New to chicken raising I have a few questions.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lobb40118, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. lobb40118

    lobb40118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Indianapolis, IN
    I am only getting 3 Hens right now. 3 Rhode Island Reds 26 weeks old so they should be laying soon. The coop i built is a converted rabbit hutch it is two stories the top is 3' x 5' and the bottom is 3' x 8 ' the bottom level is open floored so that grass and dirt are available. It has some open sections(chicken wire covered of course) (2 sides are closed with plywood) I planned on covering the open long side with a tarp to prevent drafts and only leaving the small 3' left side open for ventalation. I plan on having the 3 hens wander around my big fenced in back yard when i am home (Neighbors on both sides have cats). Now for the questions.

    Will the one side being covered in a tarp be enough to keep the 3 warm?

    I have some heat lamps from when i raised some baby ducks could i use them as suplemental heat( lamp would be shining in the open side and be in the weather)?

    What temperature would they need suplemental heat added(I live in Indianapolis so it gets a bit cold)?

    How long does it take to imprint the homing instinct so that I can let the new birds out of the coop?

    When the birds range my fenced in back yard would it be futile to seed my back yard for grass?
     
  2. FrontPorchIndiana

    FrontPorchIndiana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2008
    Indiana
    Hi, I'm in Hendricks County just west of you. [​IMG]

    As far as your setup, it would be great if you could show us a picture. You'll need a place that is dry and draft free for them. I'd also recommend that you make sure it's something you can lock them into during the night to keep them safe if you have neighborhood cats. As far as the heat lamp goes I'll only run mine over the water to keep it from freezing. I raised countless chickens up near Lafayette in an old uninsulated barn for years and they all survived with no heat ever. I only heat the water now because I'm older and lazier.

    As far as the grass, it would depend on how big your yard is. Three hens won't do all that much damage to a decent sized area. I'd keep them inside their coop for several days before turning them loose unsupervised.
     
  3. lobb40118

    lobb40118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Indianapolis, IN
    Ok i am adding a few final touches to the coop then I will place the pictures. My back yard is fenced with 5 foot high chain link and is roughly 90' x 60' so that would be roughly 1800 square foot per chicken minus the stuff in the yard so to be conservative I would say 1 would say 1100' per chicken. The coop is locked but there is a possibility of something chewing through the chicken wire or digging under the walls. Once I finish I will post the pics i am just working out the tarp procedure.
     
  4. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    is there any way you can use hardwire vs. just plain chicken wire? critters can get through chicken wire pretty easy...of course, I dont know if you're out in the country or in a suburb type of situation but - hardwire is best if you can do it. Make sure you either put the wire into the ground or extend it outwards about 2 feet all the way around your coop (pin it) soas to prevent critters / dogs from digging in as well.

    Welcome to the forums [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  5. lobb40118

    lobb40118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 1, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I have hard wire on one section but chicken wire on the other. The coop is a suburb coop so some neighborhood cats a few squirells, rabbits a racoon on occasion and maybe an opposium on occasion. I have an indoor dog and he does not bother my two peafowl i have in a pen so i doubt he will bother them (while they are in the coop) he goes out a few times a day to do his business and hopefully that could keep out some of the pests. What can chew through chicken wire?
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    A lot of the chickenwire sold these days is pretty light-gauge, that a raccoon or dog can bite/claw apart without much trouble.

    Probably the commonest predator cause of chicken losses in suburbs is other peoples' loose dogs, btw; also, sadly, peoples OWN dogs getting loose at the wrong moment. So even though your dog is well behaved and has not caused a problem thus far, dogs are still a threat to take seriously.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. lobb40118

    lobb40118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 1, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    Thanks, I plan on not letting my dog in the back yard while they are walking around or slowly letting him out near them on a leash to see how he reacts.
     
  8. lobb40118

    lobb40118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Indianapolis, IN
    well day 2 of my first chicken experience. I ended up buying 2 Rhode Island Red hens and a Barred Rock hen. looks like my coop works fine so far it is 16 degrees and they walk out into the open area into the snow. I just need to put something in the nests on the second floor to keep them from using them as a perch. Being they are around 22-28 weeks and have not layed yet and the fact that their combs are reddening and the coop stays mostly dim to dark because of the tarps how do I get them to start laying this time a year? I put a red heat lamp a couple of feet above the water to help keep it from freezing (not working great but slows down the process). I also put a white light heat lamp on a timer to shine into the coop after it gets dark for 6 hours. How long should i expect to wait for them to start laying eggs? I understand they are in winter and just coming into laying and just moved.
     
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    [​IMG] Can you post any pics? It could be a month or more before they start laying, maybe sooner. Chickens need time to adjust to changes. Be patient. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. lobb40118

    lobb40118 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 1, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    Sure I will take some pics of my coop and my chickens it might be a day or so. I find myself out there all the time checking on them and trying to catch them to pet them...lol......I figured out that i need to put a middle door in on the bottom floor to make it easier. I wadded up a feed bag and put it in the nests and they did not get in the nests but sslept right outide the nest on the wire instead of the perch i made them on the bottom floor. I need to put a 2x2 on the wire floor upstairs for a faux perch for them.
     

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