I need to vent...

sawyej

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2020
13
46
49
Thank you so much. MY corgis are 12 and I am fortunate that they are not more ill behaved than they already are lol. I am the queen of boundaries, commands, training, rules...you name it...and the corgis just keep doing what they do (laughing and ugly crying at the same time).

I will think on it and get creative. My last resort is to put up a little fence barrier across an area we have that I could technically keep them in and not have to worry about the dogs getting in. Thank you for the encouragement!
Yours are still young but will catch on soon enough. Chickens can't see in the dark. I put mine in about 20 min. before dark. If I'm late I go in with a flash light and show them the door.

They used to sit on a long roost bar and "fly" into the door of the upper part of the coop where they sleep. They were also leery of the walk up ramp - I found out it was too slippery and the rungs too far apart under their feet. I roughed it up with very course sand paper and now they feel comfortable with it but some still prefer to fly in through the door.

You'll figure out little tricks to get them to do what you want. Mine used to want to roost all night in the lower part of the coop and that's Not safe due to predators. So when they all lined up on the roost bar we would pet them - which they found annoying - so would fly into their safe sleep area at the top.

Re the dogs - we have a medium black labX that has hunting in her blood. When she went towards the chickens a couple of them pecked her on the nose. Lesson Learned! She steers clear of them now. But my hens were at least 6 months old at the time so almost full grown. Good luck! You and the chickens will fall into a comfortable routine!
 

City Farmer Jim

Songster
Mar 18, 2020
531
1,045
206
South Texas close to Corpus Christi
I agree with ALL the advice given, I'm a newbie at chicken keeping and EVERYONE here was amazing with all the advice they gave. The option we chose is an automatic pop door that has a sensor for open at daylight and closed at dark. The only problem we ever have with them going in when they are young is NO ONE wants to be first so they end up on the outside from time to time. High winds really cause all the girls no matter the age at bed time, sometimes it is 1 or half the flock(9) that won't make it in before the door closes. The best part for us was watching them exit in the morning. Like little kids seeing something new for the first time even at 16 months old. We installed CCTV to watch it...yeah we know what y'all are thinking lol 😆 it's nice to watch the dynamics change and how and who exits where and when.
 

Rampicruz

Chirping
Nov 23, 2020
51
185
76
Update:

I had ZERO clue that there were SO many other helpful responses going on! WOWOWOWO!!! Thank you so much everyone.

Basically the chickens adjusted and so did the dogs. I did my best to stop freaking out and be more patient.

The chickens are putting themselves to bed each night and using the ramp even though it is steep. The dogs do not even pay attention to the chickens anymore and when the occasional snifferer comes around the run the chickens come up and investigate/protect.

They are 11 weeks 5 days old today and growing nicely. They are so beautiful. They are still sleeping in the nesting area at times but usually I find them huddled up on a bar or at least one or two on the bar and the others right next to them.

I did utilize a heat lamp that was on a timer to go on when it became dark and turn off when the sun came up. I dusted it off regularly and left the little side window open for ventilation. The light has been removed for over a week now and they are doing great. They are late sleepers and go in when it is already dark outside.

We will be adding a larger run for them since 3 chickens in that space does seem tight and I do not feel comfortable letting them free range around the yard.

Never seen a possum or cat in our yard and we do not have raccoons over here. The yard has a 6 foot vinyl fencing around the entire thing. Only thing I would be concerned about popping up in the run are some gophers which are prolific here. I suppose a snake could come up through a gopher hole but I have only ever seen a gopher snake here and it was technically on the other side of the fence, not in the yard. Eventually the girls will probably be on cement which would take care of that bit of business.

I clean the coop and run weekly and will be able to collect eggs regularly as I am at home all the time. I plan on putting some actual boxes into the nesting areas to encourage the girls to not be in there for random sleeping or playing. I will also start putting a decoy egg in each one so they can start becoming accustomed to the idea of that being the place to go for egg laying.

I will have to ponder the suggestions to add more ventilation to the coop. To be honest, I have my fiancé working on so many animal related projects right now I think he would cook all the chickens if I asked for help with one more thing. Luckily the weather is cool enough for the next few months so there is some time. Would drilling small holes into the coop wall with a bit help with the ventilation? That would be easy enough to do. There is technically ventilation under the roof panel...the coop is not entirely sealed closed at the top That was how we fed the electrical cord to the heat lamp.

Again, thank you to everyone for all of this advice!!! So helpful and reassuring.

