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   We are a small family farm in northeast Texas. We make and sell chicken coops; 
most of them designed to be shipped nationwide.
We raise chickens, cattle, geese and goats. Handcrafted coops, brooders and portable fence 
posts were a sideline which came into being when neighbors and family wanted ones like those we had made for our flock. They're all sturdy, predator-roof, and  easy WINTERIZING capability. 
Please enjoy your visit here.    Thanks!     
                                                                                                                          Pat & Jennifer & Charlie
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This page was last updated: October 21, 2014
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What's the best chicken to keep in a coop?

by Pat on 02/28/14

The answer depends on a few things.

First of all, there are some breeds which don't like coops at all. These are the tree-loving high-roosting breeds. Typically lighter weight, slimmer birds, which seek the top of the barn, or any roost far above any ground-hugging predators.

Chickens raised for meat are comfotable just hanging around in their coop. They are not foragers, and gain weight faster if they aren't running around getting tough.

Egg layers are almost all bred for characteristics which lend to adaptability. They can easily thrive, either in or out of coops, but do best if protected when they are most vulnerable - at night. They do best if allowed to range, scratch, dust/sun bathe, and forage during part of the day.

The breeds we find best suited to most environments are: Ameracaunas, (buff) Orpingtons, Plymouth rocks (we like the barred rocks), and Wyandottes of any type. We have found Rhode Island Reds to be more aggressive than many other breeds, and don't recommend them for families with kids.

Should I buy a fir-wood chicken coop from Ebay?

by Pat on 11/16/13

This article reviews the 'pros' and 'cons' on the inexpensive timber (fir-wood) chicken coops that are commonly available on Ebay and are imported from China. Read feedback from other purchasers of these chicken coops before deciding if this type of coop is for you.

Please click this link below to read the article:

http://royalrooster.hubpages.com/hub/Should-I-buy-a-fir-wood-chicken-coop-from-Ebay

How durable are these Texas made chicken coops ???

by Pat on 11/16/13

1. In constructing your coop, we use only screws, rather than the less expensive nails or air-brads. From the best lumber to the exterior deck screws and galvanized wire, we select long-lasting, quality hardware.

2. The stains we use are high quality, and indicate a "re-stain" period of about four years. Since the cedar roofs don't deteriorate quickly, even without a stain, we aren't sure about that, either. They will get gray, though. There is a renewing solution for graying cedar. We haven't tried it, but we may, just as an experiment. Our stains are available at Lowes and Walmart.

3. Recently, a customer needed to borrow one of our older much-used coops while we made a new one for him. When he returned the coop, he had power-washed it. This poor old coop went out looking its age, but when it came back, it looked like almost like a new one!

4. Because most of the parts are screwed on, they can be easily replaced, should they become damaged.

 

Fence posts and flying chickens

by Pat on 09/29/13

  Hello,

 I was just wondering if you have had any problems with chickens flying out of the portable fence?

 I have a coop and would like to have a fenced area for my chickens but I just don't know if they would fly over this fence?

  Thank you

  Kaitlynn

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Kaitlynn!

 Great question - and one we get asked a lot. Our personal experience is this:

This fencing setup, utilizing 2"x4" mesh wire (in 4' or 5' heights) will restrain adult chickens. If you want to put young chicks, soon after leaving the brooder - and when they are smaller than the 2" width, NO. They can just stroll right through.

AND:

When they are in their gawky "teenage" stage, as we like to put it, they are challenged by any enclosure, and will do everything in their power to get over a fence of any sort. This a most perilous time for chickens. They cannot be easily restrained, and are so light in weight that they can easily get over most things (they will sleep in the trees, if unrestrained). Even wing-clipping doesn't keep them down.

BUT:

When they get into their adult stage, they settle down to earth and get fat and lazy, just hanging around thinking about whether they would rather take a nap, a sun bath, or a dust bath. This can occupy MOST of their day. Thinking about it.

Whichever one they choose, they are still thinking about whether they made the right choice, and plan to do the other things as soon as they get tired of the current one. Aside from scratching, eating or chasing grasshoppers, they don't do have much else on their schedules. Flying just seems like too much effort.

THUS:

There are fences.

 Fencing just keeps adult chickens from wandering, but won't prevent many predators from climbing over, or digging under, or dropping in from above. 

We would love to make a set of posts for you. This type of fence is also great for separating flocks or small groups from the rest. 

 Thank you for your interest, Kaitlynn.

 Pat and Jennifer

 

 

The "chicken laws" for some cites in Texas

by Pat on 09/22/11

 

Here is some useful info about the laws regarding chicken-keeping in your own back yard.

