Inaccessible poop pile

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Beth11, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. Beth11

    Beth11 New Egg

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    Oct 16, 2011
    Hi,
    I have 2 questions:
    1. My 4 girls sleep on top of their coop....will they go inside once the weather gets cold or windy enough? I carried them inside every
    night when they were new to being outdoors, but when it's their choice, they roost on top. It's been 10 weeks and as cold as 40 degrees, but out they stay.

    2. Their set-up is a 4x8 coop inside of a covered dog run. I am getting a pile of poop in the 2 inch space between coop and dog run.
    I can't reach it to pick it up, but I can sprinkle something on it through the chain link. Can lime be used to dissolve the pile?

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll take a go at number 1. Perhaps you could close them up in the coop for a couple of days, or put them in again at night so they can "re-learn" where home is. Perhaps you can coax them into the coop just before dusk with a little treat?

    What is your set up in the coop like? Can they get up to the roost easily? Do they have plenty of ventilation?

    Oh, and MOST important - [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  3. Beth11

    Beth11 New Egg

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    Oct 16, 2011
    Thanks!

    This is their coop:

    coopmychicken.com/buy-a-coop/the-manor

    The roosts are on the floor. We added a roost higher up, but I think it lacks headroom. I'm not sure if the vents at the top of the coop are adequate ventilation by themselves, but the door is always open while I'm waiting for them to decide to go in.[​IMG]
    2 of them use the nesting boxes for laying in the morning.

    Our main predator will be raccoons, and I put hardware cloth around the perimeter of the dog run, as well as a little strip at head level where they are roosting.
     
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I went to the link and saw that the interior dimensions of the coop are 39 inches by 36 inches, or a little over 9 square feet. You don't say what kind of chickens they are, or how old, but if they are standard size, they may be feeling a bit crowded in there. Generally, speaking, 4 square feet per bird of floor space is recommended. You can get away with a bit less if they only go in to sleep and there is adequate roosting space. They may be telling you that there is not enough space by roosting in the nest boxes. (By the way, you don't want them to do that as you'll end up with poopy eggs [​IMG] )

    They also just like to roost at the highest point, but I see what you mean by the coop maybe not having enough room up top.

    Unfortunately, a lot of pre-made coops are cute as a button but won't comfortably house as many standard size chickens as they say they will. Banties maybe. Do you have banties?
     
  5. Beth11

    Beth11 New Egg

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    Oct 16, 2011
    Hi,
    They are 5 month old, standard sized hens. The intention is that they just roost and lay eggs in the coop.
    I got the covered dog run (12x12) when I saw how dinky the coop was. I'm keeping their food and water outside of the coop to maximize interior space. I do have their brooder light hanging in the coop on a timer.....I thought they might like the light and/ or heat. I've also tried turning the light off....makes no difference. I just wonder if they are smart enough to seek shelter when the weather gets bad enough to possibly make them sick. I really don't know how much draft chickens can tolerate.
    The 2 that use the nesting boxes do just use them for egg laying....thankfully.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts!
     
  6. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wonder if the light was keeping them out? They don't need the light or the heat. Perhaps they were too hot? Just guessing here...

    Chickens need ventilation above their heads so that humidity rises up and out. They should not have, however, drafts, which would come from the side or beneath. Someone described it to me as drafts "blowing their skirts up." [​IMG]
     
  7. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    They are roosting as high as they can get. That's a normal chicken behavior. Right now, they're only going to be motivated to sleep inside if it feels unsafe to be outside or you lock them in.

    As for whether they'll be smart enough to head indoors when the snow starts flying, do they go inside when it rains? If so, I bet they will.

    And I'd definitely get the heat lamp out of there -- they don't need it anymore and it may overheat the coop space.

    ETA: For question 2, can you move the coop so there is a wide enough area to at least reach a hoe between it and the chain link?
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  8. the-bird-man

    the-bird-man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yeah i say dump the light because they do not need it. for the poop i would spray it with the hose to wash it away [​IMG]
     
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If they get used to sleeping on top... they'll likly always sleep on top rain, shine, snow.

    I had a 2'x4' hutch inside of a tractor style coop that was 8x8 with a tarp over the top. They never went inside to sleep. The RARE occasion was an old hen or badily moulting hen who decided it was nicer inside when it was in the teens outside.
     
  10. Beth11

    Beth11 New Egg

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    Oct 16, 2011
    Thanks everyone,

    I pulled the light this morning....we'll see if it makes a difference. They do sleep outside when it rains....they stay dry because of the cover, so there is no incentive to go into the coop. I would actually love it if they could stay outside and stay healthy.
    It is very easy to clean the roof, and I've put sand in the run so I just scoop it like kitty litter.

    Silkiechicken, do you think I can rely on the girls to decide when to use the coop? Did your outdoor roosting flock stay healthy?
    I could hang tarps on the chain-link to minimize the cross-breeze if necessary.

    I appreciate the feedback!
     

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