First Time Raising Chickens (Any Help Appreciated)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ernie G, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. Ernie G

    Ernie G Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been kicking around trying this for years and finally decided to go for it this spring. Been preparing for a couple or months so the cost wouldn't hit me all at once. Built the brooders and they are ready to go. Bought the coop on craigs list. A local fence company built the frame for the run for me. My wife thinks I am crazy but I have a wireless thermometer in the coop, so I know the temp inside the coop. It reads in our bedroom. I constantly give her the temp in the coop. So excited I thought I would buy baby chicks in early February. Really enjoy the site as I read it everyday to be prepared for this adventure.
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  2. forgetful

    forgetful Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is a great set up! Let's see. What type of litter will you be using? Oh, and how many and what kind of birds are you getting? That's the best part! Will you be having a rooster or all hens?
     
  3. Ernie G

    Ernie G Out Of The Brooder

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    In the run I am thinking I will go with sand. I have some steel roofing coming so the run will be covered. In side the coop I haven't decided yet. Any suggestions? Thinking about 6 hens. Would like to mix them up. Again any suggestions?
     
  4. Ernie G

    Ernie G Out Of The Brooder

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    My Dad suggests moving two of the roost boards together and eliminating one board. He says the birds will roost better.
     
  5. forgetful

    forgetful Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree. If you live where it snows you especially want a broad roost that the bird can rest their entire foot on. This enables them to cover it with their body while roosting and prevent frostbite. If you're thinking six hens, they will most likely all roost together on one side, but having the other roost is fine. What are you getting the birds for? Do you want egg production for your family, or something more ornamental where it doesn't matter how much they lay? Are you looking for friendly or flighty?

    I've heard good things about deep litter for inside coops.

    Another option for the run could be pea gravel. It drains well. I personally like it because the birds can pick through it and select stones for their crop, but sand is a good choice if you live in a very wet area. Very good drainage. The only possible concern is fleas and the sand blowing around if it is windy and dry.
     
  6. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looks like you got a good headstart on things. It really is a GOOD thing to have the coop built and ready before you get the birds. Not good to have a box full of dusty 10wk olds cheeping away in your kitchen, waiting on the weather to clear so you can get the coop done.
    One thing I would suggest, is to either raise your roosts. or lower your nest boxes. Chickens will want to roost at the highest point they can. But with your setup, the roosts and the nest boxes are at the same level. They may just choose the enclosed comfort of the boxes. Which will leave you with crap filled boxes to clean, and crap covered eggs. Not a good thing at all. With 6 birds, you can probably just go with one 2X4", and scrap the triple small board setup.
    If that was my coop, I would build a hardware clothed screen door for the warmer months. Just hook the solid main door open, and let that fresh air in. The more fresh air/ventilation the better you know.
    As far as the floor goes, I would recommend a trip to Lowes and pick up some Blackjack #57 rubberized roof coat, and slather a heavy coat on that floor. That will seal that plywood floor up against anything mother nature, or the chickens can throw at it.
    Goodluck with your future chickens.
     
  7. Ernie G

    Ernie G Out Of The Brooder

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    I would like friendly birds with large egg production. Cant move the nest box so I probably will raise the roost. Should I put plastic under the gravel or sand to prevent weeds or will the chickens take care or the weeding? Good idea on a screen door thank you. Do you not think the windows are enough?
     
  8. Shan30

    Shan30 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do not worry about putting anything under, those girls will devour every bit if green that comes up in there.

    What was you concern with the windows? Light or ventilation?
     
  9. Shan30

    Shan30 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Buff orpingtons are super friendly and lay lots of big eggs.

    If you want your own little rainbow of eggs, I would get a few buffs, and Ameraucana or Easter egger(or two), a Marans (or two) and white leghorns.
    I you want all big brown eggs, buff orpingtons, Rhode Island reds, barred rocks would top my list.
     
  10. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It would be a lot easier to raise the roost bar. A foot or so should do it(Hopefully). As Shan30 posted, you don't have to put any plastic down, the chickens will clear the run area out. Plastic would just get shredded and be a headache.
    Are you gonna let them out to run around, or do you plan on keeping them in the cage? They really like to get out and stretch their legs. You could let them out a couple hours before sundown and watch them. You could always expand the run. I have a 100X200' "run" enclosed with electrified poultry net. They have all kinds of running room, and are safe from ground predators.
    As far as friendly birds go, Buffs are good, I got three of them. I have a couple of Barred rocks, out of the 5 I have, that are the friendliest chickens I got. Gold and silver laced wyandottes are good birds too. Easter eggers are really good layers, and friendly enough. They put out the biggest eggs I get. Bottom line, they are all friendly when you bring them some kind of treat food, just about whatever it is.
    As far as the screen door goes, really, the more fresh air and light you can get into the coop the better. That's what you want, light, airy coop that doesn't stink. As opposed to dank and stale, with a nose burning stink.
    Another thing, paint the inside white. It reflects light, and really brightens the coop up. I used a Porch+ deck exterior paint from Lowes. Makes it easier to spot things in the coop that should not be in there, like spiders, bugs or whatever.
     

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