Help the your mistakes


9 Years
Sep 19, 2010
Calumet Township-NW Indiana
When I built my coop and run I:

1. didn't make the fence high enough. When the birds were flying out, I had to add height to my fence. I think a 6' tall fence is appropriate for most chickens. Mine was only 4'.

2. didn't put in enough ventilation. Had to modify the coop to add more.

3. Here's one I've never seen mentioned. My coop, at the lowest wall (where the pop door is) is about 5' 4" higher than the ground. Part of this wall is inside the run. Today one of my hens was found in the neighbor's yard. I think she flew up on the roof (5' 4" off the ground), walked to the other side, then made her escape out of the run. Good thing I have good neighbors.
Fencing has been added to eliminate the possibility of this happening.

When building a coop you know will have one wall six feet tall, and you plan on putting it under a tree, make sure the space between the ground and the lowest branch is at least 7.5 feet.

I kept thinking, okay, 6 feet, 3 inches, it will fit here. Perfectly!

But the coop was built with a concrete block footing, so guess what happened when I tilted up the six foot wall to nail it in place? Riiiight... branches too low.

Note to self: have pruning saw and loppers handy.

Additionally, the nice slanted roof and the lovely tree over it created a wonderful route from our yard into the neighbor's yard, for a daytime tree-roosting hen. A curious, daytime, tree-roosting hen. And the neighbors have a Golden Retriever and a Rottweiler.

I don't have that chicken any more.
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I was going to post the same mistake, the dust was horrible, but they were cute and my kids enjoyed watching them for hours.

My first home made waterer was too big for baby chicks and they were practically swimming in it until I downscaled big time :-D
I decided I didn't want my chickens getting cold come winter so I lined the inside of the hen house w/ the shiny insulation sheets. Needless to say - next morning it w/ 1/3 gone. Eaten by my love hens. On the plus side - none of them died.
This will be a long list.

Hmmm I bought adult birds and did not quarantine the first time. Thankfully nothing went horribly wrong.

I bought adult birds from someone not a byc member

I did not have a separation pen before bringing home unexpected adult birds. ( I planned on just babies)

I bought polish chicks thinking they would be cute before I looked up issues they might have.

I did not research barred rocks sufficiently before I tried to pick out pullets and have had a total of 11 out of 11 turn out to be roos

My fence is not high enough.

My first coop was not big enough.

I thought I could plant grass seed after they were already in the coop. Did not work out well.

I did not check their feet often enough to prevent a bad case of bumble foot which cost me a laying hen.

I did not immediately treat for mites and retreat throughout the year to prevent infestation. ( thankfully was not infested too bad and managed to beat it in only 3 months. lol )
I'm still in the building phase, but

(Design it to use standard material sizes)
If a simple 6' x 8' lean-roof is just right, don't get the measurements wrong and end up with a 6'-4'' x 8'-3" roof frame... have to take it off and cut them back.
Make sure all walls have NO holes, any size at all, might gobble up a chick.

If you have bantams and want chicks, 1in chicken wire is WAY too big, go half inch or add bird netting 1+ft from the ground all around the run.

Think like a panicked new bird, tiny gap in fence and net=escaped birds.

Trim wings and release birds INSIDE coop once everything is sealed 100%.
Mistake #1: The covered run is 5 1/2 feet tall. My husband and I are 5 foot 7 and 5 foot 8. If we aren't really really careful, we stand up straight and bang our heads on the roof. Why didn't we add an additional 3 inches? Great question!!!!

Mistake #2: Didn't cover the brooder (used dog crate which worked out great) at first, because I was sure that week-old chicks would never try to jump out. Wrong! I found our barred rock on the floor all cold and sad one night. Luckily I was in the habit of checking on the birds in the middle of the night that first week, so she was okay.

Mistake #3: I started with peat moss in the brooder. I had read that this was a good choice for chicks, but the dust was horrifying. I switched to pine shavings after recommendations on this forum and was much happier.

Mistake #4: The coop should have been bigger. It houses the four birds we have, but chickens are really really fun and now we wish we could get more. There are some lovely breeds out there we had to pass up... We will probably go with a second coop sometime down the line.

Mistake #5: Not getting chickens ten years ago.

Have fun!!!

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