Moving to indoor coop questions.

Jennrz

Songster
Apr 2, 2013
98
223
141
Northern Nevada
I'm in Northern Nevada and we are warm during the days but still pretty chilly at night. We set up our coop in the garage last night. We will move it outside when the weather is more consistent. We hope to move the girls into it today. We only have four and they are 5 weeks old (mostly feathered). We have a heat lamp in the coop and have boarded up the back to block drafts. I really hope this is a good short term solution until the weather warms up. Seriously tired of having them in the house and they are outgrowing their brooder. LOL.

Question 1: I've been using Timothy Grass in their brooder because the local (family owned and run) feed store I purchased the chicks from said it was the best option for them. Most of the pictures I've seen of coops, have straw or pine shavings. Now that they are going into a bigger space, should I change what I'm using?

Question 2: We have two indoor cats. So far we have kept the chicks in a back bedroom that we don't allow the cats into. They are fairly predatory and I haven't wanted to take any chances. Well the chicks have out grown their brooder and I feel that the coop in the garage is cat proof. I guess the problem is that we have the cat's litter box in the garage and don't restrict their access to that part of the house. For the first time they will be able to get up close and personal with the cage. I feel the chicks will be safe, but they might face some harassment. Any ideas, suggestions (warnings?) for this scenario?

Thanks!!!

Jenn
 

JanO

Songster
7 Years
Jul 25, 2012
325
13
103
Western Washington
Sounds like you have everything under control. Don't worry about the cats. They may be curious, but I the chicks are protected it's all good. In time, at least with my critters, the cats will develop a healthy respect for the chickens because the hens will turn on them. My cats are terrified of my chickens. Are you going to eventually let them free range?
 

Jennrz

Songster
Apr 2, 2013
98
223
141
Northern Nevada
Thanks JanO. I guess I'm a bit of a mother hen myself and over think things a bit. LOL. On the free range question....I guess it kinda depends on how you define "free range". We are pretty rural even though we live in a city so predators are high on my issues list. I do plan to get/build some portable chicken run type cages so that I can let them wander around in various areas of the yard, while staying protected, but don't plan to let them out to roam free. I don't know if that makes any sense? We have a fenced yard that is 1/3 of an acre so lots of space. I want them to wander around a bit and enjoy the space, but I don't want them jumping the fences into the neighbor's yards. (worried about big hunting dog breeds)

Does that answer your question? LOL.

Jenn
 

Keltara

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,670
79
173
Small Town U.S.A., Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Question #1:
SAND! Sand is by far THE BEST bedding you could ever use! It is odor free, labor free and very cheap. I did a really comprehensive blog post about it. Go here to read up on the amazing benefits of sand.


Question #2:
I have 2 outdoor cats who are fully clawed and formidable hunters. It didn't take long at all for the chickens to assert dominance over the cats!


In this photo, Faline was cowering as the chicks were charging her.

And here, my "other" outdoor cat was wishing she had eaten them when they were smaller, but they were definitely not viewed as food any longer.


Now if you go here, you'll see how my chickens made a pet out of our cat Caspian! It's super comical!

Kelly
 
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sillycmoy

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
1,532
69
153
Utah~Utah County
Question #1:
SAND! Sand is by far THE BEST bedding you could ever use! It is odor free, labor free and very cheap. I did a really comprehensive blog post about it. Go here to read up on the amazing benefits of sand.


Question #2:
I have 2 outdoor cats who are fully clawed and formidable hunters. It didn't take long at all for the chickens to assert dominance over the cats!


In this photo, Faline was cowering as the chicks were charging her.

And here, my "other" outdoor cat was wishing she had eaten them when they were smaller, but they were definitely not viewed as food any longer.


Now if you go here, you'll see how my chickens made a pet out of our cat Caspian! It's super comical!

