Determining when to set up a hospital coop - feedback please

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Life is Good!, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    The Problem:
    We've got a small flock of Black Java's - 1 roo and 7 hens (5 hens, 2 pullets who are about 9mo).

    Due to a fox attack earlier in the fall, one pullet is blind in one eye, and one hen has become increasingly lame. No, I cannot find a reason for the hen being lame - no obvious broken bones - joints manipulate properly, she just doesn't like to put weight on it so something obviously happened. The pullet is blind in her right eye, she finds food and treats just fine - but is the lowest on the peckiing order ladder and obviously insecure. If you approach her, she fights viciously and retreats into the nearest corner.

    They all share a very nice cozy coop. But this morning, the blind pullet had been attacked and has a fairly decent wound on the back of her head. Both the blind girl and the lame girl are quite reluctant to come out of the coop since the weather has turned truly wintery. In fact, I don't find either one out at any time of day since about early Dec. (so about 5wks now). They seem to enjoy hanging out in the coop together just fine.

    I have a broody house coop that I made - it's not well insulated nor very big - it's 2'x4' floor space. It's got lots of ventilation, as I made it for a summer-time broody and didn't want her to overheat.

    Please give me feedback on this idea I have.

    The Idea!
    1. Using a tarp and some poles, create an overhang shelter around the coop (think beach shade house or dining fly), so it stays drier and offers some additional wind protection.
    2. Take an old horse blanket and cover the open ventilation in the back to provide a bit less ventilation (there is still a good amount in the front of the broody coop)
    3. Using extra hardware cloth and fencing and t-posts, create a 'safe' run from the remainder of the flock - can see but cannot peck at or pick on other birds.

    Anything else to consider? Of course, seperate food and water and 'outside' spaces.

    Anyone see problems with this idea? I'm hoping to rehab the blind girl from her wound (Blukote to the rescue!) and give the lame girl less jumping (broody house doesn't have a roosting bar, so lame girl won't further damage herself).

    Getting the t-posts pounded into frozen ground won't be much fun...but it's got to be done.

    Thank you for all your input!

  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    You know, you might consider listening to your flock. They are saying that these two should go. Often times, the flock senses before humans, that something is not right. According to your signature, you have new chicks about to hatch? You might want to thin down your flock before that happens.

    Just a thought.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Mrs K and I usually think alike. I'd also not keep the birds--but I don't keep them for pets, I need healthy, productive animals. That said, they're your birds and you'll do what you will.

    My only flag that went off is the tarp for a shade. You probably get a fair amount of snow and tarps don't hold up well in with a large snow load........yes, that's an "ask me how I know" thing! You'll have broken tarps, or they'll sag and possibly break the supports. Unless, maybe your little coop is small enough you'll be able to clear the snow off easily? Could be, I can't picture your set up that well.
  4. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Yep the tarp is a concern...but since we've had (literally!) less than an inch of snow yet this season, I'm taking my risks that this year is extra mild also. (Usual amount is over 10" by this point in winter season).

    Hadn't considered the flock telling me something - the blind girl is the youngest member of the flock. The lame girl is one of my 'original' and is an awesome layer! All in all, I'm getting anywhere from 2 - 4 eggs per day from 7 girls! I don't wish to mess with success there! We use each egg given to us - rarely do eggs sit for more than 2 days around here. So I'm hesitant to remove a good layer.

    I did set up the hosptial 'tent' of sorts. Thus far, it's working pretty well.

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