New owner, several questions. A fun bag of ignorance!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ts72712, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. ts72712

    ts72712 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2011
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm a new chicken owner, 4 chickens, 2 roos 2 hens. The girls are laying one egg a day(total) probably 2 dozen so far, so that should give you an idea on age.

    1. Anyway my problem is I JUST finished the new coop last friday and read on here to lock them in the coop, however i forgot how long. I locked them in for 3 nights, not letting them out at all. Is that what you ment? If it is, you said to lock them in the coop for 2 weeks, my question is do you mean two weeks of staying in the coop exclusively? Not letting them out at all for two weeks, or do you mean catch them put them in the coop at night and lock the door at night, letting them out in the morning.

    Like I said I locked them in the coop for 2 days and 3 nights not letting them out until this morning, around 7 at night i went out and they was sleeping outside. The first time I put them in there they tried to turn around and I had to lift their feet just to get them in the coop, however when I caught them tonight I just had to show them the door and they went right in. Do you think I still need to lock them exclusively in for 2 weeks? (Seems abit extream to me)

    2. Another thing is my alpha rooster is doing a weird new wavy thing with his head. Noticed it a day before I finished the coop, he acts normal then he randomly weaves his head...best way I can describe it is like a black/latino girl telling you "what for" lol.(Without the snapping fingers) I assume it's some kinda alpha male display, or I hope so.

    3. Yet another question is I'd like my chickens to be more friendly, if it's even possible. I raised them in my bedroom, when I let them out of their cage they would huddle beside my bed I was laying on. But now they act like....well teenagers, very "whatever". lol Do their own thing, if I hold up a piece of food pellet the alpha male will come and eat it out of my fingers but the other three will look at it and walk off....like it's not for them? I'd like to be able to pick them up and pet them, I assume thats normal? They used to jump on my arm when they was chicks, now I have to throw feed nearby for them to come to me, certainly no "chasing the food bucket" stuff. They do tend to stay nearby but they do seem to keep their distance.

    lol I'm sure I have more questions but I should end this now.

    [Edit] Winter time is comming I've read a dry, well ventilated coop is better then a heat source for the winter. But how do you have ventilation and have no drafts? I've used expanding foam to plug up several holes along the roof but I have a ventilation door as well as afew gaps where the two cleaning access doors are. My plan was to cover the gaps from the doors as best I could and close the vent at night, but now I don't know. Right now I have a red heat lamp inside simply because it's very dark in my coop, what if anything do I need to protect my boys from frostbite?
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  2. ednasgirl

    ednasgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2011
    When we moved our chicks into the house we built for them, we kept them in the small fenced area that surrounds the house. I went out every day for three days and raked it, changed the water, etc. etc. Then when I felt like they knew it was home (because they were perching at night on the pole we put up for them), I started letting them out to free range around noon or 1pm. I leave the gate open all day so they can go back in to lay in the nests. Mine always gather up near the open gate as the day ends and are on the perch without me doing anything. When the days started getting shorter, they go to the perch earlier. I go out with my flashlight and shine it to be sure they are all there, then tell them goodnite and lock the gate...to keep out predators.
     
  3. ts72712

    ts72712 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2011
    Northwest Arkansas
    My yard isn't fenced in, they have an 8x8 "run" attached to the 4x8 coop. The coop is about 2' off the ground with a little shaded area below. using this design. Except I have the door on one side and the run attached to that side.(I love this design by the way, way to go whoever designed it!)

    So my chickens are always by the coop however they was sleeping below the coop on one of the two by fours when I went to put them in the coop tonight. Their old temporary cage is like 5 feet from their new run(had an old dog house inside they slept in) and I'd let them out to free range in my fencless yard while I worked on their new home. They seemed to stay around the new chicken coop/me while I built it. Infact when I was putting the last bit of wire along the underside of the coop they walked in themselves and layed under the coop so I just enclosed them in.

    I just hate to have to chase them and put them in the coop by hand, it seems to stress them out alot.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  4. ts72712

    ts72712 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2011
    Northwest Arkansas
    lol shoulda known not to post this on halloween night.

    Anyone got any more input?
     
  5. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] to the BYC

    I think you mean so they become familiar with the coop lock down and get used to being there. 1 week is certainly enough time and I agree. I would let them out while you are there but yes a week is plenty of time. Its is so they get comfortable and familiar with a safe place. The brooder needs to be locked up so its dark and they quiet down and go to bed. I let my chicks out each day between 7 and 8 and they are used to it. During the lock down does not mean you cant let them out unsupervised. Get a can and put treats in it and shake it to get their attention the time your in lock up and feed them treats until they come to the can sound and that will help you round them up.

    1 find the foods they love best.

    2 start the conditioning by doing the same thing lets say at 8am and 4pm each. At 8am you walk out to the birds and at the gate ring a bike bell. (mine is on the gate and I walk in or around with it) or whatever, a shake a can with rocks or penny's in it. Walk over and sit down chair or ground but remember we are doing the exact thing every day. ring the bell again and start put a lot of treats on the ground and around you. Then while eating you will ring the bell a couple of time so they hear the bell before, up to the feeding and then at the feeding.

