New backyard flock, is all this normal and do I need to change anything? - Page 2
Those pre fab coops are darling, but really are limited to a few chickens. Your chickens are not full grown yet, so will actually be taking up more space. You just might be a bit too tight of space. You are going into spring, so the days are getting longer, so your birds will spend most of the time outside. The bigger run was a great idea. A home made larger coop would be a great idea too.
In the run, it is very helpful to birds that are penned in all day, to create multilevels. A pallet up on blocks, a partial wall in the middle, a roost in a corner, while making your run look a bit cluttered, actually increases the space in the run. An empty run, is basically a two dimensional space, and there is no where to get away from another bird. Where as adding a pallet, where birds can get under it for a bit of shade, and on top of it for a bit of sunning, actually doubles that space. I stick up a roost kitty corner and usually all summer in the late afternoon, a couple of my birds sit on that for the last bit of sunshine. Just make sure there are two exits, so you do not create a trap.
Pecking order is determined, by two birds meeting each other, and one bird leaving the area, leaving the dominant bird in possession of the space. In a run, there is no place to leave to, and this can lead to an aggressive bird, chasing and chasing a passive bird, because the bird won't leave. If a bird can go behind a wall, or under a roof, they can get out of sight, and all is well. You can actually keep more birds in a smaller area by using all of the space.
Personally, I would cover the run, I have lost lots of birds to predators.
I have plans to make a 4x6x4 coop that bolts right up to the run and has better accessibility to things like protected roosts and for us to get in to clean. The increase in usable vertical space should be good for them too. The layout of the blue one im finding has some severe limits for 4 birds but I can probably sell the assembled hobby coop for what I paid to someone with just a couple pet birds.
really having a coop that you can stand up in is so worth it. My original coop, was about 5 feet high at the tallest part, I could get in it to do cleaning, but had to be careful not to bump my head. My new one is over 6 feet, I can not believe how much easier to get the eggs and sweep it out occasionally.
If you build, you need to really be conscious of ventilation. I have a 4 inch gap along the entire south wall, the top of the slant of my coop. Good ventilation keeps your birds dry, and dry birds are warm birds. It really made it nice. I got the coop design from this website.
Now if they will take a dust bath in the ash and DE before the storm clears out the dust bath... I will be most pleased. Someone is giving me most of the wood I need to build the bigger better coop where I can get the dust bath, food, and water off the dirt and covered on all sides so we will all be happier.