Kelly
I have a question on your sand. I read your post a few weeks ago on another thread, and decided when my huge 2.4 cubic ft of shavings is all gone, I was going to put sand in the coop. But we also have an enclosed 8 ft by 8 ft run that the ladies will be locked in at night, we live in the mountains, and have very large night prey birds, and even though they will be in the coop sleeping, I want to make sure they are 100% safe, so do you think I should put sand in their run too?
 

Keltara

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,670
79
173
Small Town U.S.A., Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I have a question on your sand. I read your post a few weeks ago on another thread, and decided when my huge 2.4 cubic ft of shavings is all gone, I was going to put sand in the coop. But we also have an enclosed 8 ft by 8 ft run that the ladies will be locked in at night, we live in the mountains, and have very large night prey birds, and even though they will be in the coop sleeping, I want to make sure they are 100% safe, so do you think I should put sand in their run too?
Yes. I have it in mine. In the rain, it dries quicker than dirt and when it's wet, it doesn't stick to your feet like mud. It's easier to clean as you can just sift the poop out. I free range my hens all day, but there are times when they need to be confined to the run (during rain storms, deep snow, etc.). On those occasions, it's nice to have sand.
 

sillycmoy

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
1,532
69
153
Utah~Utah County
how many inches thick is your sand in the run? We get tons of snow in the winter here, and usually over a foot every time it does snow. So their free range will be covered in snow usually from Mid Nov-March, and we got more snow just this week, but it has melted off. Can they still forge in the sand in the run, like if I wanted to put some fruits and vegs or even scratch in their run in the winter time, because we placed it under our deck so that way in the winter it shouldn't get more then a few inches with each storm, and that will be from blowing snow. We are thinking of wrapping the bottom 3 feet with hard plastic in the winter to try and keep an area somewhat dry/snow free in the long winter months.

Thanks
 

Keltara

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,670
79
173
Small Town U.S.A., Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
how many inches thick is your sand in the run? We get tons of snow in the winter here, and usually over a foot every time it does snow. So their free range will be covered in snow usually from Mid Nov-March, and we got more snow just this week, but it has melted off. Can they still forge in the sand in the run, like if I wanted to put some fruits and vegs or even scratch in their run in the winter time, because we placed it under our deck so that way in the winter it shouldn't get more then a few inches with each storm, and that will be from blowing snow. We are thinking of wrapping the bottom 3 feet with hard plastic in the winter to try and keep an area somewhat dry/snow free in the long winter months.

Thanks

I always keep my food and water in the run. This way, no matter what the weather is, my chickens will be outside. I'll never understand why some people lock their chickens inside their coops in the winter. Chickens are so well equipped for winter with all of their feathers. My girls even free range in the snow (when it's not too deep). When it is too deep, they go sledding with my kids!


I have about 6 inches or so of sand in my run. They will be able to scratch in the dirt for treats and greens that you provide. What I like to do in the winter, is put their greens into suet feeders and hang them on the side of the run. That way, it keeps them clean. But you can give them scratch and sunflower seeds in the sand.

Kelly
 
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sillycmoy

Songster
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
1,532
69
153
Utah~Utah County
Thanks for the tips. And I didn't know they could have sunflower seeds. Well they will be in their run at night, and if they want they can free range in the snow when it hits winter, but I will lock them up every night in their run that has their coop. Just because its fully enclosed, and its somewhat spacious its just a little over 8 ft by 8 ft, and they can go under their coop as well.
 

Keltara

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,670
79
173
Small Town U.S.A., Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks for the tips. And I didn't know they could have sunflower seeds. Well they will be in their run at night, and if they want they can free range in the snow when it hits winter, but I will lock them up every night in their run that has their coop. Just because its fully enclosed, and its somewhat spacious its just a little over 8 ft by 8 ft, and they can go under their coop as well.

Your not going to want them in the run at night. You want them locked up tightly and safely in the coop at night. The run is the first line of defense from the predators, and the coop is final defense. They need to be able to sleep in draft free conditions at night which is why the coop is important.
 
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