So... our first chicks are en route and scheduled to arrive tomorrow or Thursday. I'm so excited (and nervous)! I think I have everything set up and ready. We're brooding them in the coop. We live in West Central Florida and the temperatures at night have been around 60 (except for yesterday). What do you think? Anything I'm missing? Does it look right? We have 15 chicks coming and I'm using one 12x24 sunbeam pad.
I really like your coop!! How big is it?? I was going to make 4x8 off the ground but really like this design! Looks like maybe 4x6? 4x8? Did you build or buy? Instructions or pics of build?
That is very true! I think it was the second winter with our June 2012 chicks that my wife and I were counting the girls in the pretty dark coop (from the outside) to make sure they had all gotten in before the auto door had closed) and could not count past 11 from the front or either side of the coop. Couldn't find a chicken outside the coop either. I finally went in and discovered that Peep, a Cubalaya, was so far under one of the other girls only her head was sticking out. I don't recall which girl she was "under" but since none of them had ever raised chicks it seemed pretty odd that Peep wasn't shoved out.
How about a piece of plywood cut with a 90 degree opening on one corner that can slide diagonally so that both the top and one side of the opening can shrink/grow at the same time?
Yes, I guess my statement was a bit too "black and white". 5 of my 7 broody raised chicks headed to the roost by themselves over a couple of days then the broody went up and the other 2 came with her. They did shove under for a couple of days but she put a stop to it I think.
I would be tempted to get out a strong set of pliers and angle the back pair of legs so the back of the cave will be lower than the front, ~ 2" off the floor.
And that gap in the front looks like a perfect "chick suicide" location, getting trapped between the pad and the rack above, overheating and dying. Just because they can get in doesn't mean they can get out.
7" is WAY too high. You aren't trying to create a heated cave, you are trying to create the underside of a hen that is touching the back of the chicks but that they can adjust their position for more or less contact or none at all.
I would put both the food and water up off the shavings or that is what you will have in both.
Is that a 1 gallon waterer? It is a lot bigger than you need while they are in "brooder" mode. I wouldn't fill it very far because you will be replacing the water frequently as the chicks toss shavings, food and poop in it. A "standard" 1 pint chick waterer is plenty big enough for 15, they don't all drink at the same time (same with a feeder). The chicks will be on top of either within a week.
Given where you live, is there enough ventilation in the coop for the chickens when they are older? Heat will kill a critter with a permanent down coat.
Also have to agree with bruce about putting those up off the ground. For the first day or two it's fine onthe ground so theycan find it but very very soon they turn into brats! Mine were CONSTANTLY getting shavings and poop in the food and water or tipping over the food!!!! And they are brats or stupid and won't dig around and eat around the shavings if they get in there