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New to chickens HELP

 
Steve Cornell
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My family and I have talked about raising chickens for eggs for a couple of years and have decided that this is the year to do it. We live on and acreage so we are planning on building a movable coop and fence so they can roam some but also keep them some what safe. Or we are going to try to have a garden/coop as shown in the picture.
I was wonder what are the best tips or information that I should know going into this and does our plan to move the coop make any sense? Please help any tips or tricks would be great.
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John Elliott
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It depends on how many chickens. If less than half a dozen, then a movable coop (chicken tractor) is the way to go IMHO. If more than a dozen, a coop large enough to be comfortable for them (at least 10 sq. ft. per bird) is going to be difficult to move. I only have 3 birds, and my pup tent sized chicken tractor works fine.

If you have a small coop and let them free range most of the day, there is the predator situation to consider. And how to keep them from going where they shouldn't go. The nice thing about a chicken tractor is that you can move it to where you want chicken excavating activity, and your newly sown vegetable bed does not get ripped up.

From your building and 3 paddocks drawing, I would think it would comfortably accommodate 15-20 chickens.
 
Steve Cornell
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Thanks john we were thinking more along the lines of 15-20 chickens. I'd like them to do more free roaming then just giving them feed but that might not work. If they are just egg laying chickens is there a difference in the egg(flavor or anything) as far as free roam or just feed?
 
Meryt Helmer
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Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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have you considering having paddocks? you can train them to follow you for food then bring them to a different area every few days? I don't have chickens yet but I plan to have paddocks for them when I have them. there is a book called Free Range Chicken Gardens that I like a lot and many libraries seem to have it. You might like it.
 
John Elliott
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Steve Cornell wrote:Thanks john we were thinking more along the lines of 15-20 chickens. I'd like them to do more free roaming then just giving them feed but that might not work. If they are just egg laying chickens is there a difference in the egg(flavor or anything) as far as free roam or just feed?


Free ranging chicken eggs have much more egg flavor than commercial agriculture eggs. Greens in the diet make for orange yolks, as opposed to the pale yellow of grain fed chickens. Insects in the diet invert the omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio and make them more healthy for you. Free roaming is nice, and you might want to consider this thread on how chickens can be self-sufficient on a big pile of wood chips. My girls stay in the chicken tractor most of the time, but all the weeds that I pull in the garden get tossed in there for them to scratch through. A large sow thistle with a bunch of slugs on the underside of the leaves is an especially welcome treat.
 
Steve Cornell
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I'll have to check out the book and john that thread was great thank you.
 
William James
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You might want to check out geoff lawton’s recent chicken tractor on steroids video. I like the idea that the ecological benefit of chickens can be increased with a few smart tweeks.

I’m planning on a 2 paddocks in their main run + a walled coop for the evening/protection + almost free ranging (paddock shifting around the property) + chicken tractoring/compost making. You might not have enough space for all that.

But…the design you provided could be enhanced by dividing the run into two and loading one up with leaves/grass/whatnots to increase insect and worm development.
Might have to bring down the number of chicks to do that or raise the space of the run.

I’m a newbie too. Planning to get some in May, doing a lot of pre-chicken-arrival work now.
William
 
wayne stephen
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Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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The design above was described by John Seymour as the "Lady Balfour Method" . It does advise using two paddocks . One for the chickens and compostables .
 
Maddie Pulver
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have chickens is a lot of fun but i must warn you you might want to consider keeping them in one spot because they tend to eat away all the grass where they are. just be sure to let them out every so often to eat some bugs weeds and grass.
 
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