Hello! I've just started a wonderful new job on a nature reserve, which has come with accomodation.. and 6 chickens! I was told I didn't have to take them.
I've always wanted chickens, so I said yes, but I don't know what I am doing!
Currently they live in a stone and brick outhouse ("shed"), which seems a bit cold and miserable to me :(
(I don't know what the metal thing is, it doesn't look like it's been used for a long time)
I am going to have a look at the roof this weekend, there's a bit of a leak in one corner. The perch is a home-made overcomplicated thing, which I want to replace with something simple and easy to clean. I've been reading about mites so want to reduce the amount of wooden bits with nooks and crannies for them to hide in.
The nest box, with two nests, is a plastic crate on its side and raised up a little, I think it's OK?
The shed has a concrete floor, should I put something down? I've been sweeping it out thoroughly and replacing the nest straw once a week.
We do have rats and foxes. My predecessor had a couple of ducks, but they got taken by the fox and since then apparently the chickens have hardly laid at all! I get one egg a day. There's also one chicken that roosts apart from the others (the white one), so they might be having some dominance issues?
Outside, the chickens have the run of the cottage grounds and around the visitor centre, so lots of space and lots of people around to keep predators away. (They're free to run around the whole nature reserve if they wanted to!)
Before anyone says "it would be easier to just buy a whole new coop" I absolutely cannot afford to! I have no spare cash and won't for at least 3 months; I do have scrap wood lying about but I'm not a great craftperson so would rather improve what I have, for now.
All advice very very welcome! I love them and want to do the best I can!