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Hi, im new to this whole chicken thing lol . . .

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Cage, May 15, 2011.

  1. Cage

    Cage Out Of The Brooder

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    May 15, 2011
    Hello everyone, this is my first post on here. . . i know kind of long, but bare with me. Theres a pretty decent story behind me taking up chickens haha

    So basically, I was driving down a street following a pickup truck with the tail gate open. He kinda went off into the grassy shoulder of the road and a dog crate fell out the back. I probably came about a foot withing running it over. I swerved and missed it, and actually spun around backwards once i came to a stop lol

    Anyway, thinking it was puppies or a dog that fell out the back. . I walk up to the crate and this is what i find minus the water and feeder that i immediately went and bought for them.

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    Being this was probably the first time i ever seen a live chicken lol. . . I drove out to a farmer's place that breeds chickens and he told me they were Road Island Reds, and looked to be 2-3 weeks old. And he is 100% positive they are all hens.

    Now, im not the type of person to have something like this happen, then pass off to another person to exhume responsibility, so i figured ill just keep them, get me some eggs and i guess process them when their good and ready. . and who knows, maybe ill get more afterwards.

    Anywho, so far the chicks seem happy and healthy. I feed them the stuff with antibiotics in it (forgive me, cant think of the exact name off the top of my head) and guessing they are just over a month old, i can hopefully start them on regular feed in another 2 weeks.

    I built this coop from salvaged wood, and i was just hoping you guys can kind of grade me on it, or let me know if I did anything wrong that i should have taken into account.

    I will add on the nesting box, and a 4x12 run a little later, and will cut out a hatch and ramp to let them under the house as soon as i get the bottom wired in. They will be in my garage for another 2 weeks or so before i move them outside. Need to shingle to top as well

    *Edit* Guess i should mention, the coop is 3'x4'x5' total, and the hend house is 3'x3'x4'

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    Just to give it some light, i hung this battery powered closet light in there. .
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    Is this adequate space for the 4 of them? and how is the design? if i have something completely screwed up, please dont be afraid to throw it out there. . like i said, this is just something that landed on my lap and im far from a chicken farmer lol
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2011
  2. katie4

    katie4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2011
    Lucky chickies! They have plenty of room right now. As long as they have ready access to outdoors when they are pullets and hens, books recomend 3 or 4 square feet per bird within the coop. Venting at the top is good. You may want to put a poop catcher at the bottom so your floor doesn't get soiled. Sometimes chick poop gets kinda sticky and not neat and tidy little globs.

    If your winters are very cold/windy you'll want to improve the coop to eliminate drafts. Chickens can handle moderate cold ok but not drafts.

    When the chicks are about 8 weeks they will want to roost. A 2x4 with the corners cut at a 45 degree angle and smoothed works great. One more way to make happy chickies and eventually happy layers.

    Rhode Island Reds (if that's what they truly are) can get mean and nasty. We have one banty Rhode Island Red cross which we refer to as "Queen B" and it isn't the insect we compare her to! Of course there are lots of exceptions but that's a reputation that this particular breed has.

    Handle your chicks gently and often. Hand feed them treats and play with their feet, wings, and heads. When it comes time to doctor your birds, collect eggs, or move them they will be accustom to handling and hopefully not be aggressive or flighty with you. If you can train them to follow you it comes in handy if they accidently get loose. Like any animal, chickens are trainable with patience and treats!

    I checked out all the books my public library had on raising chickens, perused them, and bought a couple of my favorites for reference when I needed them.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Cage

    Cage Out Of The Brooder

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    May 15, 2011
    Quote:thank you, i live in Florida. . . dont even know what a winter is haha

    so far they seem to be pretty mellow, at least amongst each other (unless a bug gets in the cage, then they go into a feeding frenzy). I handle them pretty often, although its not too enjoyable at times because they tend to think the few freckles on my arms are feed lol
     
  4. greenpeeps

    greenpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Greenford, Ohio
    the coop looks great. those are some lucky chicks. Good Luck!
     
  5. CupOJoe42

    CupOJoe42 CT Chicken Whisperer

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Wow! Great story! I just can't get over how fast you got set up to take care of the chickens! I'm still waiting for DH to START work on my coop and I've already ordered my chicks! They won't be here until the beginning of August, but I'm sure this is a familiar story for many (What comes first, the chickens or the coop?!)

    Best of luck to you and your new babies! You are off to a great start!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ChooksinChoppers

    ChooksinChoppers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2011
    Ocala, Florida.
    Where abouts in Florida? and [​IMG]
    Yes definately add a roost (2x4) with 4" side up..makes them feel safer being up off the floor/ground. More ventilation too as it gets really hot here as you know. I put my coop in the shadiest spot i could find. When yours is outside will you be building a run to attach it to? That would be best. preferabaly with wire and shade cloth over it if you dont have a shady spot. wire to prevent hawks from getting any free dinners.
     
  7. Cage

    Cage Out Of The Brooder

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    May 15, 2011
    thank you for the replies everyone, i feel a little more confident about my set up now.

    I live in Palm Bay Florida . . just south of the Space Center

    And yes, i will be adding on a run as soon as i get them moved outside. I built it for indoors, thinking they were too young to go outside, but after reading up, i guess they are ready since they are fully feathered.

    and yes, i will build them a run once moved outside. It will be wired top to bottom.

    and just a couple questions. .

    If you look at the second to last pic, you can see i have a roost in there. I basically used thick dowel rod. Should i replace it with a 2x4? Maybe 2x4's are easier for them to roost on, because honestly, they seem clumsy compared to other birds lol

    And when i build the run, should i put a feeder and waterer inside the run as well as the house?
     
  8. katie4

    katie4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2011
    I suggest you read up on caring for birds in humid, hot weather. Essential nutrients in feed break down in hot and humid enviroments. Vitamins in water can keep your birds laying and healthy in hot weather.

    Our warm days in the Pacific Northwest are your cold days so I'm totally out of my element when dealing with livestock in hot weather. I only know what I've read.

    Your chicks are likely clumsy because they are growing so quickly. Also, you don't know the kind of care they had before arriving at the Chicken Hilton and Spa in Florida! A board is easier to perch on especially for younger, less coordinated birds.

    I'd definitely put water and feed outside and inside if you can. We get lots crows in the run if I leave food outside the coop. I prefer to keep the crows and their droppings away from my chickens. If your run is covered then then food outside the coop is great. Just be aware that other predators or foragers such as rats, mice, weasels, raccoons, etc. will eventually find feed left outside. You coop looks tight enough that predators of chickens can't get to them if you lock them inside each night.
     
  9. Cage

    Cage Out Of The Brooder

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    May 15, 2011
    Quote:Thanks Katie,

    Im researching as much as i can, the amount of material on chickens is overwhelming lol

    Ill go ahead and plan to put food and water inside and outside.

    For predators, my biggest threat will probably be Racoons. We have tons of them here, my trash cans take nightly abuse from them haha. So i already plan on having to seal the coop up nice and sturdy and wire all the way around the run. Other then that, we have Hawks (just had animal control remove a nest from my tree 3 days ago). . . and i dont know if Possums are a real threat to them?
     
  10. dkvart1

    dkvart1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
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    Wow, what a way to become a chicken slave! Oh... sorry... chicken owner [​IMG]

    Nice job on the coop and your chickens (hope they are all girls) are pretty.
     

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