MOVE IN AND MODIFICATIONSMOVE IN DAYEaster Sunday, I transferred the flock in the evening, one by one, into the new coop. I left the coop light on all night for them to get their bearings and explore their new digs.
I've had to clip all of the birds wings to varying degrees to keep them in their 1/3-acre electro-netted pen as they were accustomed to free-ranging all over tarnation and beyond and were getting into trouble. Therefore, many of them need the ramp to get up to the roosts. But they needed a bit of training to show them how to do it. Three nights of training and they had it down.
I had stapled some old tarp scraps over the window openings as late April and May in NY can still offer up cold windy nights and the windows still aren't done.
This day, three days after Easter, was also the day the chicks arrived.
They immediately took to the "baby bottle" I made for the first brood. SO much cleaner and drier than a fount waterer.
The rooster and hens view of the chicks.
After about 2 1/2 weeks, I shut the bigs out of the coop and opened the chick pop doors so they could explore the coop. Once they got over their initial apprehension, it was utter mayhem as they chest bumped and flew around the coop.
MODIFICATIONSI had to install "guard rails" on the ends of the roosts. Funny at first because no one was hurt but someone got shouldered off the end of the roost near the nest boxes. So I took down the easy to remove roosts and screwed scrap trim boards to the ends.
I really didn't put too much thought into the brooder other than the space and access to the brooder run. Cleaning the brooder out the first time was terrifying for the chicks as I had to sweep up the dirty pine shavings and haul them out the top with a long handled dust pan.
The plywood panel in the cut off corner area and it's bottom framing were modified into a door that I can open and sweep everything out into the brooder room to pick up from there. That was SOOOOO much easier.
"Kick boards" were also added to the wire wall between the brooder and the room as the kids made a fine mess scratching through their bedding and flinging it through the HC.
When the chicks were 5 weeks old, I started leaving their brooder doors open so they could come and go among the hens and Fabio as they wished. For the first week, they would return to the brooder to roost. After that, they made their way up to the coop roost closest to the nest boxes and piled in there and on the landing in front of the nest boxes.
After observing the roost time behavior it also became apparent I needed to adjust the height of the roosts as it was too easy for roosted hens to give head shots to the lower ranking hens walking past them to find their roost spot. The height was raised from 10" to 13".
I took this opportunity to rip the roosts in half and rasp and sand the edges to make them smooth and rounded and easier to grasp. This shape and new height worked out MUCH better. You can see these modifications in the above image.
By the time the chicks were 10 weeks old, it became apparent to me that I needed more roosting space so I built another 6' section of poop board and 7' of roosting space and installed it where the ramp was, in front of one of the clean out doors. I don't need to open both clean out doors but I made this extra roosting space removable.
In my old coop/run combo, I kept the feed trough in the run. I don't know why I was compelled to put my feeders in the coop. In the interest of additional landing and unobstructed floor space, the troughs have been moved to the run. The added roosting space greatly reduced the Roost-time Rumble.
Below is a night time snapshot from my Wyze cam. BTW, chickens do not sleep all night long. I have looked in on them at any and all hours of the night to find many little glowing eyes open and preening going on.
The new feed trough location. So much easier to fill and when I clean the PBs, no dirty sand/PDZ sifts down into the troughs. I will be moving the grit and OS dispensers out and installing them on either end of the feeder stations soon. This is basically 20 linear feet of feeding space for 26 birds.
The plastic tub in the bottom middle of the camera shot contains two bricks and a large chunk of ice. We are having enough of a heat wave here that the birds are panting in the afternoon so I leave ice for them in the morning and it lasts all day. They wade in and sip the cold water that melts off the block.
THE BATTLE OF THE BROODIESMy head hen went broody on me first. I broke her in 3 nights and one day in the crate.
My second in command went next. She was showing no signs of breaking after 7 days. Quite the contrary she was getting worse as time went on. I gave in.
My third in command went next!! What gives here?? I broke her in 8 days. She showed signs of weakening as we went along.
This brings us back to number two. Meet my sweet Barbara doing her best turkey impersonation...
I conceded defeat on the 4th of July. I made some very quick modifications to the brooder and gave her 4 eggs to set.
She was at that point very happy. None of my girls had ever set before. This would be an experience. I left everything up to her. Her three weeks on the nest happened during a pretty good heat wave so I set her up with her own personal fan. She got tossed off the nest every morning and evening for broody breaks.
On July 24, 2019 the eggs began to pip.
This is her reward.
Three of the 4 eggs hatched. Two of the three babies got daddies 5 toes, all got his feathered legs and muffs. I hope none inherited his attitude!
I had to modify the brooder to coop access to accommodate mom and chicks when she is ready to bring them out to meet the family.
I also put some boards in to make steps for when Barb decides to take them outside to the brooder run.
A shed to coop conversion including sketches, design criteria, list of features and approximate build cost.
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Animal lover and Doberman addict, health and fitness enthusiast, former runner now hiker, once equestrian and showed Western, Chemical Engineer by training and occupation, House Flipper at heart, unhappily retired from it . I eat a Paleo diet which led me to wanting chickens for fresh, healthy eggs. After acquiring my flock, I quickly realized that they play a huge roll in stress management.
I love taking neglected houses and renovating them into someone's home! It is the most rewarding work I've ever done and I loved every aspect of it. So, because I can no longer flip houses, I decided to flip a shed into a coop for me and the chickens!