New backyard flock, is all this normal and do I need to change anything?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by IvanTsary, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok, just getting started after thinking about chickens for about 6 months. Ordinance for my area requires confinement in coop or run at all times (and it just wouldnt be fair to neighbors to free range in subdivision anyway). We have 4 GLW we picked up at 10 weeks of age. We have them in a appx 6x3 (plus encloses roosting/nesting area aka "coop proper" or "inner sanctum") prefab coop. They have been living in this for going on 6 days, and have finally taken to roosting in the coop proper. I got them used to that area by placing food and water in there, but moved them back into the outer coop tonight since they took to staying in the coop all day. ( I think they saw a stray cat, and since I am the "Rooster" apparently, it was safe when I was nearby.)

    There has been some pecking at each other, most affected area seems to be just in front of the tail feathers. It seems to be some less since they roost inside where the roosting bars are level, vs the outside bars which are laddered. I have seen a few of the instances and they seem to be short squabbles, so I am assuming it is establishing pecking orders since removal from their flock. We have been keeping a gallon of water and several cups of feed, as well as scratch thrown out in small amounts a couple times during the day to keep them from getting bored.

    I just completed a 6x8 run for them. Is 6 days long enough to make them stay in the coop before sending them into the run? Is it generally a good idea to have dirt for the floor of both coop and run? I have a wire apron outside the coop to keep diggers out at night, do i need to have an apron on the daytime run too? How do I know when the pecking has gone too far?

    Pics of coop and run to come tomorrow.
     
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pecking goes to far when they start drawing blood. If you get a second feeder and waterer and put them in a seperate area, you will decrease the fighting. I think 6 days is enough to let them enjoy their run and dirt floor is great, they love to scratch. For the daytime run, is the area going to be always open, or do you plan to keep it closed at night? Do you have many predators? Generally you cannot over protect a coop, and no matter what you do, you still could get hit and have loses.
     
  3. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chillin' With My Peeps

    An occasional hawk or stray cat, maybe a possum at night. Not as many as more rural areas.

    Here is the set up now, I need to rework the door to the run so I can more easily open both run and coop in the morning.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is that chicken wire? It looks great, but i have talked to a woman with a similar setup, she lost all of her birds to the neighbors dog. He just jumped on the run and fell through. I believe yours is taller. I will see if still have the thread.
     
  5. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chillin' With My Peeps

    It is chicken wire, 4' tall. I was acruelly just thinking over whether I want to leave to top "open" with just wire and add wheels to make it a tractor, or turn the top into a raised garden bed. It's hard to reach most of the middle of the coop though.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    That's a pretty small space for 4 birds....might be why they are pecking.
    What is your climate/location?

    Higher protein feed can also help......what are you feeding?
     
  7. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chillin' With My Peeps


    It's a growing chicken crumble from TSC, not Purina but looked pretty similar. We also toss meal worms in wi the scratch. The blue coop gives about 15sq ft of space on the bottom, which I knew was not good long term. The pen has 48 Sq ft for 4 birds and is tall enough to let them fly a tad... this am one of them avoided a challenge by a more dominant hen by flying to the other end of the coop, then walked right back over and everything was fine. I think that the increased space will take pressure off. 64 Sq ft should he adequate for 4 birds since ranging them is not an option, right?

    If they get too big for the blue coop, I'm thinking of bolting on a 4x4x6 handmade coop and selling the fancy one to someone with 2 chickens or something.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  8. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good things to consider. Dogs should not be loose in my neighborhood, and it sounds like she had a short run and covered with deer net instead of wire, but then huskies are heavy dogs. I think mine is too tall to jump, but I might put another cross member up there to be safe.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  10. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hard to protect against a Husky. My SIL Huskey jumped our 4 ft fence to kill all my farm cats [​IMG]
    I was just giving you a heads up, you cannot protect against everything, but knowledge is good.
     

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