Enough Space?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickNanny13, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hilo, HI
    Hubby built me a secure Run (8' x 12') for my 4 chickens (2 RIR & 2 EE, 24wks March 30th). I'm using a large plastic dog house as their "coop/nest box". Had a tray that I filled top soil in for their dust bath which they'd sit in but never bathe. Two just started laying, I was told to add another nesting option so I emptied out the dirt & added shavings. They've been in it, laid once but prefer the house & the two are laying in it daily. I let them "free range" in the afternoons when I'm home....

    1. I'm be going on a 3wk trip to visit Grandkids this Summer, Hubby will be feeding/cleaning my chickens although I know his "cleaning" won't be up to my standards. I clean poop in their Run & walk the yard/patio for poop daily, we live in a residential area and don't want to upset neighbors with smell. QUESTION: Would it be ok to keep the chickens in the Run & not let them out? Don't want them killing each other...

    2. IF when the other two start laying & IF all continue to lay only in the house, do they need a second option for a nest box? I was thinking IF they prefer the house, I'm going to convert the 'spare' nest back to a dust bath.

    Your opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Its suggested that run space is 10 sq ft per chicken, so you are well ahead of the game there - they should be fine, but you may wish to consider adding some things to keep them occupied (I'd suggest searching for something like "stopping boredom" or "chicken toys" in the search box. I'd certainly also consider adding some greens to the coop - since they normally free range at some point during the day, they will be accustomed to munching on leaves, seeds, bugs etc.

    Personally, i would think that your nest set up is fine. The recommended number of boxes is 1 per 4 layers. I have 11 layers and they only use 2 nest boxes (mad little things). Additionally, the more free space you have in the run, the better.

    All the best
    CT
     
  3. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hilo, HI
    Appreciate your reply....I did read 10sq ft per in a Run & 4 sq ft per in a Coop but Hubby & I feel 'guilty' when we don't let them out. They get greens (lettuce) & papayas daily when I let them out so guess it can be given to them in the Run. I hang an apple or pear for them at times from a coconut tree outside their Run, I was told cabbage but they don't like it. The only time they're confined is at night until late mornings when I get home from running errands & tending my Mom's shopping.

    Thinking a month before I leave on my trip, 'train' Hubby how to 'call' them to the Run. If they're loose & we go out in the afternoon, I put them in the Run, they are never loose when I'm not home. If they see me they come running from where ever they are, they know the sound of the back door of my house. They got us trained pretty good.

    ******I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it - This morning (early) two were doing their egg song ever so softly, so I knew it was the EE cause the RIR are LOUD! I went out to with their breakfast, found an egg in the house & noticed the one EE (hadn't laid yet) was walking funny. I saw an egg drop from her on the ground! As I was going to pick it up one of the RIR (hasn't laid yet) walked towards it to 'inspect'. I made a rush to scoop it up, the RIR is a VERY curious & know she'd peck it. I'm hoping the EE won't be doing this as a norm, just that I took breakfast out & she was hungry.

    Thank you for your reply
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    You are most welcome. It sounds like you have every sorted out and planned properly which is great.

    Congrats on your first egg from your girl! In my experience new layers take a while to get their egg laying system and brain in sync. I've found eggs under the roosts - all over the place! After a while i guess that they understand the "feeling" of needing to lay and then they will most likely lay where the other chickens do.

    All the best
    CT
     
  5. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    You're definitely good to go on your run space in my opinion. I have a 8'X24' attached run for 25 gals and they seem to be very happy in there. I don't let them out due to predators. They're still young yet but between the coop and run they seem fine. I made sure to put plenty of roost space in the run as well as stuff to break up the monotony like a tree stump, some hay, etc., and I'll hang a cabbage in there once a week. So far they seem very content.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Try putting some fake eggs/golf balls in the nesting area, remove the dust/nest pan for now or change it back to dirt.

    Agrees some training/practicing might be in order for the vacation keeper.
    Shaking a treat jar, then dropping treats in run, can work wonders if treats are not given at many other times/places.

    That's a nifty setup....wonders about the curtains......
    ....and chicken wire is not predator proof, but understand that HI may not have many predators?..... unless dogs have access.
     

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