Need help with digs for surprise chicks!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sBrickmanHouse, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. sBrickmanHouse

    sBrickmanHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2008
    Hi all,

    We are newbie chicken owners, and have been doing great all spring and summer with our 20 hens and a rooster who run around a fenced acre of our property-- we love them! They have a small (6x8) secure coop that they only use to sleep in, and a fenced run with an open top (which, of course, they totally ignore in favor of the yard):



    Here's my dilemma. One of our hens took off a month and a half ago, and we thought she was a goner. Much to our surprise, we found her five days ago under our kitchen window (completely on the other side of the property from the chicken house and run) with 5 itty bitty chicks!

    We managed to wrangle her and her chicks into a dog crate in our family room-- nighttime predators are really bad around here, and they wouldn't have survived long where they were.

    She seems to be a great mom, very protective, and the chicks seem to be happy, active, and growing like weeds (and are VERY cute!). But it's clear they'll outgrow the crate in the family room quickly, and of course we'd like to get them integrated safely with the rest of the crew as soon as possible.

    Before we got our first batch of chicks in February, I spent HOURS on this board researching the coop set-up that would work for us-- just a small hobby flock of hens for eggs for us and the neighbors. What we built was absolutely PERFECT for that. . . except we didn't plan on little ones!

    Looking at the photos of what we have, does anyone have any ideas for how to modify our set up to accomodate a hen and her five chicks to keep them safe while they integrate into the flock?

    We're stumped by two things: 1/ our outdoor run is fine during the day, but not at all secure at night, and 2/ our coop is a fortress at night, but VERY small and doesn't have much room to sequester anyone.

    It's a hard situation, but we're trying to do the best for our birds-- does anyone have any creative ideas that might help?

    Thanks much in advance!
  2. johnmayersquare

    johnmayersquare Let's Talk About Chicks, Man!

    Nov 17, 2007
    Port Orchard, WA
    If I were you(and I kinda am, since I have almost the same exact problem you are having with needing a little more space), I would maybe extend the coop out off of the left side where the trash cans are. you could do just a short(like half the height of the original coop)and then the little ones could go in there(and add some chicken wired on the inside as a "gate" between the original coop and the new little "half coop"(almost like an attached dog house kinda)........then the older chicks can get used to them, without picking on them, and also give you a little more room. Just a thought [​IMG]
  3. coffeelady3

    coffeelady3 Froths Milk for Hard Cash

    Jun 26, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    I would say section off a portion of the run away from the existing coop, and attach a new coop for the babies at the other end. It would be a good idea to cover the fencing with wire, and close off the top of the run with wire too, both to keep the babies in and the other adults out. Look around on Craig's list for a large dog house. They tend to be pretty cheap, and are easily converted into coops. (That's what I did for my girls).

    Good luck!
  4. gotchooks?

    gotchooks? Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    johnmayersquare <----- I'll second what he said. It addresses all your issues: Safety, flock integration, future use. The only thing I might add is using hardware cloth inside as a divider. It's sad when a bigger hen catches one of the chicks too close to the chicken wire divider. [​IMG]

    BTW, Nice set up!

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