Newbie here, looking for your seasoned help

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by YankeyPrepper, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. YankeyPrepper

    YankeyPrepper Hatching

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    Hi everyone!

    So, I decided to jump into having chickens. Here is my background:

    We have six pygmy goats in a roughly 100x40 pen with 4' fencing. I am extending it to be about another 100' wide extending just into the woods.

    I built the standard Purina (free plans) coop with some minor modifications (higher perches, lower nesting boxes). The coop is in the unfenced in portion of the goat pen addition with a nice amount of 3' chicken wire around it temporarily until the full 4' fence is completed (the posts are in). The idea is that the goats and chickens will ultimately share the pen.

    My chicks are about 10-14 weeks old now. I have not clipped their wings and do not have poultry netting. If it isn't obvious, they leave the 3' fenced area and peck around in the tree line that the back of the pen (actual and extension) is in. They seem to stay nearby, so, at this time, I am not too concerned about that as I was when they first "escaped." They LOVE the goats and the goats have no problem with them. Heck, they ride on them and sleep with them through out the day. They seem to be GREAT pen mates naturally. If it seems to get out of control, I may decide to clip wings, but they are good so far in not roaming to far.

    So, here are my questions:

    (1) The chickens do NOT go into their coop at night. I often find them sleeping in a pile on the highest goat deck (there are three levels, connected with upward ramps to each level we built for the goats long back). Tonight, I found them IN the goat shed sleeping with the goats. I carry each of them and put them in the coop and they seem to settle in nicely there. (I am surprised how they go into a trance/stupor once they are all piled in for the night to sleep, but it makes them very easy to roundup). This has been going on for about a week. Not sure what else I can do to get this pattern developed. The coop is clean and free of critters. I let them out every morning, never any later than 7am. Thoughts on this?

    I don't mind them sleeping with the goats or on the ramps, but wonder about (1) their safety and (2) will they lay eggs anywhere they want when the time comes?

    (2) They still sleep in piles in the nesting boxes. Is this normal for their age? About when will they take to the perches for sleeping?

    (3) They really don't seem to go through much feed. I mean, I do see them pecking at it, but it seems to last quite a while. I also throw out a few handfuls of scratch in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon as well. Are they finding that much to eat in the goat pen, woods, etc.?

    I am really having a lot of fun with them, way much more than I expected. Definitely the goat interactions are very fun to watch.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas here.

    Many Thanks!!
    Nick
     
  2. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster

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    My chickens are 9 weeks old and they have been roosting for a few weeks but we got them in late a few nights ago and found then sleeping in a pile because they were cold.

    I don't think that sleeping with the goats is a problem and I am guessing the goats eat the chicken poop but it would probably be safer at night if they roosted in a creditor proof house.

    They will lay their first few eggs were ever they are and this is a good time to introduce them to the next boxes. Personally I would close the nest boxes until they start to lay to discourage them from using it for anything other than egg laying because it helps them "learn" what the nests are for and keeps your eggs for getting broken and/or dirty. Meanwhile provide a nice wide perch for roosting and make sue the perch isn't to high. Our chicks fly pretty well but they don't seem to like too in an enclosed area after we lowered the perch to 10" off the floor and they took to it immediately. well, actually, they fought and screeched and pecked for the first three night but since then it's calmed down some.

    My chicks eat about 1/2 the amount of feed when they are outside all day then they did in the brooder They do drink way more water though. If yours are active, healthy and gaining weight I wouldn't worry.

    I hope this helps while we wait for the more experienced amoung us to respond!
     
  3. YankeyPrepper

    YankeyPrepper Hatching

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    Jun 4, 2012
    Thanks for sharing! I did see them getting into the feed today, and, yeah, they are growing well and seem very healthy.

    Perfect sense on the nesting boxes, I will block them off today.
     
  4. RonC

    RonC Songster

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    If they are allowed to free range they will get quiet a bit of nutrition that way. Some recommend locking them in the coop for a few days to familiarize them to where home is. Having a Purina coop myself I wouldn't recommend it due to it's size. Just keep putting them in at night or build an escape proof run around the coop and confine them to it for a while till they start going to bed in the coop.
     
  5. n8ivetxn

    n8ivetxn Songster

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    I have a mini-coop for newcomers and young ones. When I bring them home, I put them in it at night and block the door closed. Do it for a couple of nights and that's all it takes!

    [​IMG] and have fun with the chicks! - It's more fun than I thought!
     
  6. YankeyPrepper

    YankeyPrepper Hatching

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    Jun 4, 2012
    Ah, yes, great idea. That might do the trick and not too difficult to add poultry netting (to their temp fencing) so they can't fly out.
    Think I know what I'll be doing this weekend :)
     
  7. n8ivetxn

    n8ivetxn Songster

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    Now you're thinking like a true chicken conasure :)
     
  8. YankeyPrepper

    YankeyPrepper Hatching

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    Jun 4, 2012
    And yeah, a whole lot more fun than I thought. Especially watching them hitch rides with the goats! It will never get old.
     
  9. n8ivetxn

    n8ivetxn Songster

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    [​IMG]Nice!
     

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