New Member

mimofoster

Hatching
5 Years
Sep 16, 2014
5
0
7
I am a new member living in Groton, MA. I have 6 Easter Egger chickens that we raised from chicks. We got them at Agway in Littleton Ma. When I purchased them, I wanted a rooster but was told the chicks were sorted and all female. Lo and behold, we ended up with a rooster. My chickens are not laying yet and are still freeloaders.

Today I moved the chickens into their winter coop from the chicken tractor. Both were built by my husband this spring and summer. The chicken tractor is an A frame style that two people pick up and move. It was built with plans my husband purchased online. After we built it and moved our 12 week old chicks into it, we realized there was no way it would work for a winter coop as the roosting area was to small for a waterer. Also as our chickens went from 12-16 weeks we noticed it was way too small for them. They were too cramped and after a few tries at a temporary fenced pasture area, they kept escaping so we reluctantly went free range. We have almost an acre of yard and a quiet neighborhood. That said, there are predators like hawks, coyotes and yes, a bear. So far our neighbors are fine with them, the kids like them and the rooster is crowing but not bothering anyone (fingers crossed).

I saw pictures of coops for sale that I liked, showed my husband and although we couldn't find plans, he made them up and it came out great. I will attach some photos.









The chickens survived so far free range during the day (at night they trot home on their own and we close them up in the tractor. Our neighbors lost three chickens their first season (hawk, dog and coyotes) and had to pay someone to take their rooster. We are a bit worried as to how they will survive the winter (?) and also how our elderly neighbors closest to the new permanent coop will tolerate our rooster, Cocky Locky. We have put a heat lamp in the roosting box (do we need two?) and are keeping our fingers crossed about the neighbors because we kind of like our chicken captain. Still waiting for eggs...

Mimo
 

Wyandottes7

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
20,586
1,309
401
Welcome to BYC!
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We're glad to have you.

Your coop is beautiful, and your chickens seem to be happy!

I, personally, would remove the heat lamp from your coop. You have cold hardy breeds that will likely do fine without supplemental heat. My chickens survive below zero temperatures without a heat lamp. Heat lamps can increase the risk of frostbite by increasing humidity, and are a fire hazard. Just make sure that the coop has plenty of ventilation and a thick layer of bedding and your birds will be fine. Unless raising breeds with large combs, you really don't need supplemental heat.

Another problem that could arise is that you may not have enough hens for the rooster. To prevent overmating, you usually want to have at least eight hens per rooster. With that said, some roosters do fine with fewer hens- and others sometimes need even more to prevent feather loss. Having too few hens per rooster can really make hens' lives miserable. Just keep this in mind.

Good luck with your flock! I hope they lay for you soon. Green eggs really are quite pretty, and you should get lots from your Easter Eggers!
 
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drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
137,459
258,504
2,027
Out to pasture
Your hubby sounds very talented. Wish they all were. Is it possible you could move the coop farther away from your neighbor so, he won't complain? Have you been bringing him any eggs as a peace offering. That can buy a lot of good will.
 

BantamLover21

Crowing
7 Years
Jul 24, 2013
23,660
1,553
426
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Glad you joined us!

Feel free to ask lots of questions! We're all here to help.
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Wyandottes7 gave you good advice. Good luck with the flock!
 

TwoCrows

🌻🐣🌻
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Mar 21, 2011
47,951
107,197
1,712
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Hello there and welcome to BYC!
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Yes, they do grow fast and can out grow these small coops. I had the same trouble when I first got into chickens. Wyandottes X2 You need to remove the heat lamp. Chickens have built in heaters. Their feathers are incredibly warm and all you are going to do is make them sick. They can adapt to the coldest of temps in the winter. There are members here from Alaska that keep their chickens in un insulated coops, no heat, no heated water dishes, any of it. The chickens survive Minus 40 degree temps on a daily basis. You want your birds to be able to go outside every day in the winter. And the coop needs to be airy. Do not close it up tight with vents shut in the winter. Not enough ventilation and they will get frost bite and respiratory ailments. So let that air fly!

Good luck on this new journey and welcome to our flock!
 

mimofoster

Hatching
5 Years
Sep 16, 2014
5
0
7
Wow, sounds like maybe we don't need the heat lamp and i am worried about fire hazards. We are fairly new to this part of the country and are worrying about those really cold temps but did our research and looked for cold hardy breeds, these were sold as Americanas but I'm pretty sure they are in fact Easter Eggers. We do have a heated base for our chicken waterer. I may add a couple of chickens next spring if I notice the overmating is a problem. I think I could fit two more in the bigger coop but not the tractor. Thanks for the advice.
 

Michael OShay

Crowing
5 Years
May 14, 2014
25,581
2,434
438
Montana
Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. Your coop looks nice, but you should definitely replace or else cover the chicken wire with hardware cloth as there are just too many predators that can either tear through chicken wire or else pass through the openings in the mesh (as many BYC members can attest to their own sorrow). Hardware cloth is extra expense, but it's cheaper than replacing your flock. Hardware cloth has saved many chicken owners a lot of tears. Please feel free to ask any specific questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck with your flock.
 

mimofoster

Hatching
5 Years
Sep 16, 2014
5
0
7
Shoot we had heard that about the wire and now we regret our decisions to take the risk. We were really hating the cost of the hardware cloth although we did dig down around the coop 3' out in each direction and layed hardware cloth in there before replacing the dirt. Really hating the idea of pulling down that wire from the walls, that was the worst part of the build big time but we have invested so much in these chickens so far. What gage and size of openings in the hardware cloth would you suggest? Should we go with the 1/4" or can we do the 1/2" openings?
 

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