Outgrowing Brooder, and bad habits / questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by higgy62, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Yes but the edges may still be sharp and toenails could get caught in it...and once it's packed with poop impossible to scrape 'clean'.

    This sounds like the best plan. Mine are just plain wood, a bit slick, but they don't mind sliding a bit if there's cleat to stop the motion. Reducing the angle will help with sliding too, just put that block tall-wise, they can jump the 16", or put another next to it, laying down, for a step.
     
  2. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    Thanks Mary - I reintroduced her back into the group - as the brooder was still in the run, it wasn't an issue with acceptance - with more space, she was able to get away from the other girls when she felt threatened quickly and easily. After watching the girls for a while this weekend, I believe the culprit was one of the lavenders (who my grandson calls snowball).

    I'm happy to say that all the girls are now healthy and there doesn't seem to be any more picking on, plus, the tail feathers are growing back nicely.
     
  3. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    It was a good weekend - Friday night, I took the ramp down, and purchased some rubberized anti-slip paint (the stuff they use on tool handles) from Home Depot. I sanded and re-painted the ramp and it is now sitting on a second cinder block.

    The angle is not as steep and the girls were much more curious Saturday morning when I introduced it back and removed the brooder from the run. They walked up and down a few times and peeked their heads through the coop door.

    After spending 4 evening "herding baby chicks", which sounds a lot easier than it really is, I am happy to say they now go up themselves at dusk and enter the coop for the night. But, they were locked into their coop each night so they could get used to it, and know that was "their safe place" to sleep.

    I know, instincts... but they are only 6 weeks old, and I really wanted to start them off with good habits.

    A few observations: They ALL huddled at the top of the ramp on Saturday evening - they were very reluctant to enter the coop. I coaxed them (ok, I pushed them in) and after a little bit of time, they settled down inside. I have a web-cam inside the coop and noticed that ALL 12 were huddled right under the coop door. Sunday morning, they were happy to move around, and actually started to perch on some of the lower bars. When I opened the coop door Sunday morning, they were very happy to exit and play in the run.

    During the week, I made up some treats (which I am still using very minimally). It was a bag of happy hens dried mealworms, and some dried corn and some oats. I realize that the pieces are probably too big for the 6-week olds, so I ground the corn and oats up into smaller pieces. Now, after only three days of greeting them and saying "hi girls, want some treats?".. they all come running. Yeah, little dinosaurs, go figure.

    Anyway, Sunday, I put some treats inside the coop during the day. Two of the girls actually discovered these, happily jumped through the coop door and gobbled them up. Shortly before dark, I added some more treats to the coop, and gave the girls another treat.

    Dusk came (as it does each day) and all but 1 of the girls hopped right into the coop by themselves. No coaxing needed. Snowball was the last one to enter, but she finally went in .. it was almost pitch black outside. so I shut the door and there was minimal fussing.

    Interestingly, when I checked the coop-cam, the girls were all huddled by the door again, but this morning, they were playing about as usual. I opened the door, and all came parading out.

    My goal is still to leave the coop door open at night, but for now, I'll keep closing it. Im sure it is not an issue if they don't actually sleep in the coop - the run is safe, but I do want them to get into that habit.

    Also, take note, there is water and food in the coop. When the girls wake in the am, they go right for the water. The water is secure and can't spill, so the bedding will stay dry.

    I want to thank everyone for their great advise so far. Although my kids are not new to this (and they are training me), I am new to the homesteading side of it.
     
  4. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    Wire mesh removed, rebuilt ramp with sanded wood, and new anti-slip paint. Seems to work fine now.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Great!


    Are you providing some granite digestive grit along with those treats?
    http://www.jupefeeds-sa.com/documents/GraniteGrit.pdf.
    I bought about a 2 gallon bag of granite grit from the local mill, they put it in their chicken scratch. Ran it thru a colander with 1/16" holes. Bagged the smaller stuff for the chicks and sprinkle some over a chunk of sod in the brooder during the second week.
     
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  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    I buy chick sized grit at a local pet store, where it's sold in bulk for dirt cheap. I only use it for the chicks, so never need a huge bag. I spread it around the edge of the brooder and coop section where the chicks are, and it's fine.
    Mary
     
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  7. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    Humm grit. I checked out the granite grit - interesting idea for the little ones - I don't think I need that. I'm here in South Florida, and the chicken run is made mostly of very sandy soil, with pine chips on top. They stir it up and I see them feasting on the sand. Do I still need to add grit?
     
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  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I would.
    Sand is too fine.
     
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  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    Grit is cheap, and cheap insurance, so buy some.
    Mary
     
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  10. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    To help encourage them to go inside at dusk, use a flashlight, LED lantern, etc inside the coop. I have an LED lightbulb on a timer that turns on before dusk, and off again once everyone has time to get inside. You can do it manually yourself with the flashlight or lantern, they are less reluctant to go into a box if they can see in there. Just put it in there before dusk, and go back out and turn it off after dark or when they are all inside. I find it easier to train the littles this way, and my olders go in with less fuss and traffic jams too, so I just do it all the time. You have a nice set up!
     
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