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Concealed Chicken Coop Designs?

 
Josh Katlof
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I've got a 2 acre lot with a poly-permaculture garden/orchard coming together on it. It was hard enough getting my HOA to permit me to build this thing in my backyard. But, now, my wife and I want to get a few girls to help us with food scraps/weeding/fertilizer production. Unfortunately, our HOA has a very strict - "no fowl" policy in place. So, free-range is definitely out of the question... But, I can put a small 8 foot by 7 foot structure (let's call it a "kids play house") and a bit of hard to see fencing surrounded by perennial plants to conceal the real residents of the "house".

Anyway, wondering if anyone has managed to successfully raise their girls in a concealed manner. What chicken varieties did you use? what issues did you run into? Any pictures of your creative design?

I would not be in violation of any city/state rules in growing chickens. But, HOAs are rather nasty and don't easily change their rules to accommodate those of us looking for more self-sufficiency.

Josh
 
John Polk
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How far away are you nearest (or nosiest) neighbors?

In a flock of hens without a rooster, it is common for one of the hens to take over his role.
Crowing before dawn to wake up 'his' harem.

I know a lady that had a neighbor file a complaint with the city. Inspectors came out to investigate, and gave her x many days to get rid of the birds. She pretty well knew which neighbor it was, and gave her a dozen eggs. Hasn't had a complaint since. Costs her a dozen eggs every now and then, but her neighbor likes her now.

 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Even the girls make noise.

Jack Spirko had a podcast from a guy that was raising quail in his garage. He raised an INSANE amount in a small footprint (like the size of a set of garage shelves). They are quiet and easily hidden.

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/quail-for-eggs-and-meat



 
Zach Muller
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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On two acres I do not see how you would have any trouble concealing some hens with a privacy screen of shrubs and evergreens combined with good placement. Unless there is an hoa guideline against green house structures you could possibly build a walapini or other greenhouse structure and house your hens in there most of the time. if anyone asked you could just tell them yeah that's my new green house and not mention who's living inside.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Or, how about a movable pen:
A trampoline with chicken wire around the base.

 
Josh Katlof
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I've seen the following which started me thinking:

http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Chicken-Coops/Hobbit-Hole-Chicken-Coop-Small-Ships-Free-p1232.aspx

these looks a great deal like:

http://www.wooden-wonders.com/playhouses.html

Building one of these was what I was thinking of doing... Never considered quail. Need to investigate more...

My HOA is against any "structures", including greenhouses (they did not allow me to move my 8x8 foot mini-greenhouse from my prior home - i.e. rejected AFTER I bought the property) that don't conform to neighborhood standards! Basically, if I try to build a shed/garage port, it must look like an extension to my house (meaning - brick and lots of $$$ - something I'm trying to avoid). I'm only allowed to use materials that are "common" within the neighborhood. You should see what I have managed to do with "wood chip mulch and logs (from a tree service place), & compost from city recycle program) - since they cannot reject those materials. I've turned part of an ugly bermuda grass lot into a living ecosystem (my most recent critter that has tried to move in is a road runner - my Australian Sheppard dog keeps chasing it away - funny to watch - if only my dog had access to ACME products

Anyway, given that there are significant kids in the neighborhood, they do allow children play sets and play houses... So, I was thinking of requesting "permission" to install one of the above... and use it for something else

The neighborhood does not allow wood fences, just black iron metal ones. So, they can see into my property. But, given the fence I've installed around my property line, they are not allowed to enter. Way in the back... hidden behind my 1 year old - 100 fruit tree polyculture/permaculture food forest/garden with hugleculture beds... it's starting to get difficult to see what is going on from outside the property. I've kept the design and implementation clean and nice to avoid complaints - as I seem to be the only one who thinks that a food producing landscapes are both beautiful and beneficial. In a few years, the fruit trees will get much bigger and their branches will close the canopy (I'm growing them 8 feet apart in formation patterns designed to ensure sufficient access to sun), making it impossible to look inside the back 1/2 acre of my property.

But, I've build a few standard galvanized fences as trellises inside the garden area for my grapes and hardy kiwis which are already out of "compliance"... I may have to paint the posts black to conform to HOA rules... But, found that if I keep things tidy... HOA does not complain too much.

That said... I'm pretty much set on the fruits and veggies in my system. But, would like some protein production. Thought about rabbits... as technically, that would not be against any rules I found (my kids are refusing the idea of eating rabbits). But, have no issue with birds!... Anyway, eggs are just needed for everything. And the manure they produce would also be helpful in the garden. Why a few chicken would be nice... Just trying to figure out how to make it happen...

Thanks! for the suggestions!

Josh
 
Chris Smaglick
Posts: 26
Location: Amory, MS
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Interesting thread. Last spring a hen showed up in the garden shed and had three chicks. A hawk got two and the surviving baby is now a nearly one year old rooster. I am in a small southern town in Mississippi and just moved into the 90 year old house last year. I am one block from main st., police, fire, city hall. The rooster has been going at it each morning for three months, and he and momma have taken up residence. I am looking to build a coop in the shed, fence in the backyard, and pray no complaints arise. If so, I love the silence of the eggs gift. Good luck to you. Love to see some pics of the garden you describe.
 
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