of shrubs and bushes, sheltered paths and open grass to choose from.

It's a good idea to have an extension handle on the door of the coop so you can open and close it without any trouble, and decide if you want them to have a window (they'll want to let out at outside at sunrise, but get sleepy and docile in the dark).

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