Can a coop be too light?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DotDog, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. DotDog

    DotDog In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2015
    My 10 week old pullets, 2 of them, sleep huddled in a corner, I put a box with shaving in the corner and a board over it, they seem to want to be "under" something. I am now starting to think, after looking at other inside coops that mine is designed wrong. The coop is 17 feet long by about 6 feet wide with a tunnel of about 2 feet to outside. Inside the coop is built in a 30 foot by 60 foot building with skylights. Is it getting too light for them? why do they want to hide under something except when I go in there, very friendly and jump in my lap. They have a roost but no sign of them using it, is my space too big for them as they can see they are in a big building? Is the light coming in making them want to be inside a dark place? should I make a dark box they can go in? they are too young to have nesting boxes right? I dunno what to do, someone advise me.[​IMG]

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Most young ones take a few months before they will roost, they will sleep on the floor in a pile like yours are, eventually they will feel confident enough to roost.
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Free Ranging

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    I don't think too light is an issue. They are young still. When they are free range outdoors it is not too light.!!! The lites go out when the sun sets, I do not see you having any problems due to the amount of light or the large size. The larger .... the better. Of course when it is cold, chickens will huddle together for warmth.. That does not translate to chickens wanting smaller facilities.


    They may seek overhead cover due to chickens natural instinct to be wary of overhead raptors.
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Sleeping in a pile on the floor is, as @oldhenlikesdogs says, perfectly normal. They'll roost when they're good and ready, and that time rarely coincides with what we think is a "suitable age".

    You coop is just beautiful, and no, during the day it can't be too lit! Lots of sunlight makes happy, healthy chickens! The only place you would want it dark is the nest boxes. They like dark, private places to settle in to lay their eggs.

  5. DotDog

    DotDog In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2015
    Thanks for all the comments. These 2 Bielefelders I have are just so neat and the first chickens I have ever had, so I am learning quite a bit. I can say, they don't have to be worried about anything overhead or tunneling under, the inside and outside is under roof, the inside obviously and the outside is completely under a huge overhanging roof (the shop was originally built for a woodworker who kept his wood out under it, the outside is flanked by a tall cement block wall. I had the workmen, double fence the chainlink with one by two welded wire. The rest is also double wired and wire on the ground with 4 inch cement pavers cemented over the wire on both open ends. Every crevice is blocked with wire or cement. After what I paid for the 2 Bielefelders, I am not going to have something kill them!!! These are pets only, I do not have or want a rooster, unfortunately I thought that perhaps I could bring the hens back to the guy I bought them from to breed for a few days and have some chicks, but I find it doesn't work that way (bummer). I had a automatic door put in yesterday and it works great!

    Here is some more questions:
    Should I let them sleep on the floor? or should I put the cardboard boxes back in for them, will the boxes (which they like enormously, keep them from learning to roost?

    I had wood shavings on the ground in the outside place, the ground was dirt and small smooth rocks, I took up all the wood shavings (that I had just put down) had 8 inch tall boards put all around the outside, in the inside place to keep the sawdust in the coop and replaced the shavings with wood stove pellets. These particular ones are oak. I plan to water them (as it dries very quickly here in South Texas) so they fall apart to sawdust. And I put the same bedding inside as the floor inside is cement. I have some heat lamps from my foal days, and I have some large heated dog pads, which is better for winter? and at what temp should I put them on?

    I have tried various things for them to eat, not realizing how many hens vs. volume of....I bought 7 pounds of dried worms for them. They will not eat them. How can I get them to eat them? just keep offering them? they love watermelon, I mean its like crack cocaine (and I know what that is like being a retired law enforcement officer) and they like tomatoes, I tried, Kale (nope), hanging the cucumber (nope), apple (nope) cantaloupe (nope), purple cabbage (nope) shredded carrot (nope), chopped fresh green beans (nope) corn on the cob (nope). They are voracious eaters of chick crumbles medicated, and I bought some top dressing "Rooster Booster" and I can say they have an extremely healthy appetite and eat quite a bit of that. They learned to drink from the toggle thing on the cooler the first day I had them! Will they begin eating different things if I just keep offering it to them? or is a first refusal the end of it on a type of food? I find them to be very VERY friendly and come running when they see me and jump on my lap, I was on my hands and knees and they both jumped on my back, so its not that they are timid chickens.

    I have ordered the 5 gallon bucket type nesting box, I see where they are supposed to be 18 inches off the ground, is that a rule? will that be correct height for Bielefelders? and they would go inside, right? where in relationship to the roost should the nesting boxes go? and when should I put them in, at what age? (they are 10 weeks old now)

    Having just moved here, I have tons of cardboard boxes, so I thought I would use a piece under the roost, for a poop catcher, should they ever decide to roost, will that be ok? this way I can just throw it away (and then move again when I run out of cardboard, to get a new supply).

    I would like to name them, but they are identical, and they seem to move in unison. Is there anything I can do to them to mark them so I can tell them apart? or should they just be Stella and Stella forever?

    Thanks to every one for helping me get started, I want to make the place right for them and feed them well and have happy Chickens, I will take some pictures today.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Great building...serious building envy here!!
    You can't ever have too much room.

    No heat needed!!
  7. KYTinpusher

    KYTinpusher Master Enabler

    Sep 3, 2011
    Northern KY
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Looks and sounds like you have a great set up. Your girls will roost when they decide it's time. You can try setting them up on the roosts when it starts getting dark to give them the idea, but don't be surprised if they jump right down the first few times. Take the cardboard boxes away and they will look for the highest place they can find to sleep.

    As for placement of your nesting boxes, make sure they are lower than your roosts or the girls will sleep (and poop) in them at night. Whatever height you put your roosts and nest boxes, make sure they have a ramp up to them, or a wide board in front of the nest boxes to land on if they fly up to them. The bigger the hens, the lower I like to put the nest boxes. Bielefelders are large birds, so I wouldn't put them too high unless you have a ramp to them. When you see their combs start to get bigger and start turning red, it is time to install the nest boxes and let them get used to them before they start laying. Put a fake egg or a golf ball in the nest boxes to give them the idea of what they are for.

    Cardboard under the roosts sounds messy to me, and the girls will probably tear it apart and eat it. Plus, any wet poops will invite the growth of mold or mildew in cardboard if it is not changed often. Also, cardboard easily absorbs moisture and could raise the humidity in your coop - a very bad thing. And the spaces in the corrugation can harbor bugs. [​IMG] Check out this thread for a much better idea -

    When introducing new foods, sprinkle a little of their grower crumbles on it. They will happily peck at the crumbles and quickly discover the goodies that lie beneath. [​IMG]

    I don't use medicated chick feed at all, but you should check the recommended age at which to switch to non-medicated. Leaving them on medicated too long can cause a vitamin deficiency (the medication is a thiamin blocker).

    You should not have to add any supplemental heat during the winter. Your girls should be all feathered out by now and are quite capable of keeping themselves warm as long as they are dry. Good ventilation is the key to winter survival. If you plan on only having the 2 girls, your coop is plenty big and looks like it has excellent ventilation as long as they are protected from any drafts and wet weather.

    To tell them apart, you can use a colored ziptie as a leg band on one or both of them. Avoid red as that is a color they love to peck at. Be sure to check it often while they are growing to make sure it does not get too small and cut off the circulation in the leg. Change it as necessary. Once they are grown, check it once in a while to make sure it is not causing irritation.

    Good luck and looking forward to pictures of your girls... [​IMG]

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