Just got 2 hens, need advice.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AstroTurf, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. AstroTurf

    AstroTurf Out Of The Brooder

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    Just got two hens, please advise, simplest is a picture. [​IMG]
     
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    that looks like a great start.

    I would put a perch with poop tray beneath it up against the back wall. Maybe, if there is lots of wind, I would put one solid piece of wood on one end of the perch. Then I would hang a nest box under the poop tray.

    However, it will also work fine the way you have it set up.

    VERY nice wire fence... I don't think any rodents or snakes can get through that.
     
  3. AstroTurf

    AstroTurf Out Of The Brooder

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    South Africa
    The nest box, food and water containers are the first thing I want to modify/replace before I build them a bigger cage.

    I do want to keep this cage once improved (just make it prettier though) in case I decide to get a few more hens so that I can isolate them in it and so that the new and old hens can see each other before they are introduced.

    I like the idea of hanging the nest box as that will give them a little more room to perch on the ladder as well, I'll have to think about this carefully though because I like being able to remove the lid and see what is happening inside the nest box (for cleaning up poop and taking out eggs/adding nesting material).
    They also seem to enjoy sitting on top of it.
    I will be making them a better nest box or two though, that plastic box is not very pretty and was just something I had lying around that would work as a short term solution.

    I was thinking of putting a broom thickness pipe or wooden dial above the ladder that is on the back of the fence as another, higher perch for them to use and then put a poop tray beneath that as I don't want them pooping on each other.

    If rodents or snakes get past the gauntlet they may be able to get in, I will be securing it better as I get time :)
    They would have to get past my cat though and she loves reptilian/rodent snacks.

    I am not overly concerned about wind and wild animals due to the walls and fencing around my veggie garden (where the chickens happen to be).

    One hen has given me an egg a day since she arrived, they are only around 4 months old so the eggs are still quite small (what our local shops consider "large").

    The other I think is still a tiny bit young for the task but should start soon :)
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Northwest Arkansas
    There are so many different ways to do roosts, nests, food, and water it makes it hard to comment and recommend. And every one of us have their favorite methods so we can be opinionated, but in truth many different ways work. We are all in unique circumstances so sometimes different things work better for different people. One of the hard things is that you need to try to figure out who is doing things somewhat similar to you and steal shamelessly from them.

    Some people feel that civilization as we know it will forever change if you don’t use a 2x4 laid flat for a roost. Others are convinced a 2x4 on edge is heaven for them. Yet others feel a nice round perch makes their feet ever so comfy. You should see some of the discussions on here about this, but some are not for the faint of heart. They all work. For a round perch, I’d suggest something a bit thicker than a broom handle though. Their toes are pretty long and it helps them grip if the wood is a bit larger in diameter than that. If you use lumber I suggest rounding off the sharp corners. That’s not so much that it makes it easier on their feet, though it might, but more to avoid splinters.

    The only thing that is more varied than the nests we use is what our coops look like. Some people fill a cardboard box or bin like yours with bedding and set that in a corner of the coop, an easy instant nest. Some people build really complicated roll-out nest boxes or hang curtains on them for various reasons. You can look through these to see what some people have done. You can make it as simple or complicated as you wish.

    Nest boxes
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/41108/show-us-your-nest-boxes-ingenous-design-post-it-here/220

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-your-creative-nesting-boxes/80#post_12395882

    Opa’s Rollaway Nest Box
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=287684

    It’s the same for food and water. Lots of different things work. Feed needs to be kept dry. It helps keep food and water clean by raising them above the bedding or the ground. Chickens scratch a lot and will scratch dirt, trash, poop, and bedding into them. You can try hanging them from something up above, building a platform to set them on, or set them on a cinder block or something like that. The general target height is the top of the smaller one’s back.

    I like your plan to keep that coop when you build new. A place you can separate them often comes in handy for many different things, many of which you would not expect. That’s another thing I recommend, build flexibility into your design. Things never work out exactly as planned.

