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First Chickens now 6 weeks old - Page 2

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Thanks again!

 

It is heavy enough that it isn't being lifted by my kids or any animals, its ~80 pounds + the weight of the feed and five gallons of water hanging from it on an extra board I added across the top.  Those roosting bars are only a couple inches wide, but I can improve that.   They are 2' long each, so that's enough for qty=4 by your measurements, just need to make them wider.  Maybe we'll just eat the biggest one and keep the other two if it becomes a problem.   It's definately advertised as "Sized to comfortably house 4 hens" http://www.homedepot.com/p/SummerHawk-Ranch-Vintage-Red-Barn-Chicken-Coop-33554/205745336

 

 

The food thing may be a problem.  I think already they've stopped eating feed completely

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally Posted by junebuggena View Post
 

Follow ups - The coop is the secure shelter that they roost and lay in, run is outdoor space.

 

- Space- Medium sized breeds, like Leghorns, Andalusians, and Hamburgs need about 4 sq ft of coop space and 10 sq ft of run space per bird. Larger dual-purpose breeds need about 5 sq ft of coop space and 12 sq ft of run space per bird. Bantam breeds only need about 2 sq ft of coop space and about 6 sq ft of run space per bird. 

     Your coop/run is adequate for about 3 or 4 bantams, or 2 medium sized breeds. 

 

- In regards to eating the birds you have a starting over with smaller birds- Bantams are not usually available as sexed pullets. They are normally straight run, which means you will have cockerels. Also, little chickens lay little eggs.

 

- Roosting space- you need about 12 inches of linear roost space per adult bird. And roosts need to be large enough for their feet. Most standard sized hens need about 4 inch wide roosts. Most bantams only need roosts about 2 inches wide.

 

-Regarding treats- Feeding too many treats will cause them to eat less feed. It can get to the point that they refuse their feed and wait for the goodies to show up. Not eating enough of their feed can cause all sorts of nutritional deficiencies. That can lead to bone and growth deformities and feathering picking. I know it's fun to see them gobble up all those left overs. And I know they love that stuff. But it's like giving candy to children. They love it, but it's not going to keep them healthy and growing. Limit them.

 

- Nope, no magic anything that will keep a determined chicken from getting to where they want to be. Fencing is a must.

 

- The big issue I see with your cute little pre-fab coop, is security. It's light-weight, which makes it easy for predators to target. Ask your kids if they can lift an end up. If your little ones can raise an end, a raccoon could flip the whole thing. Can your kids work the latches? Raccoons have opposable thumbs. If a small child can work the latch, a raccoon can too.

 

It's adorable, and I'm sure it cost a fair bit of money, but it's just not a safe place for such edible birds. Prefabs rarely ever are a good idea. My advice, build something that will be appropriate for the birds that you have. A simple 4x4 box out of plywood and pallets will give them more room, and will be safer, stronger, and longer lasting.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Should I really get the chickens into the coop at night, or is being in the run good enough?     

 

I plan to take the lamp out and re-assamble the nesting boxes today, so once that's together I could theoretically force them into the coop and close the sliding door to the run to keep them up there... if there's some reason to do so.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

After removing the heat lamp and re-assembling the nest boxes earlier today, I just threw the chickens into the coop (thru the nest box) a few minutes ago.  I did buy the store bought liners for the nest boxes.

 

Like the past few nights, they'd picked a random place in the yard to huddle up together.  I didn't close the door from coop to the run, so who knows if they'll stay up in the coop, I'll check tomorrow if there's any poop (there hasn't been any since I put the tray liner in there a few days ago, I think they liked it better with bare metal floor!).   But if there's a reason they must stay in there at night, I'll close the door on them tomorrow.  Their food/water is in the run and the coop isn't large so I'd rather not coop them up in the coop unless there's a reason.  (For the first time in my life I can guess the origin of the verb coop!).  Plus if we were ever going out of town I'd have to leave that door open anyway so they can get to food and water, so I kinda want them to be able to manage themselves....

 

It's really friggen dark without the heat lamp, their coop is in the back corner of our yard by a big garden shed, too far for the current outdoor lights on the back of the house to affect.... can they see in the dark like cats or anything?   I think I'll stick some of those cheap solar power yard light things in there... they only last an hour or two after dark, but that's enough maybe the chickens will at least be able to find their cage and go over there.


Edited by enigma9o7 - 4/1/16 at 9:17pm
post #14 of 16

Chickens have terrible night vision. They might not be going into the coop on their own because to them, it just looks like a big dark cave. If you were a small, prey animal would you willing walk into a dark cave? Young chickens need to be 'trained' to go into the coop at sundown, especially if there are no older birds around to teach them. A small solar light or battery operated LED will help light up the coop area, and they should naturally gravitate towards the lit coop as the light fades.

 

On leaving them in their coop/run for a few days when you go away, you're going to need to construct them a predator proof run before you can do that. You're set up is too small for them to stay in during the day for any length of time. It's fine for a sleeping/laying place only. But it's not enough 'living' space. Overcrowding stress is serious. And the behaviors caused by overcrowding stress (feather picking, extreme aggression, or cannibalism) can be very difficult to stop. 

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks again!  

 

There was some some poop in one nesting box and in in two areas so at least one, probably two, stayed up there at least a while last night.  But yeah makes sense they wouldn't climb up in the dark unless they were familiar with it already, and yeah with the light out and boxes in it is pretty much a black cave.  I think I'll keep putting them up there a few more nights but leaving the door to the run open so they know they can get in/out themselves, see what happens.  Maybe check on them late night before I go to bed to see what they are actually doing.

 

We don't have any plans for going away long, just assumed they could manage a couple nights in there if needed if we took a weekend trip.  Will see what happens there, but I've been warned, thanks!   Easy solution if they're two crowded is just eat the biggest one, although when I mentioned this to my wife she wasn't as open to the idea as I expected.

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma9o7 View Post
 

Thanks again!  

 

There was some some poop in one nesting box and in in two areas so at least one, probably two, stayed up there at least a while last night.  But yeah makes sense they wouldn't climb up in the dark unless they were familiar with it already, and yeah with the light out and boxes in it is pretty much a black cave.  I think I'll keep putting them up there a few more nights but leaving the door to the run open so they know they can get in/out themselves, see what happens.  Maybe check on them late night before I go to bed to see what they are actually doing.

 

We don't have any plans for going away long, just assumed they could manage a couple nights in there if needed if we took a weekend trip.  Will see what happens there, but I've been warned, thanks!   Easy solution if they're two crowded is just eat the biggest one, although when I mentioned this to my wife she wasn't as open to the idea as I expected.

Like I said, once overcrowding behaviors start; they are very, very difficult to put a stop to, even after they have more space. It's a thing best avoided entirely.

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