Brand newbie. Some questions.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lauraetco, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. lauraetco

    lauraetco New Egg

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    Nov 1, 2012
    Hi there,
    My boyfriend and I have decided to get some laying hens.
    I knew nothing about keeping chickens until about half an hour ago, when I logged onto the internet.

    I have a some questions.

    1) Do they need sunlight? I have the perfect room in my horse barn but it has no windows. Will that work?

    2) How do you keep their water from freezing in the winter? How long can they go without water?


    That's it. I think.

    Thanks
     
  2. rikithemonk

    rikithemonk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2012
    Mont Dora Florida
    Welcome to the forum.

    Chickens need a certain amount of light per day in order to lay eggs. As long as you have a timer and run strong lighting for the proper amounts of time, then you will be fine. However, it may not be the best life for your flock.

    To help us advise you. How many hens, How many roosters? How large is the run area? (consider this their exercise yard) How large is the coop? (sleeping area) How many nest boxes do you have?

    With this info, we can advise you better..

    Riki
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  3. Angelpoo

    Angelpoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would never leave my chickens without sunlight. You should probably put at least a window in. They will also need something to cause a draft in the hot summer months.... So a window that can open and close...you should even let them out on the weekends.they will find there own way back home at night but you will have to lock them up at night though so preditors don't get them.


    As for the water you can buy a heat lamp for the winter. A red lamp is probably better than a white lamp.
     
  4. rikithemonk

    rikithemonk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mont Dora Florida
    Sorry, Forgot to cover the water.

    If you look around the forums here you will see many examples of water warmers and coop warmers. These tend to be home made "do it yourself" projects. The simplest one is basically a light bulb with an upside down clay plant pot on top of it. The water dish sits on the pot. Bulb heats pot, pot keeps water from freezing.

    My suggestion is to read this site and its forums before you do anything. I started knowing nothing about chickens. After reading sites like these, I began to realize just how bad and inappropriate my preparations were. I had a lot of things wrong and a lot of very wrong pre conceived ideas. It cost me money because I had to scrap a lot of what I built.

    Riki
     
  5. cknkids

    cknkids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We jumped in last June when our 2nd grader brought home the chicks they hatched it in class. Been playing catch up ever since. So if you haven't all ready jumped (gotten your chickens) do your homework and aim for chicks in the spring after settling out and completing their living arraignments. We spent all summer building a coop and could leave home.
     
  6. lauraetco

    lauraetco New Egg

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    Nov 1, 2012
    Thanks for your reply.

    Ok, it's obvious now that I can't use the room I wanted to. It's totally enclose so they'll overheat in the summer.

    My other option is a horse stall. There is a window but it's not totally see-thru. I like the idea of a light and timer. I would guess it's 10x10 or 12x12. I'm thinking I'll just cover the floor in shavings and let them run around. I'll have to seal the space between the top of the stall and the ceiling with chicken wire so raccoons and cats can't get in. Hmm...I wonder if a cat can fit through the bars. This may be more complicated than I had anticipated.

    I was thinking 4 hens and no roosters. Maybe 2 nesting boxes. I also have a wooden crate that I can put in there. It'll give them something to jump up onto.
     
  7. lauraetco

    lauraetco New Egg

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    Nov 1, 2012
    A heat lamp. Great idea.
    Really? They find their way back home! Have any of yours ever been eaten during the day?
     
  8. lauraetco

    lauraetco New Egg

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    Nov 1, 2012
    Good idea. I'll look around the site. I probably have a lot of wrong pre conceived ideas...lol. Luckily, I haven't purchased anything yet:)
     
  9. Mavrk

    Mavrk Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would actually say that Fall is a good time to get chicks. That way you bypass the dormant months of winter when many chickens lay less eggs. You will have eggs for Spring.

    You will need to start with a brooder for the first month or two before they go out in the coop. That is a good place to start. I had them in a couple large cardboard boxes in my garage with a heat lamp, but the weather was warm enough for that.

    I am not sure if this was addressed, but chickens will always need access to water.

    ETA: I am new to all this as well. Also, I live in Northern California where the weather does not get as cold.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  10. chickers

    chickers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2012
    Gold Country California
    Chicken wire is not effective protection from predators. Chicken wire will keep chickens in but that's all. You need half inch hardware cloth for protection from predators.

    Your hens will also need roosts. The easiest roost would be a 2 x 4 board with the 4 inch side up.
     

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