Help setting up coop n' run in apartment...

RubiaSexy

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Oct 23, 2021
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How do I house 7 Silkie chickens in a city apartment? Please help. I only wanted 1 for my kids but agreed to 2 because I realized he would need a buddy. Minimum for delivery was 5 so neighbor agreed to take 3. Upon arrival I received 7 from hatchery. At the last minute, neighbor backed out and left me with all 7 Silkies. Now here I am...living in a NYC apartment with very little clue on how to appropriately take care of these chickens. Giving them up is not an option for I'm already attached to them. How do I go about building a coup and run in my living room? If push comes to shove, last resort might me taking them to mom's place where she has a backyard. Only thing I'm concerned with is predators and the cold NYC weather. Any good advice?
 

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3KillerBs

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I do not think you are likely to be happy with chickens as indoor, apartment animals.

They are noisy and cannot control their droppings. Additionally, since they can't go outside to range, you'll need extra space for their pen -- think something like 8x10, so an entire room would have to be given over to them.
 

saysfaa

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They won't need a coop. A roost a few inches off the floor will do. If this is a room where people have the lights on long into the night, a screen to block most of the light would be good. Don't totally enclose them, though, they need enough airflow.

Silkies don't fly well so an xpen or baby gates should work for a run if it is inside your apartment. They will need at least ten square feet of floor space each. And tub or barrel or something to hold loose dirt for dust bathing.

Even without dust bathing, they generate a LOT of dust.
 

DobieLover

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I would be setting up something at your mom's place. You can easily make something appropriate for them to live in for the winter in NY.

I'm sure you are attached to them. They are very endearing creatures.

But please consider their NEEDS over your own desires and attachment.

They are chickens. They need lots of fresh air, sun and to be able to scratch around on the ground looking for bugs and to dust bathe daily. Do you really want to deprive them of that?

Whenever we humans decide we want to have a specific species of animal, we are utterly responsible for meeting all their needs and that goes well beyond food and water. Chickens were never meant to live full time indoors. They are incredibly dusty and when the egg laying starts, the pullets/hens are LOUD. Also consider your apartment dwelling neighbors. Do you rent or own?
 

NatJ

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since they can't go outside to range, you'll need extra space for their pen -- think something like 8x10, so an entire room would have to be given over to them.

They won't need a coop.

I agree with both of these points.

Many people build a coop (shelter from the weather and protection from predators) and a run (larger outdoor space), but inside your apartment they are already protected from weather and predators.

So they just need one area with the correct amount of space-- probably 5 to 10 square feet per chicken. That means a space at least 5x7 feet or 6x6 feet, but bigger is MUCH better.

They can have food & water, a low roost in case they want to sleep off the floor, bedding to scratch in and deal with droppings, a dust bath.

This could meet the needs of the chickens, but it is probably not good for the people or the apartment! The noise of the chickens may or may not bother you, but the dust almost certainly will.

Also, you should expect roughly half of those Silkies to be male. That means they will start crowing sometime in the next few months, and they will try to mate with the females. If you have equal numbers of males and females, the females will get pestered and overmated, so you should plan to divide their space and put the males and females in separate pens (or find new homes for the males.) Putting just 1 male with the females is usually fine, although it depends on how many females-- 4 females will do better than 2, because the male will spread his attentions among them.

If push comes to shove, last resort might me taking them to mom's place where she has a backyard. Only thing I'm concerned with is predators and the cold NYC weather. Any good advice?
I would start working a coop in that backyard now, so you can move either some or all of the chickens there when they get bigger.

The question of how many males and how many females will matter just as much there, so you might build a coop that can be divided in half so the males can live next to the females but cannot bother them.

Since you originally wanted 2 as indoor pets, you might keep 2 or 3 as apartment pets, and move the rest to an outdoor coop at your mom's place.

Or you could wait until you can tell gender, pick a few favorites, and try to find new homes for the rest. Yes, you are attached to them, but they might also have a great life with someone else who wants a few pet chickens.

(If you keep a few, I recommend keeping females, but I know that some people do keep roosters as housepets-- just consider whether the crowing will bother the neighbors through the walls.)

Eating the extras (male or female) is also an option, although I recognize it might not be the right choice for you.
 

NatJ

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Now here I am...living in a NYC apartment with very little clue on how to appropriately take care of these chickens.

I don't know how much research you did in advance, so here are a few basic points about raising baby chicks:

--give them plenty of space (about 3.5 square feet of total space for 7 chicks from the very first day, and more as they get bigger.)

--provide water at all times. It can help to put glass marbles or clean pebbles in the water for the first few days: the chicks peck at the shiny things and learn where the water is, and having something in the water makes them less likely to fall all the way in and drown.

--feed chick starter for at least the first few months, and chick starter is a fine food for their entire lives. Chick starter plus water provides everything chicks need. (Laying hens also need extra calcium, but that is several months away.)

--provide enough warmth. They should have a place that is about 90 degrees fahrenheit.

--provide enough cool space. They should be able to run out of their warm place into a place that is not warm at all (whatever temperature the rest of your apartment is.)

--it usually works well to have the warm place be one corner or one end of a big box, and the cool space be the rest of that big box. Various other options work instead of a box, but do make sure it is big enough for the chicks to have both a warm place and a cool place.

--their butts are supposed to be clean and fluffy. If they get poop stuck on their butts, it can block them up and cause problems. So keep an eye out, and clean them if needed.

--It is normal for a chick to run around for a while, then start wobbling and maybe falling over, then flop down and sleep, and maybe look "dead" while sleeping. A bit later, they wake up and do it all over again.
 
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