New Coop, free roam?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Narvik, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. Narvik

    Narvik New Egg

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    Hei, new to the forum and still just owning a
    lone rooster. I know that it was not the best idea, but my son goes to a "farm" kindergarten close by. They hatch eggs around Easter and I still think that this is a good pedagogic experience. But once in a while the normal farming business takes over. So he was saved to our home and I had plans to put life into our abandoned coop. ( not used since we bought the house 10 years ago, rotten fencing) He escaped the first day and is now living around the house. No chance to catch him, and we might even have scared him trying. He gets food and water and there is enough shelter.
    I took this as a signal and started to build a expanded and renovated coop.
    Might take 4 weeks to get the job done. Foundation is excavated, starting to build the floor and will then connect the new coop to the old one, L-shaped.
    First question: can I use the hen house while still working on the fencing? Our property is close to chicken heaven, but will new family members behave without fencing? Will they use the coop if they are not restricted from complete free range?
    Second question: will my rooster someday accept the coop, maybe because of the ladies?
    We are talking about southern Norway, great climate throughout summer and autumn, and few predators. A rare fox, but there was a disease two years ago and the population is very low.
    Thanks for any help
    Peter
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    How old of hens were you going to get? If you keep them cooped up for a couple of days, often that is long enough for them to figure out where to go back to that night. It can vary a bit by breed though, as some are more inclined to find a tree or bush for the night if they are uncertain about where to go. As far as the boy, one or more girl may tame him, or he may take a wife and convince her that coop-free is the only way to live.
     
  3. Narvik

    Narvik New Egg

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    Jun 3, 2017
    Thanks for your information!
    The rooster is from last year, he had some trouble with the pecking order at the farm and should be moved or cooked. In my eyes he is extremely pretty and healthy, race yet to be determined. I have no idea about the hens, but the farm/kindergarten would be my first choice. They have way too many birds and it is always a problem, they usually don't use their birds for meat. I think I could get a couple of hens at varying age, just what the owner wants to sort out. I am so early in the chicken thing that I don't care about race or productivity. They shall just do their chicken thing and be happy. Take care of them and get some eggs while the children are happy and learn something useful.
    Bird shows and especially pretty birds might come after a while, but I am not into breeding or any pedigree. Various birds like ducks, goose and anything nice to have could follow in the future.
    We have space enough and finally I have a reason to use parts of my property, not just let the forest take over.
    Peter
     
  4. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    That sounds like a good plan. Do you have any raptors there?
     
  5. Narvik

    Narvik New Egg

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    No predators at the moment. Some foxes, but since we had some local disease the population is way down, badgers maybe, but I have never seen one. Birds of prey are too small to take chickens. Quite safe. We live in the countryside but also close to the city.

    Peter
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!!

    #1: Yes, best to keep them locked in the coop for a week or so to 'home' them to the coop. Then start free ranging late in the day, an hour or so before roosting time, so they won't wonder too far before time to go back to coop to roost.

    #2: I'd bet he'll be moving in with those girls pretty quick!

    Just gotta say...not sure that's a good thing to 'teach'.
     
  7. Narvik

    Narvik New Egg

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    Thanks again!
    Yes, I agree. Good to teach about farm animals and animal welfare, but there is clearly a conflict with birth control and management. It is not just the chickens, also cats and rabbits.
    Peter
     
  8. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    If you can get around 10 pullets it would constitute a more balanced flock. Just a couple of girls and your cock bird will repeatedly mate them which can result in feather loss and a whole lot of stress for them. He'll still have his favourite girls, but at least a whole bunch of them will reduce his focus on one or two birds.
     
  9. hahmmy

    hahmmy Just Hatched

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    Sounds like tons of fun! I too am pretty new to backyard chickens, but as a kid I grew up on a production chicken farm. ( not pleasant for those poor chickens I now realize) . I was keen on free ranging, I live in Maryland in the US. Shocked to discover that we have a real problem with Coopers Hawks, dont take the birds away but sure as heck kill them and eat them quickly. Disturbing way to loose several chickens. Good luck with yours, hope you do not have raptors!!
     

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