begining again.... planning ahead.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by purplebaby, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. purplebaby

    purplebaby Songster

    May 20, 2007
    east long island
    through one thing and another i have lost all my chickens this year, no one else i know has had such a problem. i want to make sure i am prepared and i do it right so i will not have a repeat! my first year and a half with chickens hasnt been great or easy.

    i will begin again for spring i guess. i will use my time to look at chicks online and changing the chick house and coop. i would like to move it as i think some of the problems may be the location or the ground there. if i can prepare a good ground to settle during the winter it would be a fresh start. does anyone think this could help? if so what is a good ground to start with? compost? i have only owned this house 2 yrs and it is over 30 yrs old, it is possible the ground is contaminated in that area as the shed used to be over near there.

    other advice i am looking for:
    what is a friendly cute chicken that is possibly a bantam or fluffy as that is what dd would like. it has to be winter hardy, and not gonna fly away.

    i have not had predator problems. between 5 dogs, good fences and a solid yet ventilated coop the bad guys dont come here. they stick to the neighbor's garbage.

  2. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    I have a *showgirl* which is a naked neck silkie and even today when it is 7 degrees out he is the first one out of the coop - so I think silkies in general do fine in the cold and he doesn't fly well so that would be good. I also have Mille Fleur D'uccles which I love but they do fly to the top of my shed (about 8 foot) and could easily escape my 6 foot fence but choose not to. My frizzled banty cochins also do fine in the cold and can barely get on the lowest roost without a boost.

    All of these guys are friendly. Especially the cochins and D'uccles. The D'uccles are big chatter boxes too.
  3. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    What kind of ground is best?
    For the enclosed and covered run I put hardware cloth down and covered it with a 4"-6" thick pad of sand (I bought a pickup load) over that. The sand kind of packs down solid, but drains. The poo dries up and kind of clumps like in cat litter and I rake it up off the top. No smell, clean. In the house itself I use shavings.

    I had bantam buff orpingtons. They were lovely and sweet and fluffy. They are good egg layers and winter hardy. Mine were freindly and nice to each other, no pecking or nastiness although they had been raised together and I had no rooster so there wasn't much stress. They were happy to run around the yard, and happy to come in again. A quiet and easy to manage little flock.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  4. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    I wanted to add that although they do drive preditors away, and have shown no inclination to bother the chickens, I do not trust my dogs completely. For reasons unknown they can suddenly decide to kill a chicken even if they have never done so before. I think that redesigning your chicken facilities with a view to safety is wise.

    I am adding some upgrade sugestions, I have done these retrofits lately to my setup and they are soooo worth it.

    Extra roost areas low down both inside and outside in the covered area of the run . Kind of chicken jungle gyms. Cheap easy entertainment. If I had anything but a sand floor I would be sure to add a dustpit for dustbaths.

    I built a permanent extra mother in law house setup in the run. It can be used as a jail, broody house, newcomer safety introduction quaters or whatever. I built it in the run area under the henhouse. It is enclosed for safety with it's own 1'x2' house and 2'x3' run and except for inside the little house part which is private the whole thing is very visible to the chickens in the other area. I put lots of wire doors in both the house and run including ones that can be acessesd (by me) from inside the normal big run to reach in and grab a reluctant bird for treatment and a tiny one that can be left open for chicks. (I use this setup way more often than I would have guessed).

    A window with shutters that work. The window lets in extra light and heat during the day here. (If I were further south I'd make sure it opened and screen it for extra ventilation in the summer). I have been shuttering it at night and opening it in the AM. The Roo has been sleeping until I open them. (Still early folks but late sunrise, rather than early dawn)
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008

  5. Sorry you've had such a bad start. I'd put them on sand. It's cheap, clean and dry. Just rake it down once in a while. You can also toss in wood ashes once in a while if you have them and this makes for wonderful dust bathing material. Save the compost for the garden.
    Good luck selecting a breed. Everyone has a favorite and a wish list. [​IMG]
    My silkie hen is my favorite and I wish I had a roo for her.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by