Coop questions

SurbFarmGirl

In the Brooder
Apr 9, 2015
90
0
41
I have a few questions and hope some of you can give me some advice. Here is a picture of our coop (so far). We still have a lot to do (waiting on hardware cloth to be delivered tomorrow) and install our doors and roosts (and of course get rid of all the extra stuff that is in our temporary construction zone).


I live in Central CA and our winters are pretty mild. Does anyone keep their pop door open? I was thinking about just letting them have free reign from the henhouse to the run letting them roost either inside or out.

If I keep them inside .... I worry that it's going to be so HUGE for them (I only have 4 hens). Right now they doggy pile in the corner of their brooder so imagining them actually jumping onto a roost is kinda funny. Will they know to sleep on the roost or will they just continue to doggy pile on the floor in the corner?

It won't be bad giving my 4 hens that much space right? I think their hen house is a bit larger than their run (the run is 6ftx6ft).

Thank you in advance for your help!! I love my girls and want them to be happy :)
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,066
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
I have a few questions and hope some of you can give me some advice. Here is a picture of our coop (so far). We still have a lot to do (waiting on hardware cloth to be delivered tomorrow) and install our doors and roosts (and of course get rid of all the extra stuff that is in our temporary construction zone).


I live in Central CA and our winters are pretty mild. Does anyone keep their pop door open? I was thinking about just letting them have free reign from the henhouse to the run letting them roost either inside or out.

If I keep them inside .... I worry that it's going to be so HUGE for them (I only have 4 hens). Right now they doggy pile in the corner of their brooder so imagining them actually jumping onto a roost is kinda funny. Will they know to sleep on the roost or will they just continue to doggy pile on the floor in the corner?

It won't be bad giving my 4 hens that much space right? I think their hen house is a bit larger than their run (the run is 6ftx6ft).

Thank you in advance for your help!! I love my girls and want them to be happy :)

I am firmly of the mind that there is no such thing as too much space for birds and a 6x6 run is definitely not too much room (if anything, it is a hair under the commonly recommended 10 sq. ft. per bird for your 4 birds). The upside is that the coop is quite spacious and the minimal "underage" in run size is more than made up for - especially if you will never be increasing your flock to include more birds.
I am in a climate that is considerably more variable than your own, especially with regard to winter, and I leave my pop door open dawn to dusk year round (I only confine them at night as a security measure as I don't feel my run is secure enough to withstand a visit from a predator in the night when the birds are most vulnerable). With your run being constructed of hardware cloth, covered and if you install a "no dig skirt" I would probably feel safe leaving the pop door open at all times.
Young birds doggy pile, but as they grow and mature they will start to investigate roosting as a sleeping option and, before you know it, they will be roosting birds. One thing to keep in mind when you transition from the brooder to the coop, though, is that you don't want them to have access to the nest boxes while still in the "doggy pile" stage. This is because they will want to sleep in the boxes and you don't want that as they expel a lot of waste during the night and your next boxes will quickly become fouled, which is an issue once they do reach the point of production as then your eggs are being deposited into a poopy mess. Simply block off the nest boxes until they reach the point of lay so they have time to get firmly in the habit of roosting.
 
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SurbFarmGirl

In the Brooder
Apr 9, 2015
90
0
41
Ok thank you :) We may add to the run eventually .... to make it slightly larger but for now it is what it is. We won't be adding to our flock. 4 is our limit in the city ... and I don't want more mess :)

So with them being little .... will they learn to sleep inside the hen house on their own without me locking them in there at night? I won't be putting in the nesting boxes until they near the age to lay.
 

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