Finally got my pullets - few questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Fringe, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Fringe

    Fringe Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2014
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    FINALLY - coop is done and just got my pullets. So exciting!! I so appreciate all of the help offered on this site. You all are great and from reading the forums and stuff on here helped me to decide to take the plunge! BUT now come the questions.

    These pullets are 12-15 weeks old. On the advice of a couple local chicken keepers, I'm keeping them inside the coop for a couple days so they figure out where everything is. The Is that a good idea? (Their feed and water hang inside)

    I checked on them before I went to bed. They are all sitting together on the floor in the bedding. Do I need to build a short ramp up to the roosting bar? It's probably 1 1/2- 2 feet off the floor. Maybe they can't fly/hop that high yet?

    Next - one of them looks like it's butt may be a bit bare. Maybe the others picking on her a little during travel? I have antibiotic spray. I don't want to spook them but is it okay to let them into the outside pen so I can get a better look at all of them? I have a small crate I can use to separate her if needed. What warrants separating her already?

    Is it going to stress them out if I let them out and try to handle them? Want to check that one out and also check for mites etc... Then I have to figure out how to get them back inside without stressing them out more.

    Do pullets like to dust bathe? If not when would they start doing that?

    Again. Thanks so much. Excited but nervous!

    Heather
     
  2. Fringe

    Fringe Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2014
    Connecticut
    [​IMG]

    Kind of dark but here's my coop!!
     
  3. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens


    Hi heather hope this helps... This is all just based on my opinion, my experience and my reading you got to do it your way. :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  4. chicknshrimp

    chicknshrimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congrats on your new ladies, you're going to love them :) And cute coop!

    I don't think that you need to lock them in the coop with a coop/run that size, they'll figure out where their stuff is. I wouldn't let then free-range for a week or so though, just so they remember where to go back to, if you were planning on doing that.

    At that age they are able to jump up but may not realize they can yet. My pullets that age are flying to a 4ft roost but they only did it after watching my adults.

    Bare butt is likely from feather plucking, they will do it when stressed or board. If you keep them locked in the top part they will likely do it more. With some luck they should stop once they adjust but sometimes they can't resist the temptation of bare skin and will keep plucking and may even make sores. I wouldn't separate her yet but check her over and make sure its nothing more serious. They make a black salve that will keep them from picking. She may not grow the feathers back until next year when she molts depending on wether the feathers were broken or plucked.

    I would let them sleep in the top part tonight then open their door in the am and let them run around the bottom, then you can go in and look at them and check them all out. Look at the base of the feathers in a few different places for mites on each bird.

    Even tiny chicks LOVE dust bathing. I have a 4x4 box that I filled with potting soil, sand, and DE that my girls love and use daily. It helps keep the skin clean and bug-free. They also love digging. A kiddy pool works well too. If they haven't had one before it may take them a little while but they'll figure it out.

    Have fun with them... they're like chips, once you start you can't stop [​IMG]
     
  5. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, beautiful coop. It's about the same style as mine, but your's looks nicer and has a better roof for sure. Is that gravel on the bottom?
     
  6. Fringe

    Fringe Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2014
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    Thanks so much for all the responses. So I did open the pop door today and they went out for a short time. They seem to be a little spooked when the blowing leaves hit the roof or hardware cloth. These chickens will probably not free-range much as I have a dog that will have to be trained and we have lots and lots of critters that would love to grab one.

    I had a chance to get a bit closer and on second look am not too worried at this point about the feathers of the red one. They all look a bit rough around the edges and still spooked easily. My gut is that they will look better once they get used to their new surroundings. They're eating and drinking (and pooping) just fine. I set up a tub with coarse sand and some DE mixed in. I guess they'll figure out what that's for.

    So it's a nice coop yes. I was told by my shackmate that if I was going to do this he didn't want a dingy looking smelly coop. I designed this around some plans I bought and for ease of use (over 50 crowd here - no bending etc... to clean and shovel and feed/water). That is gravel around the bottom. We have many critters so I dug as deep as I could (very rocky New England soil) and buried hardware cloth straight down from the bottom frame and out in a 15" apron. Then filled it in with gravel to help with drainage off the roof and again, to make it difficult for critters. I had to actually get a pick axe out. I told Jim that I'd better behave myself as I'd never make it on a chain-gang in prison! LOL! Took me almost two months digging to get that trench, nights after work and on weekends. It doesn't look like much but because of the freakin' boulders I was pulling out of there and the amount of dirt. I could've used a backhoe!

    Anyway, this group of people on here are so great about sharing and helping. You seriously gave me the encouragement I needed to actually do this. I love reading through all of the forums and finding out about things that I would have never thought of. It's how I came up with the list of must-have's for the coop design and layout.

    So I think my girls are just a bit freaked out by their new surroundings and hopefully will settle down a bit over the next week or two. They didn't so readily pile up into the corner later today when I opened the nesting box lid and just stood there for a while watching. They didn't come over but they finally settled down and scratched around in the bedding. Thanks again so much!
     
  7. Fringe

    Fringe Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2014
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    So here's some more pics of my coop. The water and feeder hang under the shelf/roost. I have straw in the nesting box tubs (easier to clean) and pine shavings for bedding. There's dividers that jus slide in and out at the big swing-up door and between the nesting box area and main coop. The shelf and roost bar come out also. Again. Easier to clean. Wanted to be able to clean it without bending over so the outdoor part is taller and the floor height of coop is a couple feet.

    The last picture is the girls. On left front is Hazel, a Red Star. Behind her is Penny, a Rhode Island Red. Next is Daisy, a Light Brahma and last on the right is Lotte, a Black Australorpe. All named, after much debate by my two nieces who are 11 & 13. Lotte (said like lottie) is short for Charlotte. So funny. Thanks again all of you!!!

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  8. Fringe

    Fringe Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2014
    Connecticut
    Oh. I almost forgot. My dog Moxie wondering what the heck is making that peeping sound. She'll be on a lead for the next week or so, so she doesn't scare them.
     
  9. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    Clearly your going to be a great chicken 'mom' lol.... Two months of digging! wow good for you.
     
  10. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great pics. You really did a good job on that coop.

    Next time rent a trencher at the nearest home improvement store though! (I dug a 2' deep by 4" wide trench that was 75ft long in about two hours). [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014

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