Getting my 1st Coop - Now I'm Full of Questions! (Picture)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Picky Chicky, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. Picky Chicky

    Picky Chicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 22, 2008
    Holly Grove, VA
    DH surprised me with the news that he wasn't up to building me a coop, but that he'd buy me one instead. Of course that's the most overpriced route to go, but hey - I'm ready for my chickens! I'm so excited I can't barely stand myself (and neither can anyone else right now around me)!![​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I've included a picture of what the coop should look like exactly. It's 4x6 with 5 nest boxes and a good sized roost.

    [​IMG]

    So question #1:
    I want bantams but I don't know how many is a reasonable starting number for me. Originally I told myself I wanted 5 or 6 to start with, but now looking at this coop, I'm afraid 5 or 6 bantam bodies aren't going to keep them warm enough in the cold. I live in Virginia and the winters aren't usually too bad, but we always get at least one good snow and a couple mornings of teen temperatures. So what's the right answer here?

    Question #2:
    Is it OK to keep them enclosed for about a week before letting them free range? Despite many people telling me they'll come home, I'm nervous about losing my girls.

    Question #3:
    Is it OK to mix bantam breeds in one coop?

    Question #4:
    I work full time during the week... can anyone who works full time tell me how they arrange their schedule to take care of their chicken's needs?

    That's all I can think of at the moment. Sorry to hit you guys up with so many questions, but thanks for your help!!
     
  2. annmarie

    annmarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll answer question #4. My husband and I both work full time, but I find it no problem taking care of my chickens. They're really rather low maintenance. The toughest time of the year is winter, but I'm in Vermont. Basically, I do a little flashlight check on the coop before I head out to work in the morning (it's still dark out when I head to work) just to be sure everything looks undisturbed, and then when I get home, I let them out to free range, collect eggs and give them fresh water. Their feeder is usually good for 3 days before it needs refilling. If the coop is in need of cleaning or anything, then I take care of that on the weekends. I also make sure to be aware of the forecast at all times, so I know if I need to prepare them, before I head to work, for an especially hot day (shade cover over run, open the window) or especially cold or rainy day (keep plastic covering down over run). The only diversion from this schedule is that in the winter I need to give them fresh water in the freezing, dark morning because the water is sure to have froze overnight.
    By the way, nice coop! I've been considering upgrading to that same one next year. Let us know how you like it!
     
  3. Anny

    Anny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    I love that coop! I've seen it before and dreamed of having it.

    If you work full time and no one can be home to close up the chickens at night you might want to invest in a auto door closer. Since you said your hens will free range, you don't want anything getting into the coop after dark. It will be alot safer this way.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Nemo

    Nemo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    N'rn Wisconsin
    That looks like a cute coop.

    The standard number is about four square feet per standard-sized bird in the coop. At 4x6 = 24 sq feet, you could fit about six standard-sized birds in there. Bantams will of course, need a little less space, but I'm sure wouldn't argue about having more than the minimum. especially for the really-bad weather days that they can't get out.

    #1) I don't know for sure; I'm still a newbie, and haven't even seen a bantam. A bunch of the posts I've read state that all you really need is a place sheltered from the wind. If the walls are insulated, I would think five-or-six bantams should be fine in there.

    #2) Most people suggest keeping them locked in the coop for a week or two. Otherwise, they might try to find a new home outside somewhere.

    #3) Again see the beginning of answer #2. Most people on the forum seem to have mixed flocks. Just remember that unless you keep them separate, any rooster will have the chance to mate any hen. So, it will be a coin toss as to what you'll get if you hatch your own eggs.

