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need to contain chickens 2 days/1 night per week

 
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we want to get chickens soon and have them out free range. however, we will have to leave them contained wednesday morning to thursday evening every week. any ideas how to do this so that they can be protected and still have access to some grass while we're gone? we don't have chickens yet but will ideally have more than 10 (will have to order 25 chicks at a time, i guess) and would like to have a 2 bunnies share the enclosure with them if possible. any ideas welcome! thanks!!

sarah
 
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Location: North East Scotland
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Why do you need to contain them? Would it be possible to let them out and use an automatic door opener if you aren't around?
 
Sarah Yao
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:Why do you need to contain them? Would it be possible to let them out and use an automatic door opener if you aren't around?



i was thinking that i would have to contain them to keep them from predators. i had no idea there was such a thing for chickens. do you have a link for the chicken coop door? how is it triggered? you think they would be OK just keeping to their normal schedule and would go in and out of the coop on their own?
 
Katy Whitby-last
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They will put themselves to bed once it starts to get to dusk. The automatic opener we have is a VSB one. I'm not sure where you are but we got ours here: http://www.flytesofancy.co.uk/chickenhouses/Auto_Chicken_House_Door_Opener.html
 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Or, you could build a smaller run within the run just for Wed/Thurs.
It should have its own door into the coop, to be opened only when you want them in the smaller run.
The smaller run should have poultry netting (chicken wire) around it to keep them from demolishing it all week, and it would also provide more protection from predators.

See rough sketch below: coop is at top, green area is Wed/Thur run, black line w/arrows is regular fence.



Hope this is of help.

EDITED to resize img




 
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Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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A bit of googling found this....

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/automatic-pop-hole-opener

Looks like a reasonable DIY project. I especially like the power antenna for a motor. Should be more robust that the strings I see on the other designs.
 
pollinator
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:They will put themselves to bed once it starts to get to dusk.



Some don't. My ancient and senile Silkies have a tendency to wander around for quite awhile after the other chickens have put themselves away.

 
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:They will put themselves to bed once it starts to get to dusk.


Or, my mum has some Welsummers, aka 'treechickens' , that sleep in the fig tree and detest the house.
Not actually an issue in NZ as we don't have adult-eating critters. The issue is that they're flighty, egg-hiding and tough to eat!
 
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A CHICKEN TRACKOR: YOU DONT NEED TO SPEND A LOT OF $ JUST SIMPLE WIRE WOOD AND LIL NEST.
HERE ARE SOME PICS

https://www.google.com/search?q=chicken+tractor&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=ZPvVT6n2H-iM2gWj7MWLDw&sqi=2&ved=0CJoBELAE&biw=1067&bih=503

ALL BUT 4 OF MY CHX ARE ON THERE OWN FREE RANGE BUT I DO HAVE SOME SHOW BIRD THAT I LIKE TO KEEP NICE. SO THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO KEEP THEM LOOKING GOOD AND HEALTHY FOR SHOW.
 
Sarah Yao
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thanks for the ideas! they're fantastic! i really like the side yard with the automatic door just for when we're gone.
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