New chicken enthusiast in the UK! loads of questions

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by sarahdal, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. sarahdal

    sarahdal New Egg

    Dec 16, 2015
    Hello! I've just started a wonderful new job on a nature reserve, which has come with accomodation.. and 6 chickens! I was told I didn't have to take them.

    I've always wanted chickens, so I said yes, but I don't know what I am doing!

    Currently they live in a stone and brick outhouse ("shed"), which seems a bit cold and miserable to me :(


    (I don't know what the metal thing is, it doesn't look like it's been used for a long time)

    I am going to have a look at the roof this weekend, there's a bit of a leak in one corner. The perch is a home-made overcomplicated thing, which I want to replace with something simple and easy to clean. I've been reading about mites so want to reduce the amount of wooden bits with nooks and crannies for them to hide in.

    The nest box, with two nests, is a plastic crate on its side and raised up a little, I think it's OK?

    The shed has a concrete floor, should I put something down? I've been sweeping it out thoroughly and replacing the nest straw once a week.

    We do have rats and foxes. My predecessor had a couple of ducks, but they got taken by the fox and since then apparently the chickens have hardly laid at all! I get one egg a day. There's also one chicken that roosts apart from the others (the white one), so they might be having some dominance issues?

    Outside, the chickens have the run of the cottage grounds and around the visitor centre, so lots of space and lots of people around to keep predators away. (They're free to run around the whole nature reserve if they wanted to!)

    Before anyone says "it would be easier to just buy a whole new coop" I absolutely cannot afford to! I have no spare cash and won't for at least 3 months; I do have scrap wood lying about but I'm not a great craftperson so would rather improve what I have, for now.


    All advice very very welcome! I love them and want to do the best I can!
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. Your "coop" is not all that bad, you just need to make a few alterations. The most important thing with any coop is that it is draft free, dry, and well ventilated to keep moisture from building up inside of it. Feathers are wonderful insulators and moisture is a much greater danger than cold. With that in mind, you need to patch up the leak in the corner of the roof and make sure and put in (if they are not already there) some vents along the top of the wall under the eaves of the roof with some kind of elbow or baffle on the vents to prevent drafts or breezes from blowing into the coop. Then I would spread some coarse sand over the concrete floor of the coop and replace the straw in the nest box with some pine shavings. If you haven't done so already, definitely check out our Learning Center at and take a look at the articles on coop ventilation and preparing your coop for the cold winter weather there. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Cheers.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Frindizzle

    Frindizzle Guitar Girl <3 Premium Member

    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]
  4. N F C

    N F C home again! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013

    Michael O'Shay has given you some great advice. With a bit of tweaking the shed you have will work fine for a coop.

    You mention the girls don't lay much. Do you have any idea how old the chickens are? Laying does slow down as they age. Molting and fewer daylight hours this time of year can slow down laying too. Mites, stress, poor diet...lots of things will impact their laying.

    Good luck with your new flock, always feel free to ask questions and make yourself at home here. There's so much great information available and a lot of helpful members.

    Thanks for joining us!
  5. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Hi :welcome from Yorkshire UK

    Glad you could join the flock! Your set up should be fine with a bit of tinkering. You might like to pop by the coop section too for some ideas on things to help you and your birds. Here is the link ~
    Where abouts in the UK are you? Please do drop by the UK thread, the link is in my signature. There may be other keepers near to you.

    Wishing you the very best of luck with your leak fix and enjoy BYC :frow
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to byc - great to have you onboard and good luck with your chickens.

    All the best

  7. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  8. sarahdal

    sarahdal New Egg

    Dec 16, 2015
    Thank you SO MUCH for replying everyone! I'll get the shed patched up at the weekend for them. I'm afraid I've no idea of age or where they've come from, how long do hens live and at what sort of age would they slow down egg laying?

    I will check out those other places on the forum - thank you again! Everyone seems so helpful, I was worried I'd gotten in way over my head but let's hope not!
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    May 14, 2014
    You're welcome.
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome, glad you joined us at Backyard chickens.

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