adding bunnies to the mix

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by missmissi, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. missmissi

    missmissi Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2013
    Quinlan, TX
    Hope I'm in the right forum, took the best guess.

    We are preparing to build a larger coop to allow us to accommodate new additions to our flock this year.

    We have 5 ladies right now and they have a chicken tractor, built like Ft. Knox, used primarily at night and to visit throughout the day for fresh feed and clean water protected from the elements. They roost their without our assistance each night. They free range during the day side by side with mini goats and ponies. Their roosting room on top is 3'x4' with 5 wood poles in a 3'x3'x3' graduated formation.

    We are planning a 10x12 coop for again primarily night time use, free range during the day. We plan to bring in 4-6 chicks and 2-4 turkeys this year. My blueprint allows a 5 wide x 5 deep x 6 high roost area. Poles 3", 12" 3' and 4' high up with a 1' wide ramp to reach all poles if any prefer to walk up the ramp rather than to fly. The 3" lowest pole will accommodate our special needs girl as well as others, and the 3' & 4' poles to accommodate turkeys allowing a minimum 2' head clearance, as the ceiling will be 6' high.

    I've planned 8 nesting boxes for our 5 current girls plus 4-6 New ones (we're sure to get more chicks up the road so we want extra room for a growing flock) and 2 2x2x2 turkey nesting boxes. The 1' wide ramp is planned on the same wall as the roost and will provide access to all nest boxes too. We will not be breeding. There is also a 2'x4' brooder for the young birds at night. Nobody will be exposed to the older chicks until I feel they can defend themselves.

    Does this sound like enough roost and nest space to accommodate 2-4 turkeys?

    On the opposing wall I would like to shelter some rabbits in a 4 foot wide, 2 foot deep, 6 foot high maze of a 4 or 5 level sleep,eat and play condo for rabbits, at night only.

    With this 10x12 building having 4 8"x24" hinged vents near the ceiling, 4 2ft wide by 3ft high sliding windows placed in the center of opposing walls for cross ventilation and linoleum covered wood floor with exterior locking pullout drawers under the roost and bunny hut for cleaning, for night use only.

    Does this sound like a realistic accommodation for rabbits too? They all should only be in the coop to get feed, water (there are also outdoor waterers) and sleep.

    I plan to obtain the buns, new chicks and turkeys (all little bitty) at the same time to give them an early start together. They will live in our home for a few weeks to familiarize with us then go outside to a temporary day time enclosure the sleep protected inside their coop/condo at night. During the time they are in their day enclosure I will teach them, including bunnies, that the coop is their home, they can eat there and they should go there at night to all sleep together at night. Then release the new guys after a few weeks to free range with the existing chicks. No, the goats and ponies will not be living in the coop, they have their barns.

    10'x12' building
    6-8 ft ceilings
    2 3-foot wide doors for human entrances
    4 8"x24" dropdown hinged vents
    4 2'x3' sliding glass windows
    4 5Wx5Dx4H roost poles, 3"-4' high, 2ft head clearance
    8 chicken nests boxes
    2 turkey nest boxes
    2x2x2 brooder (cabinet ground level)
    Outdoor protected run for temporary day use.
    4x2x6 bunny hut, their feed would be kept here.
    1 indoor waterer, 1-2 outdoor waterer, 1-2 feeders inside - high enough to keep out buns.
    2 2x2 supply cabinets (we keep all feed in a separate rodent-proof shed.
    Wood floor with linoleum and probably shavings.
    Hoping my idea for pullout drawers to remove manure is realist to the builder, that would be sweet.

    I read ALOT on the web, but nobody is doing exactly what I have planned.

    Plz let me know what u think.

    Truly yours.
    Long-winded in Texas ;)
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Is there a reason why you're putting the roosts so high? DP birds may run into issues with lameness jumping down from such a height repeatedly. Even if you give them a ramp, they'll jump.
     
  3. missmissi

    missmissi Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2013
    Quinlan, TX
    I'm a rookie, I don't know what dp is.

    Thanks for the comment on height. We had a Tom 3 years ago, he liked to roost on the 10 foot high railing on our deck. I couldn't make him stop and it ultimately lead to his demise, which we are still scarred from. A moment of silence for Phil the turkey.

    I recently have read multiple articles about how turkeys like to roost "high, high up". The poles on our current roost are 4 poles within a total 24 inch graduated height, 2ft wide, 2ft depth and 2ft of space above the top pole. Currently have 5 hens using it.

    Can I get away with lower poles? How high and far apart would you recommend? I planned for 4 poles between 3 inches and 4 feet off the floor, spaced over a 5 feet depth.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Sorry. DP = dual purpose. I've never had turkeys, so can't advise you there. I'm just thinking about the height for the chickens jumping, also any possible issues with them being close to the ceiling if you have vents up there, which may increase draft and contribute to frost bite, but now, I see you're in TX, so that's probably not an issue!
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My turkeys like to roost very high up. My very top roost is about 9ft high and that's where they sleep every night (though my hen has gotten into the habit of trying to go into the tree next to their coop each night :/ and we have to run her in early to keep her where she's supposed to be). Mine is also a graduated roosting system, the lowest roost pole is about 3ft of the ground and they go up from there.
    I think as long as your birds aren't jumping down onto a hard surface, like a bare dirt or wood floor, you wont have to worry about lameness. A thick layer of shavings or straw should give them some cushion when they land.
     
  6. missmissi

    missmissi Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2013
    Quinlan, TX

    How big are your nest boxes for turkeys? How much head clearance do you have over that 9ft roost?

    Thx
     
  7. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My hen nests in a medium sized dog crate, I guess its somewhere around 2Wx3Lx2H? She's got a good amount of space in there. There's about 4ft of head clearance above my top roost, I didn't want them hitting the roof when they flew up there. Most of the time they hop from roost to roost, but sometimes they just fly right to the top, so I wanted to make sure there was enough space up there for them to avoid making contact.
     

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