Coop and run too small?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ksr1, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. ksr1

    ksr1 New Egg

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    Mar 14, 2013
    We have seven hens. We have a 4x8 coop that sits up two feet off the ground. It is inside the chicken run which is 8x9. So they have 32 sf in the coop and 72 in the run. The girls are pecking each other's backs. Because of dogs in the yard, they do not get to leave their run. Is this too small for them. Five of the seven chickens have a good sized patch of feathers pecked off of their backs. If the run is an appropriate size, how do I get them to quit pecking each other?[​IMG]
     
  2. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    adding space to the run will certainly help. other issues that cause pecking are boredom, lack of feed or water, and vitamin deficiencies.

    you might try hanging some fresh green leaves from lettuce, spinach or something similar for them to peck at- the vitamins wont hurt them either. make sure waterers are staying full and not to hot for them to drink.

    throw a handful of cat food in there a day or so a week to raise protein. dont overdo it as a little catfood is good, to much is toxic.
     
  3. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Black oiled sunflower seeds are great for extra protein, are the dogs yours if so keep them in that's how it works here chickens are out dog is in, dog is out chickens are in.
     
  4. aliciasimon

    aliciasimon Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 6 hens in an 8x9 foot pen with a coop and they all seem happy, no pecking issues. It is probably something else. Adding some distraction might help - I've heard of people hanging a cabbage to keep them busy. Good luck.
     
  5. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    be careful with black oil sunflower seeds, they cause a fat deposit directly above the vent making it harder for hens to pass eggs. some BOSS is excellent for chickens. we had to cut our mix back to 50lbs of BOSS to a 775lb mix, this past spring we lost in the neighborhood of 25 hens (out of around 350) due to egg binding over them being to fat.

    wheat and hog pellets are the generally accepted best form of raising protein; depending on your situation. i have also used calf manna, fish meal, and meal worms. calf manna was ruled out over cost, fish meal over mercury, mealworms we still use as a treat, but they do not make a good feed additive.
     
  6. I think it is too small-- but you could also use some playthings for the gals in the run. We have a few outdoor roosts and a dust bath in the run that our gals like to sit on and bathe in. Perhaps these might be a good short-term solution?
     
  7. Janet Pesaturo

    Janet Pesaturo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is no set amount of space that prevents feather picking, but if they had better things to do, the picking probably would not have started. Keeping the dogs in and letting chickens out for a few hours a day, and hanging leaves of cabbage, lettuce, chard, kale, etc., in the run, might provide a little entertainment and reduce the picking. But honestly, once picking becomes a habit, it is hard to stop it.

    One school of thought is that protein deficiency causes feather picking, and they eat the feathers literally to get more protein, so you could try increasing dietary protein. I personally don't think protein deficiency is the cause, because the only time I have seen feather picking develop in my own flock is when they have to be confined for some reason, such as when we go on vacation. I think the problem is boredom. But tossing in some dried mealworms, for example, still might help, because they'll have fun scratching around for them.
     
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