    #4) Both my finacee and I work full-time. We'll be getting married Saturday, and I'll be moving in then, so I'll be able to help more with the chook duties. We have Buff Orpingtons that I hope will start laying soon, so we have a light on a timer that turns on at 6am and off at 8pm. She gets up, feeds the dogs, and lets them out. Then gets ready for work. Just before leaving, she opens the chook-door to the fenced-in runs, and makes sure they have food and water. When she gets home, the dogs get dinner, and she checks on the chooks. They might get a treat. I'm working on re-fitting the coop, so they're a little cramped right now, and some of them sleep on top of the nesting boxes. It gets dirty, and we scrap it off into a bucket for the compost pile every-other day or so. At night, when it's getting dark, and the chooks make their way into the coop, she closes the run door, and makes sure they have food and water. We usually fill the waterer at night since there's more time then. Some nights, if she comes up to visit me right after work, the chooks will be on their own until maybe 9pm, since I live half-an-hour away. As long as they have food and water, mostly water since they get to eat any plants in the runs, they'll be fine for the day. We usually clean the coop out on the weekend. Once I get it re-fit, then we'll try the deep-litter method, and have to clean it out less often.
     
  5. Picky Chicky

    Picky Chicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 22, 2008
    Holly Grove, VA
    Quote:Thank you so much for all of the information, and congrats on the upcoming wedding!! [​IMG]
     
  6. Shared Acres

    Shared Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northeast Fla
    Cute coop! Where is that one being sold at?

    Can't help you with the rest, I'm still figuring that out myself!
     
  7. Picky Chicky

    Picky Chicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 22, 2008
    Holly Grove, VA
    Quote:That particular coop can be found at this website:
    http://www.horizonstructures.com/coop.asp

    The place we're buying it from [Goochland Custom Buildings] is selling it for a bit cheaper and they also include shipping and placement of the coop in the yard.

    After looking at the coops a little closer, I think the one at this link might have a little more people head room, and I think there are 6 nest boxes in this one (mine will have 5). I can't tell from the picture, but the people door appears to close with a latch in the picture, but mine will have a turning handle that I can lock.

    Now then my fingers are tightly crossed that my chicken coop plans don't fly out the...er... coop window. [​IMG]
     
  8. Nemo

    Nemo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2008
    N'rn Wisconsin
    Quote:Thanks, but it's not needed... The wedding is off!

    I stopped at my cable company's local office to get my service switched to her house. They said they don't serve that town. There is a little cable company that serves it, but they don't have internet. I could get DSL from the phone company, but I've been living exclusively off a cell phone for six years, and she has for about four, and the phone company won't let me get DSL without a regular phone line... So $40 DSL nearly doubles in price.

    Is there any company that's not out there to gouge you to death nowadays?
     
  9. Picky Chicky

    Picky Chicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 22, 2008
    Holly Grove, VA
    Quote:Thanks, but it's not needed... The wedding is off!

    I stopped at my cable company's local office to get my service switched to her house. They said they don't serve that town. There is a little cable company that serves it, but they don't have internet. I could get DSL from the phone company, but I've been living exclusively off a cell phone for six years, and she has for about four, and the phone company won't let me get DSL without a regular phone line... So $40 DSL nearly doubles in price.

    Is there any company that's not out there to gouge you to death nowadays?

    I was in the middle of taking a swig off my water and about choked when I read that first line... I thought oh man - am I reading this right??

    At least you guys have the little cable company and DSL! We went from enjoying cable, phone and high speed to moving out to the country and getting ZIP NADA ZERO. [​IMG]

    I'm a huge fan of House, Heroes and Lost and thank goodness they come in on the local channels, but even they come in weak and choppy.[​IMG] :thun [​IMG]

    I've been begging DH to let us get satellite but he can't stand contracts, and I can't blame him. There is always Hughes net, but I heard they're really no good when it comes to high speed. That leaves us with Virginia Broadband... but they don't quite reach out to us - we're 2 miles outside of their service area. Now that's one BIG [​IMG] to the face!

    I feel your pain!

    Wow, I'm going to breathe and relax now. hehe
     
  10. bearcat73

    bearcat73 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 29, 2008
    Southwest Ohio
    Quote:Where does one find one of these auto door closers? Sounds great!
     

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