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Help! Going out of town and need advice please

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by smcottrell, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. smcottrell

    smcottrell Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2013
    Ok, there are so many great threads about cooping and free ranging and I can't read them all. But I need help quickly please.

    I have to leave my 8 week old chickens (28) in the care of my adult son and husband for 5 days to help my mother. I'm in tears today because I don't feel like I have control of the situation here, so how can I give instructions to my guys who know nothing? I have been cooping my chickens at night after they have the freedom to venture between the coop and their large run during the day. It has been successful until 4 days ago and now the worms (freeze dried) do not temp more than half of them to get into the coop at night. It's a struggle to get them all in at night and takes 2 of us. I really don't want to impose this on the guys especially since they don't know how to handle them.

    So here's my question: what do you think of me just letting them have run/coop choice at night as well?

    Description of setup:
    I live in West Texas on 72 acres
    The coop is extra solid (Tuff Shed) and has air conditioning, because of the solid walls and Texas heat.
    The run is covered in both chicken wire and black chicken fencing overhead and all around. The fencing is not buried, but staked with 1 foot of it laying outside of the run and curved up making the sides of the run. The staked part is also held by heavy rocks lining the whole perimeter.
    The coop (Tuff Shed) is raised allowing the chickens access underneath and fenced with a double layer of chicken wire staked and rocked as described above.
    I have 5 donkeys that have full access to the property, so coyotes have not been an issue and Mr fox keeps his distance. I've had game cameras up that show NO critters trying to get at the chickens night or day., but you never know.

    I would love to free range eventually, but I just need to get through the next week before I can start that process.

    What would you do?

    Thank you for you help.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Just have them go out with you and learn how to herd the chicks in for the evening - it really takes all of a day to teach someone the basics and you can leave knowing that they are ready/able to do what needs to be done because you will have seen them in action.
     
  3. smcottrell

    smcottrell Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2013
    You would think so,maybe I'm overprotective? Of both my chickens and my son. Lol! Ughhh. I really don't know why it's such an issue for me. Thank you.
     
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your coop and run sound pretty secure. I think the chicks would probably be OK in the run if they chose to remain there during the evening, especially if they had a high place to roost off the ground. I would do that and not stress about it. Just make sure the boys keep the chicks fed and watered and that should be OK.
     
  5. txredchick

    txredchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2011
    How big is your run?

    Your set up sounds very similar to ours, including the acreage :). Our run is 20X30 & under a tree canopy, but buried 2 ft in concrete. If it were me, and I understand your reservations - I would have a terrible time explaining to my husband what I do in a day for our flock - I would just keep them in their run / coop for the few days & have your son periodically check their water & feed.

    There is plenty time to free range. Also in Texas, but without donkeys , so my free ranging only takes place a few hrs before roosting & supervised. We easily have a dozen or more coyote dens in our back pasture in addition to bobcats , hawks , wild boar.."..so I veer on the safe side.

    Picture of our run ( we have 9 4 month old hens):

    [​IMG]
     
  6. smcottrell

    smcottrell Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2013
    Our run is 10 x 20. Let me see if I can get a picture to post.
     
  7. smcottrell

    smcottrell Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2013
    [​IMG]
     
  8. smcottrell

    smcottrell Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2013
    Finally! Uploading pictures is hit and miss from a phone for me. Any way, my run is pictured now and you can see my coop. It's 8 x 10. I have a lot of roosting area 5 5 ft rungs and a double decker 10 slot nesting box with double roosts on each level inside and a free standing perch, trellis and 2 multi branched limbs outside.

    My son and I talked and we're going to have clicked handling 101 tonight. He has explicit instructions for watering and feeding including adding protected ice packs to the water during the day. Maybe I fuss too much? I'm just a big old mother hen myself I guess.
     
  9. txredchick

    txredchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2011
    [quote name="smcottrell" url="/t/920041/help-going-out-of-town-and-need-advice-please#post_. I'm just a big old mother hen myself I guess.[/quote]

    Me too!

    My husband has been after me to let them out & free range, and I only started last week"....so predator heavy by us & I would cry if something happen,after raising them since babies. We don't have children , our pets are ours :).

    Your set up looks just fine for a few days - the center of our run is an old telephone poll that we have several roosting limbs - I've gone away for two days & they've been fine.

    Hope your son is a quick study !
     
  10. smcottrell

    smcottrell Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2013

    What a great run! We sure learned a lot putting ours up being the newbs that we are at this. Hubby is only involved with construction type stuff and helping me when I need it. It's a lot to ask of someone, but he loves seeing me get to fulfill a lifelong dream.

    I'm much calmer now. Actually reading the two thought processes I had already going on helps quite a bit. If cooping doesn't work for some reason while I'm gone then I'll just have them relax and just monitor the food, water and temperature.

    Thanks folks! I appreciate it.

    Regarding free ranging transition from my set up, what would you do to start it and to what degree of free ranging would you do with lots of mesquite, cedar, cactus, tanks and predators?

    I'm home all day btw.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014

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