Lots of newbie questions for setting up my coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lbartsch, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. lbartsch

    lbartsch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everyone:

    I can't tell you how grateful I am to have your support. We are new to chicken raising and are really loving it so far, which would be impossible without all the help we've had from these BYC forums.

    We are about to set-up our coop in the backyard and I have lots of questions I am hoping someone can help me with. We bought the clubhouse coop from MPC here's link to it if you want to see it:

    http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/chickens/The-Clubhouse-Coop-with-Run-3-4-chickens-p839.aspx

    The questions I have right now are:

    1. Do we put pine shaving as bedding on the bottom of the coop like we have in the brooder?

    2. Do we put water and food inside the coop or outside on the run or both? If we put it outside, the chickens won't have access at night because we have to lock them in for protection from nocturnal predators.

    3. What kind of feeders and waterers do you recommend?

    4. What size feeders/waterers do I get for 4 chickens (not bantams)?

    5. Do I have to worry about neighborhood cats getting to the chickens if I let them free-range when I'm not out with them? (We have a fenced in yard but the local kitties come in anyway)

    I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks!
     
  2. lbartsch

    lbartsch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh. One last question I forgot.

    We are planning on planting something pleasant for the chickens to walk on and eat under and around their coop/run. Any suggestions on what they might like? We live in the Oakland hills in the SF Bay Area so we have a really temperate climate. We also need to not have to mow it so regular grass is not ideal. Thanks again!
     
  3. chickengoober

    chickengoober Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used to live in CA (Central Valley)with a small coop in the backyard home to two bantys. I was watching them one day, and noticed they were sticking thier beaks through the chicken wire. It looked like they were trying to get to a big weed growing just out of reach. In the end they succeded in making me feal bad enough to let them out and have at it. Turns out (after a bit of research) The stuff was called Chickweed, a chicken favorite! Although, I don't know how well it would do as groundcover in your coop, because the chickens would probably peck it to death.
     
  4. MKingsolver

    MKingsolver Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi there! I'm new to this, too, but I'm hoping I can share with you some of the things that I've learned from the great people of BYC. Maybe others with more experience will pop in and give you some more ideas, too [​IMG]

    1. Do we put pine shaving as bedding on the bottom of the coop like we have in the brooder?

    If you're going to use any type of shavings use pine not cedar, I've read many forums stating this is the way to go when using chips and that the cedar oils can cause respiratory issues. I scratch my head in question on this one because many coops here in the PNW are made of cedar AND a friend of mine who works at Del's (TSC) who raises chickens says to use cedar on the inside because it keeps the creepy crawlies away. Hmmm...see my confusion? I personally plan on using sand in both my coop and run with pine chips in the nesting boxes. We'll see how that goes!


    2. Do we put water and food inside the coop or outside on the run or both? If we put it outside, the chickens won't have access at night because we have to lock them in for protection from nocturnal predators.

    Chickens sleep at night and therefore don't drink or eat at this time. Putting your food and water outside in the run works well because when you open their pop door they will come out and eat and drink. I also pick my food up at night to remove any temptation for rats and mice.


    3. What kind of feeders and waterers do you recommend?

    Use plastic, not metal. Metal has a tendency to add a metallic taste to the water that the chickens don't particularly like. If your run can accomadate hanging feeder/waterer then get those, if not, try to find a way to raise them to the height of the back of your chickens. This will hopefully not only keep them from pooping in it but also keep them from scratching around in their food and wasting it.


    4. What size feeders/waterers do I get for 4 chickens (not bantams)?

    Use the biggest feeder and waterer that will comfortably fit in your run otherwise you will be filling them up quite often, especially the waterer. Just remember that when they get low to scrub them out well. I also find that adding ACV to the water helps to keep the algae down.


    5. Do I have to worry about neighborhood cats getting to the chickens if I let them free-range when I'm not out with them? (We have a fenced in yard but the local kitties come in anyway)

    Yes! If the local kitties visit your yard during the day make sure your chickens are somewhere safe. Let them out to free-range when you're home and can supervise. A cat can kill or seriously injure a full grown chicken which I'm sure you will want to avoid that [​IMG] Even just simple curiousity on the cats part can kill your chickens.


    I hope some of this helps and wish you all the best raising your chickens [​IMG]
     
  5. MKingsolver

    MKingsolver Out Of The Brooder

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    Oops, not sure what you can plant in your area but mine sure do love their chickweed!!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  6. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  7. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    About the ground cover, they will kill pretty much everything you put down unless they can't reach it (Bush or tree). A lot of people make a grass gardens for them by covering a section of their coop with wire and planting grass under that. It keeps the chickens from killing the grass, and would would never have to mow it because they eat what comes above the wire.
     
  8. lbartsch

    lbartsch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the great ideas! Please keep them coming!
     
  9. All614

    All614 New Egg

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    I was wondering how your coop and plan worked out? We too are newbies and started with 2 Black Orpington hens in October. We bought the Clubhouse coop from my pet chicken as well. I know that irks a lot of do it yourself builders on this board -but we had no time to build it ourselves and it is a decent starter coop! It is not the best quality wood so we sealed it up with sealant/waterproofing and built a base frame for it. We also attached removable wheels to the frame and attached removable 2 foot screened flaps to lay on the perimieter and keep the fox out. We live in Baltimore city and are required to move the coop frequently, so we needed to attach the wheels, flaps, and beef it up. The Cubhouse is attractive enough to keep the neighbors happy-very important since we are in the city.It also looks like a playhouse so it does not attract the city hooligans who may wish to mess with my chicks!
    We use a metal waterer because we intend to use a heater underneath to prevent winter ice. We use pine shavings in the next boxes, and put a little Sweet PDZ for odor control.
    The coop has its flaws besides lifespan... I would never put more than 2 hens in there, contrary to the claim that it holds 4. The roost bars are too close to nest boxes so they sleep and poop in the boxes. I am glad I got this one, but definitely will upgrade in a year or two when I have more time to build my own. So far the girls are happy
    Not sure yet how to post pics here, but will do so soon
     

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