New to chickens - already built coop - tell me what's wrong (or right) - Florida

Karen K

Hatching
Mar 25, 2020
4
8
8
I wouldn't worry too much about the noise from your neighbors bothering the chickens. Our chickens started indoors and were handled a lot before moving them outside. They also would come with me when I did yard work and weeding. The first time I used the lawn mower, I made sure they were in their 'fenced' run area. They weren't too concerned. So I let them out. They have been so used to me doing stuff in the yard, I think they figured my noise maker wasn't a threat if I was the one using it. Later when we used our wood chipper, they weren't phased with that either. Or the pressure washer. Occasionally a noise truck will drive down our street. I think it bothers our cats more than the chickens.
 

hkeibard

Chirping
Oct 13, 2020
45
119
56
Jacksonville, FL
I agree with the noise question, they are amazingly able to adapt to a lot more than you'd think. I had my new flock in a converted shed as I used a chainsaw to cut and trim rough cut timbers to build a run attached to the shed, and they would sit on the window ledges and along the screen door watching me running the saw just a few feet away. I felt guilty since I wear hearing protection for myself! I'm still in the process of building the metal roof over the run a little at a time on the weekends and when they hear me start up the saw I swear they run to the nearest edge of the run to watch. Not to mention the noise of my wife's music when she's out there helping ;)
Really relieved to hear that. I read so many things about how easily stressed chickens can get, I'm relieved to know that it's not 100% the case. I think our neighbor will be good enough with the chickens. His work just involves a lot of noise. Thanks!
 

hkeibard

Chirping
Oct 13, 2020
45
119
56
Jacksonville, FL
I wouldn't worry too much about the noise from your neighbors bothering the chickens. Our chickens started indoors and were handled a lot before moving them outside. They also would come with me when I did yard work and weeding. The first time I used the lawn mower, I made sure they were in their 'fenced' run area. They weren't too concerned. So I let them out. They have been so used to me doing stuff in the yard, I think they figured my noise maker wasn't a threat if I was the one using it. Later when we used our wood chipper, they weren't phased with that either. Or the pressure washer. Occasionally a noise truck will drive down our street. I think it bothers our cats more than the chickens.
So funny. My dogs bark at (flying bird) shadows. Thanks for the feedback!
 

JOANNYOUNG

In the Brooder
May 20, 2020
4
13
18
I live on the east coast of Central FL. We just started our chickens in May 2020. Yes, it got pretty hot here. We installed a fan in our coop and our coop is built up off the ground 3 ft. It was a very hot summer and they spent most of the summer under the coop in the shade. We purchased a shade cloth to place over the run also and that did help. My chickens like to scratch and dig in their run. I have rather large holes where they've carved out places to keep themselves cool also. I worried about predators digging from the outside but never thought about how much digging the chickens do on the inside! We have hardware cloth going from the bottom board about 18 inches out to lay flat on the ground. The grass ends up growing through it and if something decides to dig under the hardware cloth, they have a lot farther to go before they get to the actual run. We bought Amazon Blink cameras so we get an alert if something is snooping aroun the coop at night. I've seen 3 different raccoons. They've sniffed around but pass on trying to get in so far. We feel our coop is pretty solid. Do you have a roost bar in their coop? Mine wanted to roost almost from week 1. We also have roost bars in the run for them. They like to get up there to see what's going on. Good luck!
 

fawnda

Songster
Jun 8, 2018
109
163
121
Iowa
Personally, I would keep the chicks inside for a few weeks at least or until feathered out at 5-6 weeks. They can slip through the bars of the dog crates for one, and it's hard to heat adequately a big open, drafty space like that for young chicks who need a draft-free 90 degree environment. They are so small, a mink could slip in above the hardware cloth apron or a snake and eat/kill a bunch of them. I had a friend who got 25 chicks this past spring and put them all in an old barn with appropriate heat etc. They thought they had found all the openings and fixed it, but a mink got in and killed them all in one night :/ At least if they're bigger when you put them out, they become too big for many things to eat them. If nothing else, set it all up now with a thermometer and do a trial run overnight to make sure you can keep the area warm enough through the night especially.
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
4,085
6,871
406
USA
Personally, I would keep the chicks inside for a few weeks at least or until feathered out at 5-6 weeks. They can slip through the bars of the dog crates for one, and it's hard to heat adequately a big open, drafty space like that for young chicks who need a draft-free 90 degree environment.
I raised chicks outside in Virginia one summer, in a dog kennel covered with hardware cloth, with a tarp over 3/4 of it and a heat lamp inside. It worked pretty well. (They went outside the day they arrive at the Post Office. The space was 4 x 6 feet, and I think there were 15 chicks, with no losses.)