Regards,

Dana
 

Rampicruz

Chirping
Nov 23, 2020
51
185
76
Thanks for providing a link to the coop. And I apologize in advance for the novel I'm about to unleash on you. :) Two things:

1) From the photo, the ramp is really quite steep, like 45 degrees. Other people with this same coop have had the same issue. You'd want it more like 30 degrees. Easiest way is usually to prop up the floor end of the ramp on a cinder block.

2) You want a lot more ventilation (especially as cold won't be an issue for you) - really in hot climates having at least one entire wall in wire is optimal. Best place to add it is the wall that's directly under the run extension roof, depending on how your wind blows.

Also don't know how many chickens you have, but here's the bad news all prefabs: that coop is small, really small. Doing a rough calculation from guesstimating the coop size based on the (insufficient) numbers provided on the listing, the actual coop floor space is around 10.5 sq ft. The nest boxes are NOT usable sq footage and eat up 3.5 sq ft, leaving you with 7 sq ft. You have barely enough space for 2 adult chickens inside - nothing close to the 8-10 chickens they claim it holds.

What I'd recommend thinking about is converting the entire thing into the coop, and adding on a more secure run - a dog kennel for example is a good base structure for a run that you can augment with smaller opening wire for safety.

What I mean by "converting" is: to turn it from 2 small "boxes" (tiny coop above tiny run) into 1 bigger "box" you'll want to remove as much of the inside coop wall as possible, plus the floor. Take out the old roosts too.

Nests might be able to stay as is, or may need to be relocated elsewhere or replaced - depends on the structure of the coop and how things inside stack up once done.

Run a new roost(s) lengthwise across the newly open space. Ideally you’d like 12” per bird but 10” can suffice in many cases.

Board up some of the external wire walls so that the roost area is protected from winds and rain. Do NOT fully cover up all the wire, you need ventilation and natural light, so at the very least a few inches under the roofline should remain open. If your climate allows for it, you can leave entire walls open with just the mesh, or make it convertible for the season by covering up open walls for winter, and then uncovering for summer.


Just wanted to let you know I posted an update :) Thank you for all your advice.
 

Rampicruz

Chirping
Nov 23, 2020
51
185
76
Here are some pictures for everyone :)
 

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rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
13,941
26,509
982
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I will have to ponder the suggestions to add more ventilation to the coop. To be honest, I have my fiancé working on so many animal related projects right now I think he would cook all the chickens if I asked for help with one more thing. Luckily the weather is cool enough for the next few months so there is some time. Would drilling small holes into the coop wall with a bit help with the ventilation? That would be easy enough to do. There is technically ventilation under the roof panel...the coop is not entirely sealed closed at the top That was how we fed the electrical cord to the heat lamp.

For now, it's certainly better than nothing. I'd aim to put the holes on the inside wall under the roofed run area, so the roof there provides protection. And if end up sloppy, well, that wall/most of that wall could possibly go if you decide to expand the coop to take up the whole space, or just to add in more ventilation when weather warms up.
 

Rampicruz

Chirping
Nov 23, 2020
51
185
76
For now, it's certainly better than nothing. I'd aim to put the holes on the inside wall under the roofed run area, so the roof there provides protection. And if end up sloppy, well, that wall/most of that wall could possibly go if you decide to expand the coop to take up the whole space, or just to add in more ventilation when weather warms up.

For sure. The roof hangs over like 1/2 and inch...pretty pathetic really....maybe I can add some flashing/run off so it adds a little more protection on the ventilated side. So it won't be an issue when it is low 30's/high 20s when the chickens are in the coop at night if one whole side is ventilated letting air in? We get some stiff winds here sometimes called the Santa ana winds...brutal.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
13,941
26,509
982
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
So it won't be an issue when it is low 30's/high 20s when the chickens are in the coop at night if one whole side is ventilated letting air in? We get some stiff winds here sometimes called the Santa ana winds...brutal.

Shouldn't be a problem unless that particular side faces right into the main wind direction (in which case, turning the coop might help). Or if you are concerned about really windy or cold days, you could make some removable panels from plywood or greenhouse panels, that would cover up most (but not all) of that wall, to act as a buffer.

One possible creative idea would be to make a top hinged panel to replace the top part of that wall, that you could hook up to fully open during warmer weather, but drop to partially closed during windy weather. Tried to illustrate here... green would be where it would sit when open, purple when mostly closed, and yellow is where you'd hinge it. Hope it makes sense?

20201228_105814 copy.jpg
 

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