Newbie has some coop questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by broomgal, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. broomgal

    broomgal Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Sand Springs, Oklahoma
    Hi to anyone who wants to tackle some questions!

    I have a nice sized run and a little house inside of it for the chickens. After reading lots of the posts about predators I think I would like to keep the chickens locked inside the little house at night. Is this ok to do? I worry they will be upset if I don't get out their fast enough in the morning!

    Will they be ok locked up until I open the door? My main concern will be raccoons at night and although I have built a solid run I am still a bit nervous about a raccoon skills. Keeping them in the little house would ease my mind a bit..

    Second question: I will need to put a perch in the house- how far should this be off the ground floor?

    Third question: I have 8 hens. 2 are bantams. I should make maybe 3 nesting boxes? Do they tend to use the nesting box only for egg laying and then sleep on the perch or floor?

    Thanks to anyone who can help!
     
  2. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

    Feb 3, 2009
    Hope Mills, NC
    There needs to be 1' roosting space for each standard and I think 10" for each bantam. They should be fine inside the coop at night with ample roosting space. I would make sure that the coop is secure. Racoons are mega smart. I think 2 nesting boxes would be enough, three would be great. Discourage roosting on the boxes, as it makes your eggs dirtier than they would be

    Pics?
     
  3. sillybirds

    sillybirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2008
    California
    Yes, it's OK to lock your hens in the coop overnight, assuming it's large enough (3-4 sq feet per chicken).

    Second, how high you put your roost will depend on how tall you coop is. Basically low enough so they can get up on it, but higher than the nest boxes. Two nest boxes should be enough for your 8 hens. All eight of mine tend to like to use the same nest box. The nest box is only for laying. They like to sleep as high as they can get to feel safer, that's why you put your roosts higher than the nest boxes.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Welcome,
    1- chicken will get used to be locked and no they will not be upset if you did not open the door quickly or early enough, just make sure they have enough food and water inside the coop.
    2 roost should be about 24" to 36" high from ground depends on the breed you got for real heavey breeds like buff may be 24" to 30" will be fine for bantam I think they have no problem what so ever flying up to 4' [​IMG]
    3 nest boxes should be about 18" from ground, and they should be only for laying eggs, not for sleep or poo inside, I always put my boxes on the opposit side of my roost.

    Omran
     
  5. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

    Feb 3, 2009
    Hope Mills, NC
    Quote:IDK Omran, LOL. My bantam babes get awfully loud if I try to sleep in [​IMG]
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:IDK Omran, LOL. My bantam babes get awfully loud if I try to sleep in [​IMG]

    Mine get noisy, too, but I leave them in til about 9 anyway, when I hope the fox and raccoon have gone to bed. It's not like they seem stressed, they just chatter, and start bugging me for treats as soon as I open the door. Lots of people leave them in much longer. And yes, they need food and water in the coop. Or, at a minimum, water.

    Some say 8" of roost space per chicken. They will cuddle anyway. Agree to put roost higher than nest boxes, and agree that 2 are probably enough. Some use a "group" nest box, like, 2 or 3 nests in a row without the dividers. My 4 hens have 3 nest boxes but all use only one. It is not unusual to find 2 in there together. My new flock will have a community nest box. I figure if they are going to gang up anyway, might as well give them some space. With your bunch I would build something like 16" deep by 30" wide by 12-14" high.
     
  7. broomgal

    broomgal Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Sand Springs, Oklahoma
    Thank you all for the info- very much appreciated.

    I know that raccoons are smart and I feel that locking them up would be best at night. Also thank you for the roost and nesting box info- lot's to do tomorrow but it looks like rain [​IMG]

    Right now I am almost done with my coop but not quite so they come in the garage at night. Each night at dusk they are at the run door and are calling for me. I usually put a few in a tall plastic trash can and carry them in to the garage normally having to make 3 trips. Tonight 2 were in the hamper waiting for me, 2 were perched on the top and 2 walked into my hands to be put in- My husband thinks I am crazy to be so happy about that little silliness.
     

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