NOVICE NEEDS ADVICE

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ELPHABA62, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. ELPHABA62

    ELPHABA62 New Egg

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    Aug 13, 2013
    HELLO ALL...
    FIRST, I AM IN ALABAMA - SOUTH ALABAMA WHERE IT GETS REALLY HOT ( 95-100) IN THE SUMMER (WHICH IS APRIL TO SEPTEMBER) AND COLD TWO DAYS A YEAR ( 28).....I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED CHICKENS AND HAVE FINALLY PREVAILED ON MY HUSBAND TO BUILD ME A CHICKEN COOP AND RUN. IT IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
    HOWEVER I HAVE MANY QUESTIONS AND ASK FOR ADVICE...

    LET ME DESCRIBE MY COOP AND RUN - IT WAS ORIGINALLY MY SON'S "A" FRAME SWING SET MADE OF 4X6 PECKY CYPRESS TIMBERS LEFT OVER FROM CONSTRUCTION OF OUR HOUSE....THE SWING FRAME IS 12' LONG AND THE BASE IS 6' WIDE AND WILL BE ENCLOSED TOP TO BOTTOM WITH CHICKEN WIRE FOR THEIR RUN. THE COOP IS THE ATTACHED "FORT" THAT IS 6'X6' SQUARE ( 36 SQUARE FEET) AND 3' OFF THE GROUND. UNDER THE COOP WILL ALSO BE ACCESSIBLE TO ADD TO THE RUN SQUARE FOOTAGE FOR A TOTAL OF 108' SQUARE FEET IF MY MATH IS CORRECT. HE HAS INSTALLED RAFTERS AND A TIN ROOF AND ENCLOSED IT ON THE NORTH AND EAST SIDES WITH 3/4" PLYWOOD WHILE THE SOUTH AND WEST EXPOSURES ARE ENCLOSED WITH CHICKEN WIRE WITH A OPENING AND WALKWAY FROM THE RUN. HE HAS INSTALLED A DOOR FOR ME TO ACCESS THE COOP AND A DOOR TO ACCESS THE RUN. THERE IS VENTILATION THROUGH THE TOP GAPS BETWEEN THE 2X4 RAFTERS. THERE WILL BE DIRECT SUNLIGHT ON THE WHOLE SHEBANG FROM 10-2 EVERY DAY AND THE REST SHADED BY ADJACENT TREES.

    I AM HOPING TO HAVE 4 CHICKENS.

    HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS AND IF THESE ARE DUMB QUESTIONS PLEASE EXCUSE ME...

    1- DO I HAVE TO LOCK THEM UP AT NIGHT.
    THE COOP AND RUN ARE IN A FENCED 2 ACRE YARD PATROLLED BY TWO LARGE AND GRUMPY ROTTWEILERS SO I AM NOT REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT FOXES, RACCOONS, ETC AS THE DOGS RUN EVERYTHING OFF ( THE ONLY REAL ISSUE WILL BE RATS OR SNAKES THAT GET BY THE DOGS UNSEEN). THE TOP OF THE RUN WILL BE ENCLOSED SO NO AERIAL PREDATORS SHOULD BE ABLE TO ACCESS THE AREA....THOUGHTS??

    2- FEEDER OR SCRATCH FEED - MY HUSBAND WANTS TO TOSS FEED TO THEM EVERY DAY AND LET THEM PECK AROUND BUT I KEEP SEEING ALL THESE FEEDERS......IF A FEEDER WHAT ABOUT INSIDE OR OUTSIDE... HAS ANYONE HAD SUCCESS WITH THE FEEDERS THAT STAND ON LEGS, OUTSIDE....THOUGHTS??

    3- WATER - INSIDE OR OUTSIDE - I AM THINKING OUTSIDE JUST FOR CONVIENANCE AND ACCESS - I DIDNT WANT WATER IN THE COOP SPILLING ON THE FLOOR AND I DID NOT WANT TO HAVE TO DRAG THE HOSE ACCROSS THE YARD EVERY DAY SO I WAS HOPEING FOR A WATERER THAT I COULD FILL UP EVERY OTHER DAY OR SO...HANGING OR ON A STAND - WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH EITHER OR???..... THOUGHTS??

    4-HE WANTS TO INSTALL A LIGHT FOR THE WINTER IN THE COOP - LIKE A HANGING SINGLE BULB THAT WE PUT IN THE PUMP HOUSE FOR THE 2 DAYS A YEAR WE HAVE FREEZING WEATHER.......THOUGHTS???

    THANKS!!!!!!!
     
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    Welcome to Backyard Chickens! There are no dumb questions when you are looking for information!
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    1- DO I HAVE TO LOCK THEM UP AT NIGHT?
    - If you can, do lock them up to make them safer even with your dogs patrolling. Make sure nothing can dig into the run if you can.