    3 At 4 pm you are going to duplicate doing the very same thing.

    4. Continue for the next few day like or up to a week. Alway ring the bell at the gate, siting down and feeding

    5 next reduce the amount of feed thrown around to closer to you always closer. Now less food so they feel they need to get it first. urgency

    6. next place some of the foods on your ankle, knee and lap and start baiting them to you so they know the hand that is feeding them. trust

    7. continue for a few days luring them close to you so you can begin to touch tails and the backs of the your kids. Your doing good now creating trust.

    8 if they will let you start stroking each or the ones that will let you the ones that do not no pressure they will or will not come on there own.

    9 Great job!! because the next time they are in the yard ring the bell for the first time and guess what they will come running to where ever you are


    Your rooster is doing what is called courting or letting the girls know he is there.

    I still go everyday out to the girls and feed them in my lap and pet them and touch and talk low to them. I have been doing it since we got the chicks and you will end up with little lovers.

    Draft is a weird thing to deal with. Ventilation at the top in the dormers or the gable ends but they need air with all the moisture build up and the ammonia smell. Chicks are more get out of the wind than get out of the cold. If you open up the gable ends in a 4X12" hole and put hardware cloth over it you will be doing the kids good. Chickens have a down coat built by genetics. The colder it gets the more down they develop. You need to keep heat off them so they can have the feathers do what they are supposed to do.
     
  6. ts72712

    ts72712 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2011
    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:Thanks for the input but you lost me at the "dormers" and "gable" what are you refering to? In the design link I posted(my second post here) I have one ventilation door in up top in the tallest side, the "front" where the chickens come out in the picture is a double door for me to clean, the smallest back end has a drop down door also for me to clean, their roost pole is back there. The chickens exit door is in the south side going into a completely chicken wired in run area.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  7. Blue

    Blue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The gist of the dormers and gables ventilation is that it is recommended that you have ventilation up high (such as small vents right under the roof eaves of your coop). Vents such as these will allow air to circulate into the coop, but will be up high enough that the air won't be blowing directly onto the chickens (drafty). Ventilation can also work if you have windows in the coop that you can close partially in such a way that there's no cold winter air blowing directly onto the birds. The same goes for your door. If your door is in a location where the air that comes inside through the door is not blowing directly onto the birds, then it could work fine for ventilation. I'm assuming you're talking about the small pop door the chickens go out of and not a larger human sized door however.

    Here is how my ventilation is set up right now. My small bantam coop has a vent on the front side under the roof, but both of my other coops get their ventilation through the pop doors and windows, and I haven't had any trouble with frost bite yet. [​IMG] The old coop doesn't have pop doors, just small doorways for the chickens to go out and in with no door to close over them, so they stay open all the time. However, I close the pop doors on my new coop at night, but there is one window in there that is open slightly. It's an old trailer window that has three panes that open (fold) out instead of raising up. The air blows up toward the ceiling, and the roosts are on the other side of the coop against the back wall, so it should work for ventilation.

    As for locking them in the coop, that is done so that they recognize it as their home. They don't have to be locked inside the coop. If they have a run, you can let them out into it as well. All that is meant here is not to let them out into open land, such as a yard or field for a couple weeks because they need to be in the coop and run long enough that they firmly have it associated in their minds as home. Otherwise, they may decide they'd rather just roost in a tree or wander down the road to someone else's property and live there. [​IMG]

    For example, I moved a young flock from one coop/run to another. After a week, I let them out of their new run to free range. I thought they'd been in there long enough to know it was their new home (they'd been finding their way into the new coop and onto the roosts at night on their own, which I took as a good sign). However, they ended up having to be hearded across the yard and out into the field where their new coop was at because they had all piled up outside of their old coop instead of going to their new one. I tried letting them out to free range again this past weekend (which was the end of their second week in the new coop/run), and they all found their way back to the right coop to roost without my having to heard them all over the place this time, so there is something to that two week deal. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  9. ts72712

    ts72712 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2011
    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:I have one very small door/window with wire covering it up near the top on the highest side of the coop on the opposite side of the roost pole. It's on the northside of the coop, which will cause the north wind to blow into it.(but I can close it up if needed)
    I used the wavey metal for the roof so i did have gaps along the top however I used expanding foam on the tallest side to fill those in, do you think that was a mistake?

    Thanks all for the great advice, gives me a lot to think about. However my chickens was pretty much raised where their coop now sits. I don't need to lock them inside the coop it's self i assume is what you're saying, I just need to catch them each night and put them inside the coop? (They've been sleeping on the ground inside an old dog house since I first moved them outside) or do you think that if they need to go inside they will, like if it gets to cold or whatever. (They have not been trying to get to their old cage, except that first night.)
     
  10. ts72712

    ts72712 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2011
    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:Thanks for the link, what you said alone makes me wanna go unclog those high up holes. However the coop is probably 5' on it's highest end so maybe just a couple holes. lol

    I should say that ventilation and heat control inside the coop during the summer time isn't going to be an issue, I built the coop with the summer heat in mind. Which I guess is why i went and foamed in most of the "draft holes" on the roost side for winter. During summer I'll open the cleaning doors on the two ends and put some wire/screen up there to keep them inside, will basically be a mild wind tunnel during the summer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011

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