I would probably put the heat source in the crate, put the crate against the house, and put cardboard along 2-3 other sides of the crate. (If heat lamp, do not cover the top of the crate. If a different heat source, put cardboard on top of the crate too.) After a week, remove cardboard from one end of the crate, and start leaving the crate door open so the chicks can go in and out. Watching where the chicks spend their time, and where they sleep, will tell when to remove the rest of the cardboard, the heat source, and the crate.

I suggest cardboard because it's usually easy to get, and because the space is under a roof, so cardboard will probably last long enough for this purpose. A tarp could work just as well--it just needs to block wind from blowing through.
 

Wendee

Songster
Feb 8, 2012
30
53
106
Van Buren, AR
Your run and coop looks good but must remember the rain and wind that you may get. We live in Arkansas so we put a 3 foot of tin around the hard wire on the bottom of our run. With a tin roof over our run even though they run free on our 1-acre yard. To keep the feed from getting wet we use the PVC pipe. Our laying coop is enclosed with pine shavings. If we know the weather is going to be bad we place plastic on the North side of run.
 

KikiLiana

Hatching
Feb 27, 2019
5
4
8
Hi,

I'm new to chickens (chicks arriving at end of month) and newly hatched on this forum today. Though I've been reading posts for months now (so helpful!)
Coop is located in northeast Florida so the climate is mild. Gets colder here in northeast FL than it usually does in central or south FL, but very very mild compared to what so many of you deal with. Coop was already built - attached to an out building, both made of cypress wood. Open on three sides, which I've come to understand is desirable for the humid and hot summers in Florida.

Outlining some of the details:
- coop is 10 x 10
- 6 nesting boxes - accessible from outside of coop
- coop is big enough to stand up in
- original floor was dirt - we added a wood floor and covered with vinyl
- coop was covered with heavy duty wire but it had cattle panel size opening
- in process of wrapping entire thing with hardware cloth (will finish this weekend)
- we also attached boards all along the bottom perimeter - for security and to keep litter/bedding in
- will have a double latch system on the door at top and bottom
- roof is tin - we have plugged holes and painted top to waterproof it and reflect sun
- two original ramps will be reattached along with additional roosts/perches
- right now there are two dog crates in the coop - plan is to have baby chicks in house for first several days then put them outside in the crates within the coop
- we will be adding an attached run to the right of the coop

Deep litter likely to not work well for this coop, so I'm deciding between just pine shavings and regular cleanings or either sand or sani-care as an alternative.
I wish I could free range, but we have a lot of birds of prey that show up daily here.

Concerns:
- anyone with hot weather experience providing insight would be helpful; I see a lot of coops with tight lock up spots for the birds at night. Not really so much here, should I be concerned?
- should I do more for predator protection?
- coop is close to neighbor's property -he's fine with us having chickens, but that's because he'll be the noisy one (engines) so I'm also concerned about that stress - which is a partial reason I'll be shipping the chicks out the coop after several days to get used to it -- I hope.

Thoughts, opinions, suggestions? Anything is appreciated.

(hopefully the photos come though, not one of my skill sets)
 

KikiLiana

Hatching
Feb 27, 2019
5
4
8
Don't ever use chicken wire!!!! Always use 1/4 in hardware cloth. Foxes, dogs, and raptors will go right thru the chicken wire. foxes can climb, so make sure you have any openings secures with the hardware cloth. there are also martins, minks, and weasels who can get thru the smallest openings that you might consider too small. If you have already put up the chicken wire, put up the hardware cloth over it with an electric stapler and 1/2 in staples.
 

hkeibard

Chirping
Oct 13, 2020
45
119
56
Jacksonville, FL
Don't ever use chicken wire!!!! Always use 1/4 in hardware cloth. Foxes, dogs, and raptors will go right thru the chicken wire. foxes can climb, so make sure you have any openings secures with the hardware cloth. there are also martins, minks, and weasels who can get thru the smallest openings that you might consider too small. If you have already put up the chicken wire, put up the hardware cloth over it with an electric stapler and 1/2 in staples.
Hi - Thanks.
Not using chicken wire. The coop had a heavy gauge wire on it already and we're covering all of that with hardware cloth. There are lots of different opinions about many things on this board, but it seems everyone is pretty resolute about hardware cloth. So hardware cloth it is!
 

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