Need help quickly

gmomfarms

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
75
6
91
SW Virginia
I am a first timer and according to my hubby, I'm addicted. We bought a 5 by 8' coop, raised 18" off the ground. It was advertised for 21 birds, but the saleman said no more than 14 mature birds. My end goal is 6-7 layers and some meat in the freezer. In early March over 2 days and 2 different TS stores, I had 4 RIR, 6 Cornish X, 4 Red Rock X, 3 Silver Laced Wyandottes that were less than a week old. The brooder was set up and everything was going fine (lost 2 Cornish X). When they were just ready to be put in the coop, I bought 6 more SLW the same age from a local gal who could not keep them and everything seemed to be going fine. Two of the Cornish X are not, they are white, the size of the RIR's and one is feisty. On Saturday when I went to TS for supplies, a pickup in the parking lot was selling Easter egger and Buff Orpingtons from the back of his truck and I left with a pullet of each, but a week or so younger than the others.
When I put them in, they were immediated attacked by the feisty white bird and a very aggressive SLW roo who is 71/2 weeks old and even attacks me. I isolated the new chicks in a temporary pen in the corner of the coop which crowded the others even more.
This morning I found one of the huge Cornish X pecked on her back to blood, but ok. I am concerned that I have an overcrowding situation. The two Cornish X birds are within a week or so of culling, but the others have a while yet. I don't know what to do. My initial thought is to enclose the 18" below the coop (temporary second coop), divide the run and put the definite meat culls, Cornish X, 2 white birds, 4 Red Rock X and the more aggressive SLW roos on one side and the to be layer hens and a less aggressive roo in the coop and other side of the run. That would put about the same number in the coop as under it. I know the ones under it are at more risk of predator loss, but I can't leave the situation the way it is. Lesson learned. Don't start too fast and get too many birds.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. My son is going to help me build a chicken tractor or ark in mid May and the meaties will go in it then.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
32,820
27,254
1,077
St. Louis, MO
I say no more than 10. I've never seen a coop manufacturer that didn't grossly overestimate how many birds their products will hold.
One of my coops is 6X8 and have never had more than 11 in there but it could probably hold 14 tightly. Right now there are 4.
If my math is correct, you now have 23 in there. If they're crowded now, imagine what it will be like when they are full size. That's less than 2 sq. ft. per bird. Some of mine take up close to 2 sq. ft. each just standing still. They like to be members of a flock but they don't want their friends to be that close. You're approaching the space afforded caged layers on an egg farm and they must debeak to prevent cannibalism and dose them with meds constantly to keep disease from running rampant.
How big are the open windows and vents in that thing? You should have 1 sq. ft. of ventilation per chicken. I can't imagine 21 square foot of openings which is the number of birds they advertise it will hold.
It's a personal choice but there are facts that can't be ignored. The higher the stocking density, the more often one needs to clean. Crowding causes stress, filthy conditions and limits movement of fresh air all of which contribute to disease, not to mention picking and cannibalism.
If you are able to keep that many birds in that space and avoid disease you'll be very lucky.
 
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theminimizer

Songster
8 Years
Feb 25, 2013
75
98
146
Space is a constant issue for me too. I probably would err on the side of too much rather than too little space.
 

gmomfarms

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
75
6
91
SW Virginia
I say no more than 10. I've never seen a coop manufacturer that didn't grossly overestimate how many birds their products will hold.
One of my coops is 6X10 and have never had more than 11 in there but it could probably hold 14 tightly. Right now there are 4.
If my math is correct, you now have 23 in there. If they're crowded now, imagine what it will be like when they are full size. That's less than 2 sq. ft. per bird. Some of mine take up close to 2 sq. ft. each just standing still. They like to be members of a flock but they don't want their friends to be that close. You're approaching the space afforded caged layers on and egg farm and they must debeak to prevent cannibalism and dose them with meds constantly to keep disease from running rampant.
How big are the open windows and vents in that thing? You should have 1 sq. ft. of ventilation per chicken. I can't imagine 21 square foot of openings which is the number of birds they advertise it will hold.
It's a personal choice but there are facts that can't be ignored. The higher the stocking density, the more often one needs to clean. Crowding causes stress, filthy conditions and limits movement of fresh air all of which contribute to disease, not to mention picking and cannibalism.
If you are able to keep that many birds in that space and avoid disease you'll be very lucky.
I know I have too many, that was the point of my post. My problem now is how to deal with it until I can harvest all but the 6 or 7 I am going to keep in the coop as layers. Can I just enclose the underneath side with roosts and divide the large run to keep them apart, which would put 10 on one side and 11 on the other? I need help not criticism at this point. I know I made a gross error.
 

