Chicken coupe

NorthernRedneck

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
Edumacate me on chickens. My lovely wife seems to think it's a good idea to get a chicken coupe next summer. We have the space for it. How much work is it? Can they be left unattended for a couple days? What do you feed them? How many do we need for say, a couple dozen eggs a week.

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Bannedjoe

Active member
The thought of raising chickens and having your own fresh eggs is intriguing and kind of exciting at first.

When chickens begin to lay, they're generally good for one egg a day, on average.
So figure your needs from there.

You don't need any roosters, unless you hope to hatch some chicks, which is getting harder and harder to do since they're trying quite hard to breed out broodiness in chickens.
Roosters are loud, crow all day and night (not just at sunrise) and can be real assholes.
If chickens don't become broody, they don't sit on eggs.
Broody chickens can become quite bitchy, as well as a real handful.

My wife and I did the chicken thing for a number of years.

First off, chickens are rather filthy animals.

If you plan on keeping them in a coupe with a run, then there is the smell, and the smell brings hordes of flies.

If you don't have predators, you might be able to let them free range, which means letting them spend most of their time outside the pen. They will return in the evening.
Allowing them to free range will lower food costs greatly, providing there are things for them to eat.
It will also disperse the concentration of excrement you would experience from keeping them confined.

We have coyotes, so we couldn't allow free ranging.
If you have coyotes in your area, you will need to provide a very sturdy pen and coupe to keep them, or foxes, or what have you out.

They need a constant source of clean water, that can be prevented somehow from freezing in the winter, if you have such.
They may also need some extra light during the winter months to keep egg production up. (Low light during winter means less eggs)
You may also need to provide some heat during the winter as well.

It's helpful if you have some friends or folks close by that might help you by taking extra eggs off your hands when you begin to tire of eating so many eggs.

As I said previously, we did it for a number of years.

We finally gave our flock away last fall.
We got fucking sick of eggs, the smell, the noise lost it's romance, and the price of feed soared to the point that it was no longer worth the return.

These are only a few of the aspects of raising chickens.
There are many others such as health, chickens that eat their own eggs, bug infestations, cost for bedding, and the list goes on.

When we first got into it, we thought it was great.
By the time we quit, I was certain I'd never eat another egg or chicken ever again.
But that didn't last long.

Since you're into forums, I'd highly suggest one called backyard chickens.
I learned everything that I know about chickens from there.

It's fun, it's rewarding, it's work, it's dirty, it comes at a cost, but there's nothing like an egg that hasn't been in storage for month or so like you get at the grocery sometimes.
 

NorthernRedneck

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
Thanks. That's exactly what I was looking for.

We are just looking into it for now. A friend of mine has a coupe and posts pictures of their kids playing with the chickens.

I'm worried about the -40 weather we get up here in the winter. A couple of heat lamps would be required which means running about a 100ft extension cord down to where we would keep the pen.

A neighbor down the road has free range chickens. I have to be careful going by their place. More than once I nearly hit one on the road.

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Bannedjoe

Active member
For my wife and I, it was quite similar to gardening.
We proved to ourselves that it's something we could do IF WE HAD TO.
But since at this time we still have grocery stores available to us, it's much easier and a whole lot less work and commitment to just acquire our food there.
It's also similar to the romance of chop wood/carry water.
Sure you can do it, but why if you don't have to?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes a hard boiled egg is almost impossible to peel, and other times it's a breeze?
That's because of age.
An egg that is quite a few weeks old can be peeled easily.
A fresh egg is impossible.
But you can get around that by poaching them.

You can order baby chicks from places like Mcmurray hatchery.
They will send them by US mail right to your post office.
But it has to be during the right time of year.
Once fall sets in, and temperatures drop, they quit shipping.
 

jimbo

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
The thought of raising chickens and having your own fresh eggs is intriguing and kind of exciting at first.

When chickens begin to lay, they're generally good for one egg a day, on average.
So figure your needs from there.

