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One small step for man, one giant leap for chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MountainHens, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. MountainHens

    MountainHens New Egg

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    Hi all,

    I'm new to chickens, and to this forum.

    I've recently become the proud parent of four French Faverolles, three hens and a rooster.

    As you can see from the pic, we've built a hen house that is elevated about 5ft off the ground, complete with a spiral staircase. Inside the roost there is a perch for them to roost on and nest boxes.

    The Hens have mastered the stairs. Usually one goes into the entry but then sits there blocking the others, who then just roost on the top couple of stairs. I've been going every night and putting them all in.

    At first I thought the hole was too small so I widened it. No luck. Then I figured it might be a bit dark inside, so I put a little light inside that comes on for an hour at dusk, just before they start taking themselves to bed. Still no luck.

    I'm out of ideas and hoping some more experienced parents might have some tips.

    Thanks in advance.

    Ryan.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Welcome to BYC...and chicken keeping!

    Maybe it's too dark in there?
    Any windows for light?

    Any ventilation?

    What is your climate?
    Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.

    Curious why the coop is up so high?
     
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My money is on inadequate ventilation.

    Out of curiosity, however do you clean that little coop?
     
  4. liz72703

    liz72703 Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree with the others that your coop doesn't have enough ventilation. Another observation looking at your picture... your steps look like roosting bars. Your chickens may think so too.
     
  5. MountainHens

    MountainHens New Egg

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    Jan 15, 2016
    Thanks for the replies.

    The hen house is up high as an added deterrent for pests, predators and because it's based on a traditional design I liked.

    On the front side there's one 1.25" hole at the top under the eve, and 3 x 1.25" holes on the back side (which you can't see from this shot) - combined with the entry hole which is about 10" x 12" it seems to provide plenty of ventilation. The hen house is also oriented such that the prevailing breeze cuts across it at 45°so as to create a natural circulation without being too drafty.

    For cleaning and egg collection, there is a hatch door at the back which is the full width of the hen house.

    We live in the Blue Mountains just outside Sydney, Australia. We're at about 700m/2100ft altitude. Winter's are cool with average daytime highs of about 12°C (55°f) and nightime lows of about 0°C (32°f). Summers nights average about 15°C (60°f) and days about 25°C (80°f) but can reach 35°C (95°f) or more. So you can see it varies a bit and we've tried to make it cool enough for summer, warm enough for winter.

    They all seem to want to go in, the problem is the first hen usually just sits in the doorway and blocks the others.

    Look forward to hearing more from you all.

    Ryan.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    Are there roosting bars inside?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Would like to see the inside.....nest and roost.

    Thinks you need more ventilation....might want to put a thermometer in there to see what the temp is.....
    .....and to increase light inside too so they can see.

    What are the dimensions?
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    [​IMG]

    I'd also wonder about the roost set up inside. I've only had a few Faverolles, but they don't seem as, well, athletic as other breeds [​IMG]. They need more space for take off to get onto a roost, and mine don't prefer to roost as high as my other birds. I'm thinking the roosts are too close to the ceiling, or the wall, or not enough space for vertical lift-off.

    Are they going in there to lay eggs?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  9. MountainHens

    MountainHens New Egg

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    It's approx 0.9 metres (3ft) wide, 1.5 metres (5ft) long and 1.1 metres (4ft) high. There are two roosting bars inside, about 0.3 metres (1ft) off the floor. They haven't started laying yet, apparently any day now.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Oh, larger than I thought.

    I find it intriguing and would like to see more pics from different angles to see how it is supported.
    A pic of the inside might help to figure out why they aren't going in.

    But back to your question....are your birds young?
    I believe you said you recently acquired them and it could just be that they are not used to the new environment.
    Chickens take some time to get used to new things, so I'd suggest just keep putting them in there and eventually they will probably figure it out.
     
    1 person likes this.

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