Mehjr10

Songster
7 Years
May 17, 2012
1,417
93
148
Moscow, TN
The problem with cx's is when they get that close to culling time they do not move much and will just lay there and take the pecking, feather plucking until the point of bleeding.. I had to put mine in a separate section of the coop, and now raise them in a tractor away from the older birds. At least that has been my experience... Put some blukote on the wounds and they should heal up. If feather picking continues with others after that you are too crowded or low protein in your feed.

I put a cage in the roost to put them in at night and had a separate section in the run for the day time also.

Welcome to BYC!
 
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ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
32,820
27,254
1,077
St. Louis, MO
I know I have too many, that was the point of my post. My problem now is how to deal with it until I can harvest all but the 6 or 7 I am going to keep in the coop as layers. Can I just enclose the underneath side with roosts and divide the large run to keep them apart, which would put 10 on one side and 11 on the other? I need help not criticism at this point. I know I made a gross error.
Post some on craigslist. Someone will buy them. Or build a bigger coop now. I always enclose 3 sides under my elevated coops to give them more room and a cool place to hang out in summer.
I didn't mean to sound critical but just giving guidelines and to alert people not to believe the advertised numbers.
Don't feel bad about the addiction, it happens to all of us. That's why I have 9 coops.
Welcome.
 
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gmomfarms

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
75
6
91
SW Virginia
After 2 sleepless nights worrying about this and a long day today with about $70 of materials and a lot of backbreaking labor, I have temporarily solved my problem. I don't want to get rid of any of the existing birds as they are scheduled for freezer camp when they are large enough, but keeping them together was also not an option. We got home from buying materials to find the 2 youngest, the Easter Egger and the Buff Orpington had escaped from the coop pen protecting them, exited the coop, found a way out of the run and were happily grazing in the compost.

So here is the solution in pictures


I dug out one of my compost bins, stapled poultry net around the inside, bought a roll of 3' wide cage wire and some stakes, topped it with more poultry net cable tied on and stapled a doubled tarp on the prevailing wind/rain side and top of the bin. I put the 4 Red Rock Crosses, 2 white unknowns and 5 of the SLW roos in there with food and water and a roost bar.

The 2 pecked giant Cornish X, named Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum by my hubby, I took the large dog crate that was in the garage, divided the run by the width of the cage and the length of the run and gave them their own space with water and food I can control so they don't overeat, which I am sure they were doing.

Inside the coop, I improved the cage for the Easter Egger and the Orpington chick until they are the size of the others or the others adjust to them and gave them part of the roost bars to sit on, they have separate food and water.

That leave the 4 RIRs, 4 SLW, and the above two in the coop and the rest of the run. Hopefully this will solve my problem until harvest day and hopefully not invite too many predators to the guys not cooped up at night.
 

Hypertay

Chirping
Nov 21, 2012
69
7
84
I like your temp setup. I made a temporary run of pvc and strong plastic mesh on all sides but an open bottom with zip ties, and put a tarp over the top with bungies and cinder blocks to hold it all and give shade. I found out the hard way the main defect in my plan one morning when I awoke to rain pouring down, and the tarp holding about 20 gallons that had fallen during the night. The pen was almost at the breaking point when I got the tarp off and the water drenched me head to toe. The run/pen needs an angled top to let the water run off. Even if it is just a pole or broom handle pushing up the tarp in the center - or at the edge if you want the water to run off only on one side.

I also understand the addiction. I got 6 at first, only intending to get 4. One died, sold the 2 roos, so down to 3 hens. Perfect, right? Nope! Had to go to TSC, and they won't let you get less than 6. So we are up to 9! And can't put the 6 red stars outside until we make another tractor.
yippiechickie.gif
 

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