You don't need any roosters, unless you hope to hatch some chicks, which is getting harder and harder to do since they're trying quite hard to breed out broodiness in chickens.
Roosters are loud, crow all day and night (not just at sunrise) and can be real assholes.
If chickens don't become broody, they don't sit on eggs.
Broody chickens can become quite bitchy, as well as a real handful.

My wife and I did the chicken thing for a number of years.

First off, chickens are rather filthy animals.

If you plan on keeping them in a coupe with a run, then there is the smell, and the smell brings hordes of flies.

If you don't have predators, you might be able to let them free range, which means letting them spend most of their time outside the pen. They will return in the evening.
Allowing them to free range will lower food costs greatly, providing there are things for them to eat.
It will also disperse the concentration of excrement you would experience from keeping them confined.

We have coyotes, so we couldn't allow free ranging.
If you have coyotes in your area, you will need to provide a very sturdy pen and coupe to keep them, or foxes, or what have you out.

They need a constant source of clean water, that can be prevented somehow from freezing in the winter, if you have such.
They may also need some extra light during the winter months to keep egg production up. (Low light during winter means less eggs)
You may also need to provide some heat during the winter as well.

It's helpful if you have some friends or folks close by that might help you by taking extra eggs off your hands when you begin to tire of eating so many eggs.

As I said previously, we did it for a number of years.

We finally gave our flock away last fall.
We got fucking sick of eggs, the smell, the noise lost it's romance, and the price of feed soared to the point that it was no longer worth the return.

These are only a few of the aspects of raising chickens.
There are many others such as health, chickens that eat their own eggs, bug infestations, cost for bedding, and the list goes on.

When we first got into it, we thought it was great.
By the time we quit, I was certain I'd never eat another egg or chicken ever again.
But that didn't last long.

Since you're into forums, I'd highly suggest one called backyard chickens.
I learned everything that I know about chickens from there.

It's fun, it's rewarding, it's work, it's dirty, it comes at a cost, but there's nothing like an egg that hasn't been in storage for month or so like you get at the grocery sometimes.

I can buy eggs for a buck a dozen. Chickens dressed and ready for cooking for .69/pound.

I don't the the advantage of DIY chickens.
 

XeVfTEUtaAqJHTqq

Master of Distraction
Staff member
SUPER Site Supporter
It usually ends up being cheaper to buy the eggs at the store.

If I wasn't so lazy and could train my dogs to leave them alone I would have them again but only as true free range.


They are smelly, fragile, noisy, fun to watch, and incredibly good at eating bugs.


That being said, after 6 or so years of having them, I don't really miss them. The chicken coup is now a dog pen. ;)
 

Bannedjoe

Active member
I had chickens killed by Raccoons, Hawks, Coyotes, and Dogs. They are pretty low on the food chain.

Don't forget, chickens will also kill chickens and eat them if the circumstances are right.
Chickens aren't far removed from pigs in that they'll eat just about anything.
 

Bannedjoe

Active member
yea,but you all enjoyed raising them ,didn't you?

It was certainly fun at times, I won't deny that.
And the eggs were awesome.
One of my favorite forms of chicken entertainment was to take vegetables from the garden that had been attacked by critters, lettuce, stalks of whatever and hang them about a foot above the birds and watch them jump up to get at it.
We called it chicken leg exercises.

I once put a little playskool piano thing in their pen, but they never learned any songs.

Another fun game: Take a big rubber band, cut it and throw it in the pen, and watch as they chase each other around trying to take it from one another snapping each other as one loses hold.

I often wondered about putting liquid smoke in their drinking water to see if they develop a smokey flavored egg. Never tried it though.
 

XeVfTEUtaAqJHTqq

Master of Distraction
Staff member
SUPER Site Supporter
yea,but you all enjoyed raising them ,didn't you?
At times - yes.


Good times included - hatching a bunch in the incubator. The kids liked that. Although 50% were roosters. Letting a hen hatch a bunch on her own was fun too.


The eggs were better too - especially when they were free ranged in the summer.
 
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