dont know where this question belongs...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by beach livin', Sep 22, 2011.

  1. beach livin'

    beach livin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 21, 2011
    Manteo
    so if an admin needs to move it, thats fine [​IMG]

    The folks we are going to get our hens from live in a much more secluded place than us. The hens have been "free" and not caged at all. My question is, when we make the transition from free roaming to coop and run, is there anything we should do with the hens first. Will they be "tramatized" by this confinement? The coop will be approx 4 x 6 and the run will be at least 6' wide, and im still unsure how long will make it. So besides the transition question, do you think this will be large enough. ALSO...lol... the hens have been roosting in tress and such, so im worrid about them trying to fly out of the run. Thank you for any imput. ~ Ruth
     
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi beach,

    You didn't say how many chickens, the more room per chicken, the less 'trauma'. Is your run without a top? Could you put some netting over or a tarp to insure that they don't take off? (then put a little tree inside in a plant pot or some roosting sticks so they will feel at home.

    One thing I know from my chickens, and all our animals here, is that they are quite fond of routine. Since you will be moving them, they will be out of their normal routine, but they will certainly figure things out. If you can free-range them under supervision---starting for the first time just before dark once they know your coop is their home--- all the better.

    I have to say, mine are so funny--- they free range in the morning on 'bug patrol'--- and when they free range in the afternoon/evening--they usually wander over to the pen I have set up for them out of netting fence...and go in there from habit--- and I can close it off---and putz around doing what I need to do inside and not have a concern of where they got to. Then when I want them to re-coop--- they usually make it over there with out much effort on my part. (o.k. -- maybe throw a treat into the run---sometimes).

    They like habit, and once you establish the habits of your chicken keeping they will be content and secure.
     
  3. beach livin'

    beach livin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 21, 2011
    Manteo
    we are getting 4 hens. the guy started with 5 and decided to rescue a rooster. he now has 21. lol. we do plan on putting wire fencing over the top, so i was just worried they would fly up and get hurt when they slammed into it. i would love to free range them some after i get home from work in the afternoon, but i have to say im rather nervous about it. im worried that they will all dart off in different directions, and i wont be able to catch them, and then i can see my dog probably going after one of them while they chase my kid across the yard. (can you tell the whole cenerio plays out on my mind like a scene from a comedy skit?)
     
  4. CT

    CT Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    I think once you get used to handling them, the idea of catching 4 chickens on the free-range won't bother you so much. I have four, and we sometimes give them the run of the yard. They don't go far. They were out for hours before they discovered the compost pile, which is about 5 feet from the coop door! If we need to confine them before they want to go "home," all we really need to do is catch the two easiest to handle and put them in their run or coop, then the others are so desperate to stay with their flock that they come along and resign themselves (although, without dignity) to being captured as well. Or, sometimes once one or two are in the coop, the others put themselves away.

    Some dogs quickly get the sense that chickens are "theirs" and want to herd them and protect them. Some never get over the fact that chickens are food. Make sure you have a good sense of what your dog thinks of the chickens before you let both loose in the yard. I don't know much about dogs, so I don't have any tips on how to introduce them to the flock, but I would assume the worst until you have reason to believe otherwise. Maybe leashing the dog while in the yard with the chickens would help. [​IMG] Also, make sure that your enclosure for the chickens is dog-proof, even if the dog really, REALLY wants to get in. Fencing that will confine the birds isn't necessarily strong enough to stop a dog on the hunt.

    It sounds like you have enough space for them to be comfortable in their new home. Once you get settled in with them, I think you'll know just how to handle free-range time. Enjoy your new birds!

    --Caren
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  5. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Know what? I think that smart people do think ahead and play out scenarios. When I first got my chickens....I was like that too.

    Here on this forum you will get such good information from such brilliant chicken owners that you will soon feel really comfortable with them---but you are smart to think ahead of what things could go wrong so that you can prevent them.

    First -- you will probably want to make sure when you first get your chickens that they are confined to their coop -- and I think I am assuming that your run is attached. Once they associate you with the person who brings them food and treats--- like sunflower seeds, or meal worms or veggies (my chickens right now, favorite food in the whole world is lettuce)-- they will come to you whenever they see you. Some people establish a certain sound or routine---like shaking a can with seeds or corn in it so they know when to come to you. A certain call or phrase like 'here chick, chick' also lets them know something good is about to happen.

    After awhile that you feel comfortable with--- once they are happily living in their new home, and they will come to the edge of the fence just to be closer to you (and the treats)--- let them out for the first time, about 20-minutes or so-- before the time they would normally file into their coop. They will scratch around---and then when it is coop time, they will know exactly where to go to be safe for the night. If they are reluctant, by that time you will have them trained to the sound or the call---and they will come to you. You can lure them in with treats.

    I doubt that they will chase your child, unless they think that there is something in it for them (treats). You are getting all hens right?

    Lastly--- I was so worried about our dogs with the chickens that I never let both occupy the same space. The dogs were locked up when the chickens were free and the chickens in their run when the dogs were out. Then I got that video 'instinct to in sync" -- it changed my whole understanding of the dogs & chickens thing. If you go to my BYC page there is a link. I refer to it all the time---you'd think I was a sales person---but I am just so admiring of the approach and the wonderful treatment of the dogs.

    After awhile you will feel so comfortable with your chickens---and in the meantime -- this forum will supply you with loads of answers (sometimes viewpoints differing so you can pick and choose and see which fit your situation)

    Four is a great number (I have 3) and we are averaging just over 17 eggs per week---which is plenty for us--- and I think ultra small flock owners have a different dynamic than big flock owners both in the chickens and in the chicken to human interaction.
    Now I am reviewing your comedy skit in my brain and thinking it could be filmed like a Charlie Chaplin movie.
    good luck with your chicken adventure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

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