Hello, Middle TN

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by travl4me1, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. travl4me1

    travl4me1 Out Of The Brooder

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    HI,
    I've trolled around on this forum long before taking the plunge into backyard chickens. The help has been invaluable and even the varying opinions help me make better decisions. One of my cochins moulted immediately and I thought she was sick. The forum educated me to this natural occurences in the hens.

    Along with this forum, and some kind people in my community, we did purchase a coop and 6 young hens. I have a wonderful wife and a 3 1/2 yr old daughter and 1 1/2 year old son. We built a house on 5 acres last year, which is now 10 acres. Our motive isn't to make them pets but has occured, somewhat. We aren't interested in trying to make money off eggs or birds. My personal goal is to simply utilize our land and resources (Compost, Garden, Chickens, Pecans, Fruit trees, etc), and ultimately give my kids memories, perhaps give them some responsibility eventually, teach them about life and death through poultry, and benefit from having our own eggs. Both of my kids prefer to be outdoors and that will always be better than video games inside- in my opinion.

    About 6 weeks ago, I purchased a 6 x 14 tractor coop from Heritage Farms in Shelbyville TN and it has worked out great. It has a full size human door and 7 1/2 feet tall, so my kids stay cleaner and I dont have to get on my knees or bend over much. It was constructed well and after all my research, I believe I made the best purchase for us.

    Last week one of our cochins gave us our first egg, and the same bird has produced another 3 since.

    We let the hens roam a few hours a day and all seem to be thriving, gaining weight and get along really well. I did have one wynadotte I gave away because she was a feather picker. The rest of the flock now have their bald spots filling in nicely and the wounds have healed.

    We have 3 cochin hens. 2 of which are extremely friendly and personable, and the other seems to be a loaner. There is no fighting, she just tends to stay to herself (Humans and chickens) . 1 Americauana and 2 others that are some kind of wynadotte.

    I dont have any roosters and chosen to not get into the hatching chicks part. I probably never will. I simply have my hands full with work, family, garden, etc. Never say never.

    6 hens is a good number for us. The coop seems overly big for them, but I tend to think in terms of space and comfort, and foolishly apply the same principle to the birds. The clean up behind 6 of them is minimal and I like that.

    I do have a question. It pertains to them roosting in the evening. They have a large Hen house. Supposedly will accomodate 20-25 hens, and I have 6. They do not use the roosting poles and prefer to lay on top of the nest boxes. The one loaner cochin stays on one side of the coop, and the remaining 5 pile on each other, on the opposite side. It's this way every evening at 7 pm when they go to bed. Its this way at 2 am. The dropping confirm it's this way every single night. They seem happy with this arrangement and no drama, so I probably shouldn't question or over think it. Given the space, why is one adamant about being alone and the other 5 are adamant about suffocating each other?

    Anyhow, thanks for the all the good info and 100% of the time my questions are answered simply by searching the forums.
    Travis
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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    [​IMG] I don't raise chickens so I'm not sure about the roosting issue.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Hello and welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
     
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas and [​IMG]! Great to have you here! It's great to hear you have found BYC so useful. I know I always - and still do - get a lot of questions answered by the great people on the various forums. In reference to your question, they may be nesting on top of the nest boxes because it is a flat surface that is up off the ground. Most commercial nest boxes have tops that are tapered so as to not make it convenient for the chickens to roost on them, thus avoiding the accompanying poop problem. You might consider adding something (a piece of plywood?) angled over the boxes so they can't nest on top. Then they will use the roosts I would wager. They huddle together because that's just what chickens do - they find security in the dark but being in contact with each other. Makes no sense when it is hot, I know, but who can divine the workings of the chicken brain? [​IMG] Great looking pen, by the way! Good luck to you!!
     
  5. jbirds2012

    jbirds2012 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. Red Barn Farms

    Red Barn Farms ~Friendly Fowl~

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    Kentucky Heartland
    Hello and Greetings from Kentucky! Congratulations on your chickens! I'm sure they are and will continue to bring you many hours of enjoyment. As for your question. Maybe they prefer nesting on top of the nest boxes because its a sturdy flat surface. Is the roost higher than the nest boxes? If not, the roost should be,. Also the roost should be made from a solid 2 "x 4" pine board. The 4" flat side should be up so they can get a good solid foot hold. Often times younger chicks like to huddle tightly together at roost time in one spot and will use the roost instead at they grow older. I know mine did. You might try adding a sheet of plywood sit on a 45 degree angle on top of the nest box. They will not be able to get a strong foot hold and fall back off the top of the nest box. This will make them prefer the roost instead. Another alternative method would be blocking the entrance of the nest box during the night. I hope this helped some and you are able to get them to use the roosts soon. As far as the 'lone' Cochin goes I'm not really sure. [​IMG] I have a Blue Cochin Bantam pullet which is the same way.


    That is a lovely coop. The girls should be happy to call it home! Thanks for posting images. Also, the solar powered light is a great idea. I think I'll look into applying one on the side of mine as well.

    Editing to add: You have a beautiful Golden Laced Cochin! They have to be one of my top favorite chickens!


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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    You received some sound advice above. Some chickens like to snuggle up without roosting. My silkies are like that. Some roost. I wouldn't worry too much about it unless they are pooping in the nesting boxes.

    Welcome! Glad you have joined us :)
     
  8. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi and :welcome from Ohio. So glad to have you aboard. Good advice given. :thumbsup
     
  9. travl4me1

    travl4me1 Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks everyone. The roosting poles actually are resting on the top of the nest box and stretch across the hen house. I have actually considered an angled piece of plywood to force them on to the poles instead. It doesnt bother me. Maybe I will raise the bars up just to see. It baffled me more than anything that 5 huddle together and 1 refuses.

    The solar lights came from http://www.outdoorsolarstore.com/warm-white-solar-spot-light.aspx They are not cheap. $115 ish each. They produce a white flood style light, rather than the typical blue solar. I can look out my window at night and see if anything is lurking around the coop. I pass a window on my way to the bathroom a few times each evening. By 3 am the lights are getting somewhat dim...so is my bladder apparently. It probably wasn't worth the cost, but I like the area around the coop visual to me. The coop moves every few days but is anywhere from 50-100 yards from my house, depending on where I push it to.

    We really seem to gravitate to the bantam cochins. Their short squatty look, walk and scratch makes us smile. It's gonna take 12 eggs to make an omelette from them. I have gotten 4 from the same hen in the past 5 days, so we are a quarter of the way there. [​IMG].

    thanks for the warm welcome.
     
  10. weimarmama

    weimarmama Overrun With Chickens

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    :frow & :welcome from Alabama. Glad you joined us. Great advice given. By the way, I love the idea you had of putting the solar lights on the coop :thumbsup Enjoy your chickens and good luck!
     

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