If you see your city, and notice that the chicken laws are outdated, please help us to update them (by clicking "Comments"). Thank you. 

Arlington, TX. You must have a lot that is larger than a half an acre to lawfully keep hens (no roosters) here. Even so, you may only keep four hens. If you have a lot over 1/2 acre, then you must still keep the chickens 50 ft. away from neighboring houses, and you must keep them penned.


Austin, TX. Up to 10 fowl per household, but keep in enclosure that's 50 ft. away from neighbors. Other soucres say there is currently no limit on the number of chickens you can keep here. The city is considering banning roosters.
Baytown, TX. Chickens allowed, but they have to be 100 ft. from neighbors, and many lots aren’t big enough to meet that requirement.


Dallas TX. The ordinances for this city do not appear to address keeping poultry.


Fort Worth, TX. Can have up to 12 chickens within the city limits on a residentially zoned lot. They have to be in a chicken coop and the coop has to be at least 50 feet away from any house. That includes your own house and any neighbors' houses.


Garland, TX. Limit 2 hens.


Grand Prairie, TX. You have to be able to keep your chickens 150 feet away from any neighboring structures that house people, which is pretty difficult to do on a city or suburb lot.


Houston, TX. Chickens may be kept on a lot which measures at least 65 feet X 125 feet: 30 chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, peafowl, rabbits or guinea pigs or 40 of any combination of the above.


Irving, TX. According to the Parks & Rec department here, "In recognition of changing demographics, we no longer have restrictions on livestock."


Laredo, TX. If you keep 6 or fewer chickens, set-backs are not restricted. If you keep more than 6 chickens, you must keep the pen 100 ft. from any occupied building, besides your own.


Lewisville, TX. Up to five individual fowl per each one-fourth acre of land may be kept upon the premises. Fowl must be kept in a pen or other enclosure located at least 150 feet from any residential dwelling, office building, school building, church, business, or other structure under separate ownership which is intended for human habitation or use. Such pen or enclosure must provide at least 100 square feet of exercise area for each bird kept therein. In order to minimize the potential for noise nuisances to adjacent or nearby premises, roosters capable of crowing shall not be allowed to be kept within 1,500 feet of any residential dwelling, office building, school building, church, business, or other structure under separate ownership which is intended for human habitation or use.


Longview, TX. Ordinance #3141.3, Sec. 13-27: "Regulations relating to keeping of poultry and birds," an unlimited number of chickens may be kept in any structure that has a secure top, sides, and bottom, and provides shelter from rain. This structure must sit 100 feet from any neighboring property.


Mansfield, TX. Your lot must be 20,000 square feet in order to keep chickens.


Murphy, TX. Limit 2 hens.


Plano, TX. Chickens prohibited.


Richardson, TX. Chickens are allowed, barring offensive noises or smells.


Round Rock, TX. Up to 5 fowl if your chicken pen is 25 ft. away from neighbor's residences. If the pen is 50 ft. away, you can have 10 fowl.


San Antonio, TX. Up to 5 of any kind of fowl, any gender, per household. Must keep in a pen, 20 feet from any other dwelling. The laws in this city have been recently updated (2010): Residents now allowed to have up to 3 chickens, any gender, but must remain in an enclosure. Permits may be issued if you want more than 3 chickens.


Sachse, TX. Limit 15 small livestock.


St. Paul. TX. The topic of chickens is not covered in the city ordinance.


Victoria, TX. No person shall keep, feed, raise, or maintain fowl within the city except under the following conditions: Such fowl shall be kept in a pen or enclosure at least one hundred (100) feet from every dwelling other than that of the owner of such fowl. Such enclosure shall be kept sanitary so as to prevent the development of health hazards or offensive. No more than twenty-five (25) poultry may be raised within such enclosure.


Waco, TX. Livestock is allowed inside the City of Waco as long as the pen is located at least 200 feet from the nearest neighbor in a straight line at the closest points.


Wylie, TX. Chickens banned.

Frequently Asked Questions

by Pat on 06/21/11

The single most asked question regarding chickens is: “Do I need a rooster if I want to have eggs?”

ANSWER: No. Hens lay eggs regardless of whether there is a rooster in the flock.

 

What about if I want to hatch chicks from our hens?

ANSWER: Simple biology. If you want to hatch out your eggs, you will need a rooster to fertilize them.  (Most cities now prohibit roosters in backyard flocks because of the noise from crowing.)

