Hello, I got my first chickens! Questions about coop security, etc.

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Atomic Ranch, May 7, 2011.

  1. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
    El Cerrito, So Cal
    Nice to meet everyone. What a great community you have here! I'm in Southern California.

    I got my first 13 chicks about 3 weeks ago: 2 Delawares, 2 Buff Orpingtons, a Partridge Rock, 2 Rhode Islands, 2 Leghorns, a California White, 2 Ameraucanas and a Cochin. All seem to be growing, happy and active except the CW... I think it's having a bout of respiratory issues (smaller, less active, crusty eye). I treated her with antibiotics in the water, and drops of Blephamide for her eye. The eye cleared overnight, but she's still breathing a little funny.

    Their coop will be in a fenced-in area about 30' x 9'. Starting on the coop this week.

    Initial questions:

    They can all go out at about 6 weeks, yes? Or should I wait longer?

    The fenced area is chain-link. Should I use smaller wire to prevent critters from coming in? Over the top as well?

    I've noticed they're pretty messy with the water. What's the best container or dispenser for water and food?

    I'll have plenty of straw in the coop, but will they be okay on bare ground (pepper tree leaves) everywhere else?

    Finally, how big should the coop be and how many little egg areas should I include?

    Thanks to anyone who has the time to answer any of these. I have ideas, but I'd like to get a consensus from folks in the know! -Carrie

    P.S. I wanted to post a photo of the little gals but it says I can't (?)
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  2. hisdaughter

    hisdaughter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Lakeland
    In order to post pics, I had to participate for awhile and then I could do pics. I'm new to this to so I don't want to give any advise, just say, Welcome to BYC and have a blast with your chicks.
     
  3. BairleaFarm

    BairleaFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2011
    Georgetown, KY
    Did you use photobucket or equivalent? Ive been able to since day 1 I think.



    They can all go out at about 6 weeks, yes? Or should I wait longer?
    Mine went to the coop from the store about a week old i assume

    The fenced area is chain-link. Should I use smaller wire to prevent critters from coming in? Over the top as well?
    of course chain link wont keep chicks in. Dunno about the critters - Ive got no run

    I've noticed they're pretty messy with the water. What's the best container or dispenser for water and food?
    Ive got a upside down mason jar that gives them water. They dont spill it. The feed trays have holes cut in the so thier head can go in but they wont fling the feed out.

    I'll have plenty of straw in the coop, but will they be okay on bare ground (pepper tree leaves) everywhere else?
    I dont see why not

    Finally, how big should the coop be and how many little egg areas should I include?
    some say 2' per bantam 4' for bigger bigger birds/ Ive got 8 boxes but none of my lay yet so i really have no idea

    Thanks to anyone who has the time to answer any of these. I have ideas, but I'd like to get a consensus from folks in the know! -Carrie

    P.S. I wanted to post a photo of the little gals but it says I can't (?)




    These are the best answers I can give based on my little knowledge of chicks. someone correct me if im wrong.
     
  4. LeBlackbird

    LeBlackbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SE Pennsylvania
    My Babies always go out when they turn 4 months at the longest. At that point they don't need a lamp and are fully feathered. To help keep critters out, you can run a bit of chicken wire around the outside of the run. It only needs to come up halfway to deter predators. 1/4 inch would be more "Recommended" but I've never had a problem with chicken wire. About the feed and water, putting it up a bit higher or setting it on something helps keep them from spilling as much. They should be fine on grass/dirt if they are 4 months or older. If they're younger than that, I'd keep them indoors. As for the coop, 4x6 would be sufficient for 13 chickens [​IMG] I don't really follow specific guidelines. My main coop is 6x8 and it hold my 29 laying hens comfortably
     
  5. BairleaFarm

    BairleaFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2011
    Georgetown, KY
    Quote:Thats good to know. Ive got about 30 that will be laying in and 8x8x8 coop.
     
  6. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
    El Cerrito, So Cal
    Quote:Thank you! [​IMG] I noticed it said something about having probs with spam. That explains it!
     
  7. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
    El Cerrito, So Cal
    Quote:Thanks [​IMG]

    Wow, one week? I guess that's why I'm asking... I've heard everything from 6 weeks to 6 months. The guy who I got them from said 6 weeks... it's summer and warm here, but I think the littler ones still need the heat lamp. They are 1-4 weeks now. They'll be big enough to not fit through the chain link for certain, but I'm concerned with possums, rats, even snakes getting IN. I live on the edge of town next to the hills, so all sorts of creatures mill about.

    They've got a small mason now, and they mess it up like crazy... a couple of them actually like to wade in it! Good idea about the food thing though... some sort of small trough with holes seems best.

    I was concerned about mud, etc. in the winter. I'm unfamiliar with their grooming habits/capabilities, but they seem uncomfortable with, well, crud of any sort on their feet and/or feathers. The run is shrouded underneath pepper trees, and I didn't know if they were allergic to anything. Lots of corns and leaves fall there.
     
  8. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
    El Cerrito, So Cal
    Quote:Wow! 29 [​IMG]

    Okay, great. Half way up was what I was thinking. I may get the smaller stuff for good measure. Yes, I've noticed they prefer eating off of a piece of cardboard. Maybe a small shelf that is a few inches over the ground. I wanted to introduce them to the space all at once, so the older ones will be 3 months when the younger ones are 2. Maybe I could keep them closed in the 4 x 6 for an additional month before letting them out into the larger bare ground area? It'll be quite warm here by July.
     
  9. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
    El Cerrito, So Cal
    Unfortunately, just an hour ago, I went to check on them all and the Rhode Island was on her side and having what appeared to be seizures, then promptly died. The youngest (a week), she was huge for her age. Doing really very well until now. Running about, just getting feathers. Eating, drinking, all normal. Then... just died. Huh. I have the runty one sequestered, and she's improving. Could this have been shock? Injury? Normal course? Bummed.
     
  10. LeBlackbird

    LeBlackbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2009
    SE Pennsylvania
    Quote:well, sometimes it's just normal [​IMG] you will loose the weaker chicks. If you loose more, than I'd start to get worried
     

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