    2- FEEDER OR SCRATCH FEED - MY HUSBAND WANTS TO TOSS FEED TO THEM EVERY DAY AND LET THEM PECK AROUND BUT I KEEP SEEING ALL THESE FEEDERS......IF A FEEDER WHAT ABOUT INSIDE OR OUTSIDE... HAS ANYONE HAD SUCCESS WITH THE FEEDERS THAT STAND ON LEGS, OUTSIDE....THOUGHTS??
    - Yes, I used an auto feeder outside of the coop under shadecloth and I just fill it up when it's empty.

    3- WATER - INSIDE OR OUTSIDE?
    - I keep mine outside but inside is fine too. You might have to out a bucket of water out there for the chickens if the water freezes over.

    4- PUT A HANGING SINGLE BULB IN THE COOP?
    - Sure, you can also use it if you need to be in the coop at night or dusk.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  3. Rich386

    Rich386 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 21, 2011
    Live Oak, FL
    FIRSTLY THERE ARE NO DUMB QUESTIONS, BUT THERE MAY BE DUMB ANSWERS !! LOL
    IT IS GREAT FUN TO TOSS OUT FEED FOR THEM BUT IT WASTES A LOT.
    iF YOU LET THEM FREE RANGE AS I DO AND THEIR FEED IS INSIDE THEY COME AND GO TO FEED. YOU CAN MAKE A FEEDER USING THIS IT IS 10 1/2" X 5 1/2" HIGH. NO NEED TO HANG EITHER WATER OR FEED.


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    WATER IS A REAL JOB SO HERE IS MY SOLUTION.

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  4. LoneOak

    LoneOak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2013
    West of Atlanta
    I had a nice big long reply typed out and the power went out just before I hit submit and I lost it.

    No you don't have to lock your birds up at night as long as predators can't get in the coop and run during the day they shouldn't be able to at night. The birds will go inside the coop just before dark and remain there until the sun comes up the next morning.

    You need a standard hanging feeder to go inside your coop where it will remain with feed in it at all times. If you throw them feed all the time in the run you will soon be feeding every rat in the neighborhood with the leftovers the birds don't eat. You certainly don't want rats and mice as they are nasty destructive little pieces of garbage animals. It is fine to throw them a little scratch and feed them fruit and vegetables in the run but don't over do it where food remains on the ground. Start out with a standard feeder from your local feed store and during the first month research everything out there because you will have to get something bigger and the second time you want to make sure it is big enough for six months from now.

    Start with the nipple waters in a bucket and if your on top of your game you will get the horizontal nipples like Rich386 showed you, they are the best thing out there. During the first couple months you can research and build a system to go outside the coop and when you swap over you could use the same nipples in the new system or buy new ones and keep the old bucket for the next batch of baby birds.

    If you read my topic, Brand new Horizontal nipple water system for a really old coop! you will see how I did my system on my old coop, its working great. If you look around in this sub forum you will see tons of topics on the same question "how do I get my chickens to use the nipple waters" or "How do I train my birds to use the nipples", well if you start your birds on the nipples from day one you will never have to ask that question. They just use the closest water and if its nipples they will always use them. Don't put any other water bowls or pans in with them as you have to remove all other water for them to use the nipples successfully.

    Don't be afraid to use the search function in this forum to find answers to your questions, most all of them have already been answered many times and you will get more answers that way. Don't be afraid to Google and Youtube either, you can find everything by googling and learn how to do most of it with a video on youtube, you would be amazed at the number of videos on how to build a feeder or waterer or coop, there's hundreds.

    Good luck and ask the questions if you can't find the answer, someone like me will stay up way to late and try to give you a good answer and help you along the way. By the way using all caps mean your shouting in forum speak, you don't have to holler at us, we ain't deaf yet![​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Southern Oregon
    Welcome!

    I also have dogs patrol my property, so my coop just has a hole to the run, no actual door, so my birds come and go as they please between the two. We have foxes, raccoons, skunks, possums, the usual, and no losses since the dogs learned their job.

    It's good to have a feeder with feed free choice. I follow the KISS method with keeping my birds and try to make as little work for myself as possible. Plus, since I've been ill, we have family and friends caring for the critters frequently and I want it as easy as possible for them. I have a large (I'm not sure how big, the largest one at the Grange) feeder hanging from a rafter in the coop, and a 7 gallon waterer out in the run. Plus, I have a kiddie pool and a black rubber tub for extra water for the ducks, and it's back up for the chickens.

    You can still toss some scratch or something else in the run every day, just to give them something to scratch around for. I think it's good for them to do things like that. I also feed mine all my kitchen, garden and canning scraps.

    You really, really do not need a light for your birds. They acclimate well to the cold, and folks here keep birds in northern New England, Michigan and even Alaska without supplemental heat. The risk of fire is too great. Plus, if your birds are used to a heated coop and not acclimated to the cold, and the power goes out, they're going to have quite a shock from the cold.
     

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