Obsessing over nestbox and feed placement - help!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Moselle, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Moselle

    Moselle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dh said he wants to get started on the coop this weekend, so I'm obsessing about getting the plans absolutely perfect! :eek:

    First of all, please tell me to relax, that there is no such thing as the perfect coop, and that the hens will find our henhouse/tractor just lovely.

    Second, I noticed in one small henhouse photo, two nest boxes had been placed on top of each other - one on the floor and one right on top of it. If both of these were below the level of the roost, would this be a fine arrangement for nest boxes? I worry because so many have said that the nest boxes should be at least a foot above the floor, but below the roost. The henhouse itself will be a couple feet above ground level.

    I'm also obsessing about feed/water. On the one hand, I'd like to keep the feed outside since the henhouse is small (15 sqft and growing). I'm assuming they'll really only be inside at night. On the other hand, I've heard you shouldn't let your hens go without constant access to food and water. But what if they get fussy in the mornings and want food/water at 6am and we're not up yet to let them out? So I thought I could get a small waterer and small feeder for inside the coop and larger ones for outside the coop. But is that just stupid? Should I just put all their feed/water inside?

    Can you hear the panic? Someone, please, slap me out of this!
     
  2. skatcatla

    skatcatla Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2007
    Relax, there's no such thing as a perfect coop, your hens will find it lovely. [​IMG]

    I debated on whether to put the feed and water inside or outside as well, because like you I have a small henhouse (4x5). I ended up deciding to keep it inside, and I just slide the feeder/waterer under the nest boxes (they fit perfectly).

    I'm really glad I did, because I used to keep them outside in the run exposed to the elements and the water got dirtier and would evaporate much more quickly, and I was constantly having to throw feed away because it got wet from rain and dew. Kept inside, I don't have to refill feed/water nearly as often.
     
  3. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    LOL I think most of us not growing up with chickens get like that ((at least I did))

    I have found most chickens are happy with what we give them!
    The most important thing is they are safe from preditors!!!

    I fix things one way & usually come up with a different way I think would work better! It is very good that the Lord has Blessed me with an understanding husband! (he is my capenter)

    So relax!

    do you have chickens coming?

    if so what kind?
     
  4. HobbyChickener

    HobbyChickener Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2007
    central KY
    Stop .... Breathe .... Relax

    Now a bird will live in a barrel and you will never hear it complain (our pet roost stays in one by the back door when he isn't roaming the land). What ever you do will be the best they have ever had [​IMG] so do what ever works for your habits.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Yeah, what everyone else said. Relax, it will all work out fine [​IMG]

    The only reasons I know of for keeping the nestboxes off the floor are a) if you have hens that have trouble grasping the concept of where they're supposed to lay, and maybe b) if you have a really dirty floor and don't want pooey bedding kicked into the nest boxes. I have to say that neither of these things has ever applied to my girls and a nestbox on the floor has worked just fine. I'd suggest trying the arrangement you mention. If it doesn't work then you can change it, right?

    Personally I really think there should be water, at least, inside the coop (or shelter part of tractor) if you're ever going to be locking the chickens in for the night. That way you do not HAVE to rush outside at the first pink of dawn. I think water is more important than food. For a small number of chickens it is ok to have it jammed into a corner (accessible only from 2 sides, not all the way around) which will save you some space.

    I should see if I can take a photo of the little wall-mount waterer I made for my tractor - it's not there now and the tractor is inaccessibly packed into the garage anyhow, but let me see what I can do. It doesn't hold much but takes up less space than the white-and-red plastic ones.

    No matter WHAT you do, your birds will love it, and you WILL find a couple of things you need to tweak once the system's been in operation for a little while, I promise, so do not be obsessing about perfection, ok? [​IMG]

    Have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    I've got the same issue of having a small coop, but I didn't want to not have water/food available all the time, either. So, I ended up buying a small feeder & waterer, and suspending them from the ceiling. They stay much cleaner, AND the chickens can still almost walk under them (squatting), so it sort of seems like they have more room.

    I have a feeder & waterer outside, too, and the feed was getting really icky from rain, etc., so my brother rigged me up what we call the "redneck feeder" - it's a 1/2 of a plastic 55-gallon drum with 3 holes drilled at the top end; then, flipped over, and with 3 pieces of binder twine tied in the holes, then tied together at the top, and suspended over the feeder. It ain't pretty, but thus far, NO water in it!
     
  7. Pelican49

    Pelican49 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Oklahoma
    Interesting questions regarding the feed and water especially. My area is VERY hot in summer. I've, of course, read all kinds of contradicting opinions. One of which was, if water is kept inside, it will make the coop more humid, therefore bad, so keep water outside. Feed, on the other hand, if kept outside, will attract wild birds which is a bad thing. I'm so confused!

    I did see a comment on one of the threads I found very interesting. Using a magnetized dog door for the chickens pop door. It would keep out mice for sure, maybe snakes. Will the chickens actually push open a dog door? I dunno.
     
  8. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
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    I've never seen wild birds in my chicken feed, but that's a good point. I'll have to watch for that. I do have a chicken wire "roof" over the top of my run, but I know a sparrow could fit through that.

    My coop doens't seem to get humid, but we accidentally left quite a large gap at the edge of the roofline (which I blocked out with one of those noodles the kids play in the water with for the winter.)

    Not sure if a chicken would use a magnetized door or not, but I have plastic overlapping strips on my pophole door, and they learned to use it fairly quickly. It keeps the drafts out.
     
  9. Moselle

    Moselle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2008
    Oh thank you everyone [​IMG] I think I've figured out how to arrange the space so that I can fit the feeder and water inside with double-decker nestboxes and plenty of roosting space. I haven't even ordered my chicks yet. [​IMG]

    It's a small order from Meyer (just 6 chicks - RIR, BO, Australorp, EE, Delaware, and BR - the "rainbow flock") - I've "sort of" put in an order; they know what I want and now I'm just waiting for them to call and let me know when they'll be able to ship. I'm hoping for mid-late Feb. We should have plenty of time then to build the coop/run by the time the chicks are ready to stay outside.

    My plan will likely change by morning [​IMG], but so far I think it'll work.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    I found my small waterer for inside the tractor:

    [​IMG]

    It's made from a brown, 29 cent thrift store juice(?) container with part cut away, and a plastic water bottle held in place by a strong rubberband [​IMG] I don't know if it's clear enough from the picture, but the bottle is adjusted so that its open end is hovering about 1" above the bottom of the brown bowl part.

    To fill it, you remove the whole thing (brown outer housing and all) from the tractor, tip it upside down (over the grass, since whatever water is in the bowl portion will spill out), then remove and fill the water bottle. Then you can turn it upside down again -- adjust the height of the water bottle so the rim of the bottle is just below where you want the water to come up to in the brown bowl part.

    It works like the 'normal' vacuum style chicken waterers that most people have -- when they drink the level in the bowl down below the opening of the bottle, a small 'glurk' of water comes up to refill the bowl til the bottle rim is once again submerged.

    I mounted it in the tractor by drilling a small hole near the top of the back (tall) part of the brown housing, and hanging it on a small picture-hanger on the tractor wall, with a little tiny shelf below that the bottom rests on. This keeps it from swinging and swivelling if the chickens bump into it.

    Doesn't hold a lot of water, but it isn't really meant to -- is just an 'emergency backup' for if they get thirsty before I've let them out. Good for just a few chickens.

    Pat
     

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