New Chicken Owner with "Rescued" Chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lizcg, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. lizcg

    lizcg New Egg

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    Aug 23, 2014
    Hello everyone! My DH and I bought a house about a month ago that came with 2 chickens. Unfortunately, the previous owner was pretty clueless, and really had no business "caring" for chickens (I use the term loosely). He had no idea how old the chickens are, no idea what breed, showed me a few dusty, dried out pails of chicken feed, an algae covered watering system, and some overheated chickens in their rickety coop, without any access to shade. I live in Texas, outside of San Antonio, and it has been over 100F daily for weeks. I was so upset for those birds! That is just not right! I feel like we "rescued" them. I don't know a lot about chickens, but I'm a licensed vet tech, so I know enough to say "This isn't good, this needs to be fixed".

    I have not been able to make any changes to their existing coop and run yet, other than put up some canvas to give them shade, get better feed, and toss the gross watering system (which was no more than an old aquarium pump in half of an algae covered kitty litter bucket), and toss out the old cedar mulch he was using in the next boxes.

    We have a LARGE shed on our property, 10' x 20', wood with a metal roof, loft, and built on a cement slab. I want to convert the shed into a coop, with plans to add more birds. We have no other use for the shed, and otherwise will take it down. The shed faces west, and gets blasted with sun pretty much all day.

    There are 2 levels of wide shelves on one side of the shed. My plan is to turn the shelves into perches, just take out the wide board, and leave the framework, adding 2x4s for perches, with boot trays underneath to catch the poop. I would put the nest boxes along the short wall. I plan to let them free range on my property. I know I need to add more ventilation to the shed. I'm not sure what I want to do for that. Maybe take the double doors off, and cover the opening with chicken wire and hardware cloth, and add some windows on the short walls? There are two vents on the sort walls above the loft, but they aren't enough.

    Does this plan seem reasonable? Any reason they shouldn't be on a cement slab? I'd put pine shavings or hay down on the floor, so they wouldn't be directly on the cement. It seems like the cement slab would offer them more protection from any digging predators. The main problem here is snakes. My surrounding neighbors all have giant dogs that seem to discourage any other critters from hanging around. My neighbors across the street have chickens and roosters, and have *no coop at all* for their birds, they just let them run around and roost where ever, and some how nothing has eaten those birds yet, so I guess the dogs are doing their job?

    I attached pictures of the shed, both inside and out. You can see their current coop on the right.

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  2. nickster1017

    nickster1017 New Egg

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    Aug 20, 2014
    Poor chickens sounds like they have gone through a lot. It sounds like a good idea to move them to the shed, i would cut some square shaped windows and put chicken wire in them for ventilation!
     
  3. lizcg

    lizcg New Egg

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    Aug 23, 2014
    Thanks for your reply! Yes, they have been through a lot. They were also debeaked by the previous owner. :( As far as I am concerned, my girls deserve to live out the rest of their days in extreme comfort, after their previous experience. It's part of why I want to make sure they have a nice, clean, secure coop! :)
     

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