Making mistakes with coop/feeding

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by supermom, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. supermom

    supermom Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2008
    Hi, I have 5 hens and they are getting along and starting to lay. That part is good. I had to scramble when I got the hens because someone gave them to me with little notice. I chucked together a coop with a dog house and I built a run around the coop approx. 6X8 and 6 feet high. Here are my issues:
    1. They spill the food all over the place. I put the food in the run, not the coop since there isn't a lot of room in there. When I used the rectangular feeders with the holes, the hens just scratched them until they tipped over. So, I switched to putting food in a square cake pan and hold it in place by surrounding it with bricks... well, they stand in it and poo so THATS not a good idea either.
    2. Does everyone bring the food in every night? My husband thinks if we leave it out we are feeding rats at night. I think maybe there is a better way... not sure what that is though! It's a pain to go out and get it every night...
    3. Water: Where to get a hanging feeder? The only ones I find sit on the ground and my hens scratch straw into it and then can't get to the water. I try to keep the straw away from it, but they still mange to get it full of muck.
    4. I like the idea of free range, but they are wrecking my yard. Do you think leaving them in my run is fine... I feel like they like to get out and about.
     
  2. ladybug4ut1

    ladybug4ut1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 13, 2007
    Central Florida
    Quote:1. try just throwing it in the run when they are in it that way they will eat it . I use hanging feeders and they have a little waste but usually they will scratch and eat the dropped food.

    2. I have never had any problems with rodents even with the feeder i do not have hanging in...so just give them enough for the day....mine usually do not eat at night...

    3. You can get hanging waterers too. you can order off line or feed stores usually carry them or can get them for you....tractor supply is another good resource.

    4. All my chickens are cooped and in there runs for most of the time. I do free range some but they are hard on lawns especially i they do it constant. I can not free range all the time because of eagles, hawks and owls.....so i have all covered pens they stay in.....
     
  3. needmorechickens!

    needmorechickens! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2008
    West TN
    Get you a real feeder (Tractor Supply or online) or make you one...here is one I made...
    the bottom of it is a hog pan from Tractor supply and its really deep so they don't scratch much into it...I still set it on a couple of concrete blocks though...
    [​IMG]

    My food is in my coop. Mice can get in. I have started setting traps inside boxes that my chickens can't get into. I caught one the first night.

    They will be fine inside the run.

    ~Rebecca
     
  4. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    I really like the long metal feeders with the reel on top. They can't roost on them.

    As far as waters, I use the 5 gal. plastic red/white ones in the summer on an old rusted out feed pan to elevate it (thus keeping the scratching debris out of the water). In winter I swap out the feed pan for an elevated heated stand and a double wall metal fount.

    I never take away food, I just have it measured out (maybe the proper word is timed) to where they run out of food after 12 hours.

    I have a fenced in 30'X56'X6' high run attached to my barn. It used to be a lean-to but the roof blew away many years ago. The wall were still there when I bought the farm and I just added 6' fencing to the walls. Even with over 1500 square feet and 20+/- hens I still have to re-seed, water, lock them out, etc. once in a while to keep it green for them. I think the cattlemen call it pasture management [​IMG]
     
  5. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    needmorechickens! :

    My food is in my coop. Mice can get in. I have started setting traps inside boxes that my chickens can't get into. I caught one the first night.


    ~Rebecca

    Get a couple cats. They are so much cuter and more lovable than a trap or poison. Of course you will have to train the cats to stay away from the birds [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  6. tackyrama

    tackyrama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 14, 2008
    Central Minnesota USA
    Hello, Welcome to BYC! Sounds like some growing pains we all have! Chickens are messy, I don't think we can reform them. I have a free range flock that I feed in the evening with "scratch" feed. I don't think they really need it what with all the bigs etc but it is just plain fun to feed them in a way that goes back thousands of years. In the winter when they are "cooped" up I have hanging feeders they can't tip or get mess into. I still give them kitchen scraps, apples etc. which I just scatter on the floor. They have very keen eyes and every tiny peice gets gobbled up. Put the food and water up on blocks about chest high that way they won't kick litter into it. Thankfully my coop is the for knox of coops and I don't worry about rats or other predators at least in the winter.

    In the summer they get most of their water from a small pond close by. They still have a 12 gal. hanging waterer in the coop that they also use a lot. I scatter scratch right on the ground for them and what little they miss is picked up by birds and chipmunks and yes probably mice. Haven't seen any rats yet but that is a common problem which as I see it probably can't be avoided. Many people keep their chickens in runs and that is just fine too. Still messy but fine.
     
  7. ncCHICKS

    ncCHICKS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 5, 2008
    Hope Mills, NC
    1. They spill the food all over the place. I put the food in the run, not the coop since there isn't a lot of room in there. When I used the rectangular feeders with the holes, the hens just scratched them until they tipped over. So, I switched to putting food in a square cake pan and hold it in place by surrounding it with bricks... well, they stand in it and poo so THATS not a good idea either.
    2. Does everyone bring the food in every night? My husband thinks if we leave it out we are feeding rats at night. I think maybe there is a better way... not sure what that is though! It's a pain to go out and get it every night...
    3. Water: Where to get a hanging feeder? The only ones I find sit on the ground and my hens scratch straw into it and then can't get to the water. I try to keep the straw away from it, but they still mange to get it full of muck.
    4. I like the idea of free range, but they are wrecking my yard. Do you think leaving them in my run is fine... I feel like they like to get out and about.

    1. Get a hanging feeder, if you can't find one there are sites to order from.
    2. My food is in a coop but you can hang it to keep out rats.
    3.Try mypetchicken.com or build a platform for the feed station
    4. My chickens love their run, but for 10 minutes every Sat. they free range and love it.​
     
  8. G Wiz Ranch

    G Wiz Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2009
    Lompoc, CA
    I use a homebuilt food trough and an automatic water trough (from Murry McMurry Hatchery). I have seen people use a commercial feeder and waterer and hang them both. make a simple "A" Frame to hang them from if you don't have enough support from one of your roof joists. I have had no signs of mice or rats in mine, so I have not been worried about solving that problem. If you hang the feeder and waterer, that might solve the problem, I don't know. You can buy everything online or check you local feed or farm stores. My chickens are in a large enclosed run 16x48 when I am not home and free range when I am home using a poulty fence from Premier 1 Fencing. For me the fencing is for the chickens protection, for you it can be used to control what part of the yard they are in.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If rats are a problem and you have to keep the food outside, you may HAVE to take the food away at dusk and put it back out at sunrise. Since the chickens are not eating at night that isn't a problem, you just have to be RELIGIOUSLY regular with putting it back out first thing in the morning.

    A "real" feeder may help (one they can;'t bill food out of); also, putting it up on blocks so the trough part is at the height of the hens' backs will reduce billing-out and kicking-in-of-bedding.

    Do the same with your water (elevate it WELL) and you will get a lot less crud in it.

    I see nothing wrong with keeping them in the run if you *have* to... you can chuck them plenty of greens to occupy them and to improve their diet (mine get everything I weed out of the garden, plus produce leftovers and kitchen scraps -- make sure you know the few things that could be poisonous to them, though). A larger run would be better but whatcha got won't kill them [​IMG]

    Have fun,

    Pat
     

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