Originally Posted by Guvnah
In fact, for all the room I have in the coop, all the chickens would consistently sleep on just one perch, shoulder-to-shoulder. And the rest of the time they were out and about from sunup to sundown.
My coop is a converted horse stall in an old bank barn, the "run" is the rest of the lower part of the barn. My 16 girls have 28' of roost (24' is 2 parallel 12' roosts) plus bracing at 4' high and 8' at 2' high. They generally sleep in groups, being against a wall seems to be a preferred spot. They never use the 2' high roost except to access the 4' ones. And they almost never spend any time in the coop except to roost at night, eat, drink or lay eggs during the day. If they didn't have run space far in excess of the "minimum" I suspect they would use the coop during the day as well.
Originally Posted by Latestarter
Though chickens can be just about as complicated as you'd like to make them, they can also be pretty danged simple... Give them a place out of the wet and wind to roost at night. Give them some shade in the heat of the day. Give them a place to dig pits to dust bathe in. Give them some protection against predators. Make sure they have fresh (unfrozen) water every day. Give them some nutritious feed daily unless you can fully free range them.
Yep. Some people spend a lot more time than others. My minimum is about 5 minutes in the morning and 5 in the evening. I open the barn, give them whatever kitchen scraps I have (if not much of that, some BOSS), rake the coop (deep bedding, not real deep litter), check for eggs. At night I count them if they have been ranging outside the barn, dump in the ~1/2 gallon of feed (so they have food in the morning until I open the barn and through the day in the winter when they don't forage outside) and give them some scratch grains and close up the barn. The auto chicken door is connected to a photo cell and opens and closes the door to the coop automatically. I have chicken nipples in a pipe connected to 5 gallon drink "cooler" so about once a week I add water to it. If it is not below freezing I may or may not check for eggs during the day but when it is colder I go out every couple of hours unless I know there won't be any more that day.
Originally Posted by Deleon98
Yea it is 4×8.
Heres a picture of the wellhouse i could use but its pretty old so i figured i could use parts like the roof. What do you guys think about it?
Given you live in Florida, I would cut BIG openings in the side of the coop (leaving a couple of feet at the rear so there isn't wind over the birds on the roost you will put back there) and cover them with hardware cloth on the inside. DO NOT use Arrow style staple gun staples, use poultry/fence staples or screws with washers. Make awning style windows (hinged at the top) that swing up outside the coop. If you can find some at reuse places, so much the better as far as ease of construction. I suspect they will be open most of the year where you live.
You can make an external nest box and attach it to the back so you don't need to go into the coop to collect. Make sure the roost is higher than the nests. They feel safer sleeping up high.
And you DO have weasels, you just haven't seen them because you haven't put out a buffet yet:
Originally Posted by DanDeb
I'd live in that!
You might want to use the "quote" button rather than the "reply" button. I'm not sure which coop you are willing to live in.
Originally Posted by Latestarter
Congrats on your new chicks and ! Lots of great folks and great info here for you.
You said mama heating pad for in the house... You do know that they need to be kept at ~95F for the first week, then a 5-10 degree drop every week to 10 days over the next 3-4 weeks or so before you can "safely" put them out on their own, right? I know it's not "that cold" where you are in Austin, but it will get right chilly at night, and you folks have been down near freezing in the past I believe... The chicks can't be on their own without a broody to cover them until they are fully feathered. Maybe after you move them out you can run an extension cord to have the heat pad out in the coop for them... especially at night?
I am VERY surprised that you posted this Joe! The whole 24x7 95F -> 90F -> 85F thing is a crock. Yes they need a heat source. Yes they go under it (be it MHP or a brooding hen) less every day. Yes if you are using a heat lamp, it must heat the entire space 24x7 because the chicks need heat when they need it, not on a set schedule. But they do NOT need constant high temp 24x7. I watched the chicks I got on June 10th being raised by a broody. They spent more of their awake day time out from under her in 50s and 60s temps in the barn than they spent under even at 4 days of age (I got them at 3 days old). MHP mimics a brooding hen - a small warm space. They go under when they get cold, they come out when they get warm.
@Deleon98 - read through this: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update