 

You can buy fertile eggs from a breeder (we sell them), and try to get one of your hens to sit on them, or you could get a small incubator and hatch fertile eggs from that.  Remember that about 50% of your chicks will be roosters. Plan how to deal with that before you end up with noise complaints from neighbors.

What are my options when I end up with roosters?

ANSWER: Soup, adoption, or sale. Many backyard chicken enthusiasts don’t want to eat their unwanted roosters, although they taste better than just about any chicken you will buy at the market. I understand if you don’t wish to eat your “babies”, because I’m in the same boat. I sell most of mine, even if I don’t always get the price I want. It’s better than continuing to spend money on their feed, and it keeps the neighbors on a friendly footing.

 

Air Raid -the night fighters

by Pat on 03/23/11

From out of the night sky, a single form, darker than the surrounding shadows, glides on stealthy wings, flares briefly, then dives like a WWII night fighter aircraft upon an unwary prey.

Owls are a significant threat to uncovered chicken enclosures. To protect the chickens, we have to keep them fully enclosed at night. Poultry netting can sometimes be purchased at a very good price on Ebay.

 

Air Raid - the day fighters

by Pat on 03/23/11

In most areas, the Redtail hawk is the biggest aerial threat. Hawks establish a territory, and fight off encroachment from other hawks, particularly of their own species. For that reason, you will only have a pair of them to worry about, which is about two too many. There is little you can do to protect free range poultry, since the federal government protects all birds of prey. You may want to put up poultry netting to cover runs.

It is interesting to observe the flock during a hawk threat. Roosters watch over the flock and sound an alarm when a hawk comes into the area. The air raid alarm sounds a lot like a hysterical hen which has just laid an egg of extreme proportions.

You will see hens and chicks scattering for cover when the rooster raises this alarm. Many older hens, and any other roosters, will relay the alarm. The hawk generally decides to look for less attentive victims.

 

The Traitor Among Us

by Pat on 03/23/11

There is a fifth columnist which pretends allegiance, but happily bides time, while appearing to be your best friend and ally. This treacherous predator has no conscience in regard to fowls.

The family dog can account for more dead chickens than all the other predators combined. Some can be trusted, but not all. We never allow our beautiful Pyrenees to be alone with the chickens. She has proved to be quite satisfied that chickens were put on earth for her entertainment, and no matter how many times she has been scolded or punished; she will still take any unsupervised opportunity to mangle another one. We love her, but it takes all our patience to keep from hauling her away to the local animal shelter just after she has murdered one of our favorite hens.  

Most barn cats find young chicks an acceptable meal. Some will take pullets, too. Opportunists, poultry must seem little different from rats and mice to them. They generally hunt at night.

 

New Subject? Enter here :

by Pat on 03/23/11

If you would like to start a new subject, please use the comment button here. Thank you!

Questions? Enter here :

by Pat on 03/23/11

If you have any questions, please use the comment button here. Thank you!

The Ground Attack

by Pat on 03/22/11

Electric fencing stops most ground animals, but does not always work in dry weather unless care is taken to add a grounding wire, and even that will not phase a rat snake. I have removed (sometimes alive, sometimes real dead) lots of Texas rat snakes from our hen house.  While they are beneficial in rodent control, still, I cannot let them loose on the neighboring farms, or allow a six foot chicken killer to counter-attack after release on our own place. With due reflection and apologies, I usually shoot them or whack them real hard with a suitable implement. We use half inch mesh hardware cloth to make our coops, which has been effective so far. They have to be made real tight, because snakes can get through almost any gap.

Skunks and many other mammals will not hang around an area where common moth balls are present in sufficient quantity. We put them in any plastic container such as a soda or water bottle, drilled with holes, to keep them at bay. Replace moth balls once a month. Be sure your chickens cannot eat them, and have plenty of ventilation in order to avoid poisoning the birds you are protecting.

Say good-bye to winter!

by Pat on 03/22/11

Hi! Welcome to Chick-Cafe!

Finally it's time to get all the covers off our chicken coops. We use an old blanket and cover our summer coops for the winter. It works great. Our chickens were fine, even in snowy weather. Well the chicks under 5 weeks stayed in the house, of course, and we have to admit - those free range pullets and big roosters, which insisted on roosting in rows right next to our front porch windows, really gave us a lot of trouble.  When it reached as low as 14(F), we insisted that they stay in the old motorcycle room . Fortunately it's not difficult to catch them after they fall asleep - you can easily get 2 or 3 in your arms at one time. Well, it sure was a great outdoor activity on a cold, windy winter night...you bet.

 

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