conflicting advice!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by catlikethief, May 15, 2008.

  1. catlikethief

    catlikethief In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Portland OR
    Hi everyone!

    I have a few questions about my coop. It's 8x6x7 with grass/dirt floor. I have 5 girls in there now and don't really plan on getting more for some time.

    Anyhow. I live in a very busy predator area. We have hawks, owls, opossums and many raccoons. I don't have the materials at hand right now to build a separate run for during the day. Can I just leave them in the coop? Is it ok for them to peck on the ground where they poop? Everyone has there own opinion, and so i am very conflicted on what is humane for them.

    I'm not opposed to the deep litter method, and they can free range at night time when i know the hawks are not around.
    They do have several perches to rest on but for some reason haven't gotten the flying thing down yet.
    Thanks everyone !!

    **Edited to add** I meant free range at night after my kids go to sleep (6pm'ish) with me present for a short period of time, Sorry for the confusion and THANKS for all the great advice.

    Last edited: May 15, 2008
  2. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    The grass won't last forever. Just toss in some raked up leaves and such (deep litter method), unless of course you can move the coop like a tractor setup and give them access to fresh grass.

    Free ranging at night won't really work because they'll go to roost at that time, plus that's when the owls, racoons, and possums are out.
  3. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    Do they have some shelter to go into? Do NOt let them free range at night, most predators are out hunting at night and you will lose them all. If they have some shelter that they can be locked up into at night then you will be ok until you get it finished.
  4. barred rock'er

    barred rock'er In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Yeah they should be fine, is there any way to move that coop around the yard,daily weekly etc.?

    also don't know if free ranging at night is such a great idea since you said you have a large population of raccoons, and owls.
    Great coop, love the hardware cloth good job![​IMG]
  5. catlikethief

    catlikethief In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Portland OR
    The coop will be movable in a week or so. I have to buy some handles for it, my husband made sure it was nice and heavy! So i/we can't move it.

    I'm sorry, when i said they can free range at night I meant with me present! after the kids go to sleep. Yeah, that would be a real bad idea [​IMG]
  6. eggzettera

    eggzettera Songster

    First things first..... [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Your roost looks a little high for the amount of space thinking you would need to be a helicopter or a bee to have the trajectory needed. JMO

    Good looking coop! [​IMG]
  7. Anny

    Anny Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    chicken will not free range at night time, they like to go into a coop or safe place at night. They need sheltered area they can do into at night, Since at night is while most the evil critters come out looking for some fresh chicken.
  8. catlikethief

    catlikethief In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Portland OR
    Thanks eggzettera

    You're right the roost is too high and has been moved down since I took these pictures. It's all a work in progress!
  9. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Hi and Welcome to BYC!!

    It's so hard when you get conflicting advice from people on things. (You should have read my Guinea post! Half the people said do it one way and half said the other.[​IMG]

    So - take what everybody says, use common sense and your own good judgment.

    Chickens will destroy whatever ground they are on and it will very quickly become a dirt wasteland with nothing but poo laying around. That's normal and nothing to worry about. You can clean up the poo regularily to help with pest control (worms, etc.) but it will still be there and the chickens will eat anything that falls on that ground and be just fine.

    I love using the DLM method. You could certainly do that in your coop. I can't tell if you have a inside area to that coop? If you do then you want to lock up the girls at night to keep them safe from predators. You are using hardware cloth on the outside area -- that's fantastic -- your best choice! It would be hard for any predator to into that as long as it's secured tightly to the wood. The chickens do need a draft free, dry enclosed area to get to into - maybe you already have that for them?

    The perch/roost that I see in the picture seems a little high for those chickens without a second, lower roost for them to jump up onto and then to the higher one.

    I'm assuming by letting them free range at night you actually mean the evening time? All chickens will go to roost (either on the ground, in a nestbox or on an actual roost) at dusk so they wouldn't want to go out at that time ... plus there are always night time predators around most areas that would be a concern.

    Hope this helps.
  10. catlikethief

    catlikethief In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Portland OR
    Thanks Chirpy for clearing up a few things for me!

    I assume when you say an enclosed place I can lock them up at night, you mean a place i put them in in the evening and take them out in the morning? So far I've just been placing them on their roost ( it has since been lowered sine i took these pictures).

    They do have some nesting boxes but at the moment aren't into them much but we did plan on making a little dwelling for them tonight attached to the boxes making everything enclosed.

    We really splurged on the hardware cloth, stuff is not cheap. I still have blisters on my hands from stapling it.

    And yes free range in the evening but not before sun down, just after my kids go to sleep (6pm'ish) it usually stays light out until 8pm or so. and I would be in the back yard with them during that time.


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