    Good luck. You are off to a great start.
     
  5. Mr King

    Mr King Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will start with removing that box since chickens like to sleep on the highest part, you can get some plastic nest from tsc or use some 5 gal. Buckets horizontal with a 2x4 in front to prevent eggs from falling. And i use pine shavings flakes and reprece it every 2 weeks. And cover top part to prevent water from going straight to them.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Northwest Arkansas
    The way I determine the height of the roost is determine the height of the floor, including any bedding you use. Then position your nests. That can be pretty low or higher up if you wish, especially if you have a bad back and don’t want to bend over too much to gather eggs. Then put the roost noticeably higher than that. I think you use metric in South Africa so 30 cm or about a foot should be enough.

    Chickens normally like to roost on the highest thing they can get to. You don’t want that to be the nest because they poop a lot when they sleep. Occasionally you can still have problems with them sleeping in the nests but having the roosts higher is where you need to start.
     
  7. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Here is a picture of the nest boxes that I hung under the poop tray in my bantam coop. I used kitchen cabinet doors that I had found at the dump.

    The nests are about 1.5 feet wide, which is lots of space for bantams. They like the little hole to enter the nest box, and the nest box is dark, which is also very nice. However, the cabinet doors open all of the way so that I can easily see inside.

    The bottom nest box is an actual wooden box that I found, and for the top nest I just added some scrap strips of wood on the box top, to act as a lip to hold in the bedding.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. AstroTurf

    AstroTurf Out Of The Brooder

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    South Africa

    Thank you for all the nest box ideas :) I have a couple of buckets around the house and various other containers but for the sake of convenience and space I am thinking of making the permanent boxes from scratch and hanging them outside the cage so that I don't have to climb in every day for an egg hunt. Also want to make them low enough for my 6 year old daughter to reach.

    As to feeder, I plan to use these [​IMG] bits for now.
    Look like a good idea? Just a small hole in the side of the lid for food to come out and elevate it off the floor so that they don't mess in it.


    Is there an issue other than cleaning up I should worry about?
    Sorry new at this so all advice and knowledge is appreciated.

    It stays 100% clean and dry inside and yes, just a temporary measure. All the photos and advice on here are giving me great ideas :)

    Also, as mentioned by Ridgerunner I am from South Africa, I have no idea what a tsc is but have plenty buckets, boxes, flower pots and such. Just want to know if I must make it a priority or if I can delay for now. We have very low humidity and pretty high temperature compared to the north so poo dries in a flash and I'll clean it weekly till I get sorted.


    They do prefer it at the moment but I'll follow the advice here and contrive something more acceptable this weekend. Thank you for all the info :)
     
  9. AstroTurf

    AstroTurf Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2015
    South Africa
    [​IMG]

    Should do for now I guess?

    Just two chickens so should last them a few days.

    On a side note, my daughter found some bitey worms in my compost, been trying to convince her they should be chicken food but she is not biting (unlike the worms).

    [​IMG]
     
  10. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feeder looks good to me. If they knock it over, is the main part held on to the base tight so you don't have a week's worth of food spilled everywhere?

    On the roosting bar issue, I prefer the 2x4 sanded down, edges rolled a little, and laid flat. Another important thing is height of the bar- I had a problem last summer with a bar that was too high off the ground, which ended up leading to a problem called "bumblefoot" for my girls. Bumblefoot is a foot infection that gets started when their footpads are cut or have some kind of trauma (i.e., jumping from too high and landing hard) that lets an infection take hold. I believe I've read the ideal height is 18-24 inches off the ground.

    I think the chickens would LOVE those worms- probably will be gone so fast you won't see them disappear!

    I also built my coop using old kitchen cabinet doors, after we remodeled our kitchen. The doors are the shutters on three windows, and a "dutch door" entryway to the main coop. This is not its completely finished state, but gives you an idea:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015

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