Hi, I am new!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChandaH, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. ChandaH

    ChandaH Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2010
    I am brand new to chickens and brand new to BYC. My name is Chanda. I am so happy to have found you!
    I live on the Central Coast of California. I live and work on a sustainable vineyard. I have 19 sheep who mow the vineyard and 5 dogs that all have various jobs including guarding the sheep and herding the sheep.

    A friend bought chickens and the whole set up for a girlfriend and then promptly got dumped. He wanted to get rid of the chickens asap and called to see if I wanted them. I said yes!

    I immediately bought a book about chickens and read the whole thing through. We went and picked up the coop and run and six 9 week old chickens last week and moved them in. I found BYC and scanned as much of the whole site as I could. I even looked at almost every single one of the coop designs and found that my coop was a little lacking.

    The coop was a small old kids playhouse that my friend tried to set up for chickens. It basically had two shelves on one side and one shelf on the other with a pop door leading outside off the single shelf. It has one door to go in and clean. That is it. Nothing else!

    So, needless to say the chickens have been roosting on shelves and not on roosts for their whole lives. I quickly installed a roost above the top shelf on the one side. I used a two inch round 'tree post' because that is all I had. I then made a nice little ladder going up to it. Then I measured and found that I actually needed more roost space so I added a two inch tree branch that I also had laying around. I know that the roundness isn't as good as a 2x4 but that is what I had and I don't need to worry about cold feet here in CA. Their also isn't quite as much space above the roosts because the pitch of the roof.

    So, on the second lower shelf I figured the next boxes could go there in the future so I blocked the whole thing off so they would stop roosting there. Then I also blocked off part of the shelf that is level with the pop door so they wouldn't have as much room to roost on that shelf. It has only been two days since I made these adjustments so it is very new to them.

    I keep going out and checking on them during the day and they are continuing to roost on the one partial shelf and also on the floor. At night they have actually been roosting outside in their run. There run is a huge set up with everything a chicken could want. Plenty of roosts of 2x4's and other natural branches.

    So, my main concern is that I don't want the chickens to be used to roosting on the shelves, or eventually in the next boxes, which they seem to prefer. Is this something where I need to give them time to adjust to the new roosts or is there anything else I should be doing?

    I know that I am VERY new to chickens so I am fairly clueless! I just want to do things right.

    I haven't named my girls yet but here are the breeds I have-
    Light Brahma, black Australorp, Buff Orpington, Welsummer and 2 Barred Rocks

    I know I have only had the chickens for a few days but I think I am already in love with them!
    Thank you in advance,
    Chanda and the girls
     
  2. organicchef

    organicchef Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 14, 2007
    Central NC
    Hey Chanda and welcome! You will love BYC!! Any questions you have about your chicks can be answered here!
    If you've already fallen in love with your chicks, you are well on your way!!!
    Becky
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  3. SAORSA

    SAORSA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2010
    Wine Country
    [​IMG] and [​IMG] from Central California !

    You are now entering the would of poultry adiction. Prepare yourself for endless fun. [​IMG]
     
  4. ChandaH

    ChandaH Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2010
    Thanks for the welcome. Sorry my first post was so long!

    Yes I am in love already and it has been less than a week. I can see their run from the window next to my desk and that made me really happy to see them out there poking around.

    I also was going to ask how long I should wait before allowing them to roam free. I am not sure how long it will take for them to settle in and know this is home.
     
  5. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    [​IMG] My chickens are creatures of habit, if you change something, it will take a bit for them to adjust, so don't worry. If you don't want them roosting outside at night, gently pick them up and put them where you want. You might have to do this for several days until they figure it out.

    Otherwise, it seems like you have things under control. As to how long you need to wait till you let them freerange, I would wait a bit. Let them settle in and get a routine, otherwise you are going to have to pull them off the grapes at night and put them back in the coop.
     
  6. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    [​IMG]
     
  7. ChandaH

    ChandaH Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2010
    Ok, I made one more change. Poor things!

    I added another natural tree branch right across the one remaining shelf that they were roosting on.

    So basically they have one high shelf with a roost over it. The lower shelf is blocked off with closed nesting boxes. And the other low shelf across the pop door has a closed net box on it blocking off half of it and a roost across the other half of it.

    So, any available surface has some kind of roost over the top of it so there really isn't any shelves for them to lay on. They only have roosts and floor. I think they will have to get the idea now.

    I don't think I mind if they roost outside at night. I have a Livestock Guardian Dog that will be there to protect them at all times so predators are not too much of an issue. The run is pretty solid. My main issue was that I don't want them getting used to roosting where and how they should be nesting...

    I added so much to the run as well. All kinds of branches and fun things to play on. Today I added a dust bath area. I think I had better just let them be for a bit or they are going to really start getting stressed!

    Chanda and the girls
     

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