New many questions


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 24, 2012
Hi everyone. We have 4 baby chicks brooding in our upstairs bathroom right now... Our first foray into chicken keeping. As I told my husband, I would have less anxiety if someone left a baby on my deck...I am freaking out about the chickens! I know so little, I am freaking out about keeping everything clean and free of pests, bugs, smell, rodents and larger predators. I am so worried about winter months here in Massachusetts ...

We plan on using this weekend to start building the coop, or tractor, or run or....see, so many questions. My thought is that we will build a more permanent coop with a run attached, and then a small covered more portable "pen" for when we are home in good weather and can move them around the yard. the best of the coop / tractor combo. But I don't even know how to move full grown chickens from their coop area into a covered pen in another part of the yard! And I am thinking in the permanent run area of enclosing the whole thing with hardware cloth, incl the bottom...and then throwing lots of dirt, leaves etc on on the bottom so that the chickens would not be walking on this doable ? Blech. My older son is already so attached...just hoping I can do this right!
Thanks all, look forward to learning a lot...obviously I have a lot to learn.
The first thing you can do is take a deep breath and relax, you have found the absolute best site for asking questions about your new chicks! For the record, I felt the same anxiety with my first little chicks I raised 5 years ago and I even feel a touch of it again with my second group I just brought home yesterday. Browse the rasing chicks forum and it will help put your mind at ease.
I can't offer advice on the cold- I'm in Texas and have to worry more about the heat. I know there are plenty of folks on here though who can give you some advice on that.
As far as what to make, I suggest building a permanent coop and run first. Post questions on the coop forum to see what is the best design to protect the chickens with your average weather there and then get started asap! You will want those chicks out of your bathroom alot faster than you think. I don't recommend adding a wire bottom to your run. Chickens like to dig holes like dogs in the dirt. They would quickly scratch through whatever you placed on top of it. The hardware cloth may catch a toe and could really hurt your birds. Were you thinking of doing that as a way to protect them from predators digging in? If so, another option is to bury a foot of the wire from the sides at least 6 inches deep, curving it back away from your run. That way, anything digging would hit a wire wall. We did that when we enclosed our run and we also added a metal edging much like this:

Surprisingly, that edging has helped keep the chickens from digging out more than anything has tried to dig in! Apparently, the side walls and corners of the run are a great spot to dig the holes I mentioned before. I hope this gives you afew ideas about where to start. Welcome to Backyard Chickens and enjoy your chicks!
Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan

We get very cold weather up here. As long as you build a good, draft-free but well-ventilated coop, they will be fine in the winter. I do stick to hardier cold-tolerant breeds - google the Henderson Chicken Chart for info on breed charactoristics.
Thank you to everyone for the welcome and advice. Okay, so we will skip the hardware cloth in the bottom of the run....but today I had a person who keeps a few chickens over and she had another idea. She herself isn't too concerned about predators digging from under and in, but because I am she suggested putting sheet metal on the bottom of the run (with plenty of dirt, plants, leaves etc over it). I think this would solve the toe catching prob but not sure what other issues could be created? Drainage issues or anything else? Or would this be a good idea? I want to make the enclosed run as predator and rodent proof as possible.... I might not always be home at dusk to shut the coop so I would like the pen to be pretty impenetrable ...but digging wire into the ground sounds both labor intensive and not foolproof...

We hope to start building something tomorrow so....we shall see!

Also, the enclosed run might be without our fenced in backyard so when we are around I might let the chickens out in the yard....but my biggest concern is hawks. If we are outside with the chickens in th day much of a concern would a hawk be? Are they that brazen?

Fourchicks, how is your coop and run coming along?

What did you decide to do regarding giving it a bottom?

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