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1st Time Owner (Built a Coop)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by davef72, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Bird People,

    Just bought a dozen three week old chicks from a reputable dealer here in Texas.
    2 Barred Rocks
    2 Red Sex Links
    2 Golden Laced Wyandotte
    2 Americauna
    2 Australorp
    2 Buff Orpington

    Very excited about this adventure. We have our coop already built, but winter is coming quickly here in Texas. I'd planned on keeping them in a 3x3 cage in our laundry room until they're feathers can allow my to place them in the coop with a heat lamp. Hopefully in the next 3-4 Weeks

    Am I forgetting anything that you seasoned vets may want to pass along to this novice bird guy?


    Sincerely,
    Rook from Tejas
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy davef72

    Good job on the coop build and yep having chickens is an exciting adventure along with educational and enjoyable .. my only regret with having chickens is that I did not get them sooner [​IMG]

    I am in Aus so probably not the best person to comment but some things I thought of that you can either rule out or consider depending on your circumstances are:

    What type of predators do you have? Anything that could dig it’s way in? Might be worth considering pavers or a buried wire skirt around the bottom to keep them out.

    Are you free ranging? If not, is there plenty of room for 12 chickens? If they do not have enough room boredom might kick in along with squabbling and feather picking.

    It looks like you have great ventilation and as long at their roost is draft free, they can snuggle for warmth.

    I am guessing the roost is in the top section with the nest boxes? Does this close off from the run below? I am not sure of your climate but if it does not and it gets really cold, you might consider fashioning something to wrap around the lower section to aid in keeping them that bit warmer.

    Again, living in Aus, I should probably consider air conditioning the coop, not heating it but there is a recent thread on whether to heat the coop or not and the dangers of using a heat lamp in the coop:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1053652/what-too-heat-my-chicken-coop-with#post_16143573

    Also, there are lots of great articles in the Learning Centre:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

    Good luck on your new adventure and as you probably have already discovered, BYC is overflowing with knowledgeable, friendly folks who are more than happy to answer any questions so do not hesitate to ask.
     
  3. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2015
    East Texas
    Telia,
    Thanks for the great reply. The coop has the run included. Their nesting & roosting are located in the cantilever hanging over on the right side. I've dug down 8-10 inches w/ buried hardware cloth, then poured sac-crete in the trench to fortify it from digging predators.
    I'm concerned how soon I can get them out of my house and into the coop! Living here in northeastern Texas it gets cold from Jan-Mar.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

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    Since your three-week olds are your first chickens, I would go ahead and install them in the coop right away. But be very, very cautious with that heat lamp. People have neglected to think things through, used a string to try to secure the lamp and ended up having the string catch fire and burn down the entire coop, chickens and all. Your chicks shouldn't need the heat lamp except at night and only for another couple weeks, then I would remove it.

    As for your run being included in your coop building, I don't believe you've allotted enough space for twelve chickens. They need at minimum ten square feet per chicken in the day time quarters, and a minimum of four square feet in their sleeping quarters, and a minimum of a foot of roosting space per. But I recommend more since they need "flapping" room when jumping up to the perch, and chickens already there can get knocked off the perch, resulting in tempers flaring.

    Check the perimeter for vulnerable spots where a fox or weasel could dig under. Raccoons are especially adept at finding very small cracks to gain access and then have their way with all your chickens. You may not have noticed any predators hanging around, but once you have chickens out there, it will be like you've put up a sign, "Meat Market".
     
  5. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2015
    East Texas
    Azygous,
    So you don't think it's too cold for them outside now?
    My coops dimensions are 9x11. That's 99 sq feet for 12 birds. I read somewhere this was plenty of room for my birds. I sure hope it works.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

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    Your setup is deceptive. I wouldn't have guessed you squeezed that much square footage out of such a compact-looking building.

    As long as you provide a heat source for your chicks that, when measured directly beneath the lamp, is appropriately warm for their age, yours being around 75 degrees, the rest of the environment can be below freezing for all the chicks care. They will be gloriously happy running around in all that space, and when they feel the need to warm up, they will pop themselves under the lamp, and then they will move on again.

    To determine if the lamp is at the correct height, watch the chicks. If they never use the area directly beneath the light, it's too low.
     
  7. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2015
    East Texas
    Bump to the top...looking for any other advice for this novice chicken guy.

    I've been holding them for small amounts of time. I want them to be familiar with my family & I. Keeping them in laundry room is a smelly venture.
     
  8. davef72

    davef72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2015
    East Texas
    Any other suggestions, I'd be very grateful for the knowledge passed along.
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    If you can run a heat lamp to the coop, go ahead and move them out now. they'll be just as warm under that lamp outside as in your house. I have two week old chicks in my unheated garage with a heat lamp and they're doing fine. I'd move them to the coops, but space is going to be a challenge and they'll need to be bigger to put in with older birds. if I had an empty coop or pen they'd be out there, not in the garage.

    I like your design [​IMG].

    I agree space may get a bit tight in the spring when the birds are full grown. You'll just have to watch your flock and listen to what they tell you. They can't say "Hey, we're kind of crowded here and Buffy over there gets on my nerves all day and I can't get away from Barbie and she chases me all over the place". What they do is get stressed and start behaviors like picking/pecking on each other, being susceptible to parasites, decreased egg production, things like that. If you see any of those signs, you'll need to re-eval how many birds you have and how much space. You may never have problems with your birds, or you may need to thin things out come March. it's impossible to predict, sorry.
     
  10. 2FunKids

    2FunKids Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 5, 2015

    I am in Michigan and my three week old chics are in a brooder in my coop. I have a heat lamp.
     

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