Do I Need a Coop or Are Nesting Boxes Enough?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sfives, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. sfives

    sfives Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Hello Out There!

    So, I've had a fenced in backyard with 8 happy hens and some nesting boxes for the past 6 months and everyone has been very happy. Yesterday, a friend asked me to help her out and take in her 15 baby chicks...they are 2 and 3 weeks old. Fine. We have them set up under the lights, separated from the hens, different food/water. OK. Now I'm thinking I might want to keep some of the rooster's around and try my hand at hatching....do I need a coop now or will the nesting boxes that are out in the open in the yard work?

    I've read some posts about people talking about their coops and I don't have that set up and I'm wondering if I'm doing this wrong. The hens seem to be happy and fine. They have a semi-enclosed space they go into at night and then they roam free during the day and hop into their nesting boxes when they lay. They poop all over the yard, which is just dirt, that we throw food scraps and crumble over. I've never raked it away because it doesn't smell like amonia or anything...all the poop just seems to go back into the earth. I don't see any signs of disease, etc.

    I'd like to not have an enclosed coop if possible. Could I just put a roof over the nesting boxes or does that not suit a broody hen? urggh!

    Thanks for your insight!
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008
  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I don't know where you're located, but if you have any kind of cold weather it would be better for them to have an enclosed space to roost in out of the weather.
     
  3. sfives

    sfives Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Thanks! I'm in San Diego.
     
  4. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    [​IMG]. I can tell you that chickens need 12-14 hours of light to be good layers. from your description I couldn't tell if they are in the hen house all day or if they free range. If they free ran, you are fine. If not, they will need more light, and dirt to dust bathe in and peck for insects.
     
  5. sfives

    sfives Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Thanks. They are totally free range and outside all day. I've never had a rooster and, thus, a broody hen. Will she lay in a simple nesting box for 21 days if it's not inside a coop? Or, do I need to put the nesting boxes inside a coop if I want to allow the hens to start, what's the right word....sitting on their eggs?
     
  6. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    She will need boxes with a bit of privacy. Without a roo one of your hens will take on the lead role, not lay, an act like a rooster. Roosters are cheap, an it may be worth your while to spend the 5 bucks on one.
     
  7. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Having a rooster will not cause your hens to become broody. That depends more on the breed of the chicken. Some breeds that trait has been bred out of them.
     
  8. sfives

    sfives Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2008
    Well, I actually am going to have roosters for the first time and am looking forward to my hens becoming broody. I'm just wondering if I need to do anything more with my nesting boxes to make them comfortable, like add a coop or a roof overhead, or, if the nesting boxes in the yard themselves are OK.
     
  9. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Having a rooster with your hens isn't what makes them go broody. They will become broody with or without a rooster present.
     
  10. MagsC

    MagsC Queen Of Clueless

    Jul 27, 2008
    Minnesota
    I would be uneasy about predators if it was here? What kind of animals do you have around there that might prey on chickens? Maybe there is still a way of proofing the area you want and how you want to have them against anything like that?[​IMG]
     

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