Outgrowing Brooder, and bad habits / questions

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

  1. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    Grit is cheap and easy - will do. I'm sure the feed store will have some (I didn't notice when I was there last week). Good suggestions.
     
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  2. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    Thanks - everyone laughed at me when I built the "coop-dominium", but ... happy chicks, right? Plus it looks awesome on my property.

    This is turning into more than just a little thread, but still all about good habits.

    I love the idea of lights. I have some led puck lights which I purchased for another project - battery operated, have different levels of brightness, change color, and run with a remote control. As I'm an engineer, I'm always looking to automate stuff. Maybe in the not too distant future I'll build an automatic door, which will shut off the led lights when the door closes.

    This leads me to a few questions - I always wondered about light inside the coop - does it mess with their instincts/natural cycles? How long after dark should the lights stay on? Do any colors make a difference? I could go with green light? yellow, purple, whatever.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  3. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Crowing

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    My chickens will not go into their coop if it is dark in there. It is a small concrete building with only one window that faces east - so it is dark in there in the evening. they have been in that coop for 4 years.
    I know this because once I came home after dark and they were all lined up on the ramps outside the coop all set to roost there for the night. The power had gone out during the day and since the lights are on a timer, when the power came back on, the timers were off by about 3 hours. As soon as I turned on the light in the coop, they all came in, walking in single file, got a drink, grabbed a snack and got on the roost. yackity-yack the entire time, telling me that the situation was unacceptable and will not be tolerated again.
     
  4. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    Ok, grit - Mary, you spread it around the edges of the run. That sounds reasonably easy to do. A 25 pound bag of manna pro poultry grit is like $9 bucks. That one includes some probiotics. The specs say it is "designed to be fed with course grains". Is this actually healthy for the young chicks? Are probiotics necessary? I'm sure if I put the grit down on the floor of the run, they chicks will kick it around and stir it... easy enough. Wow, i have so much to learn.
     
  5. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Crowing

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    Don't need the probiotics, but it won't hurt them - just plain ole granite grit is good enough. There were enough small pieces in the bag that I bought 4 years ago, the little ones can find what they wanted - I didn't need to buy chick grit. Think of grit as their teeth - the grit goes into their gizzard - which is basically just a big muscle. The gizzard mashes the food from the crop with the grit and that makes the food pieces small enough to digest.
    I put it in a dish and they just dump the dish and scratch around to find the exact piece that they want. I watched a chicken spend 8 minutes scratching through the grit pile to find a piece that she wanted...
     
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  6. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    Very interesting indeed and great story. I suppose it is worth a try with the light pucks, but I'm not sure I'll need them - In my opinion, I want them to build good habits and head into their coop at night without coaxing. I think they are on the way - after all, it's only been 2 days. If needed, I can keep the light intensity very low, enough for the girls to see in, but not be like daylight.

    Here is a photo of the girls yesterday morning before I opened the door - as you can see, it is very bright after the sun comes up. sunday_morning_IMG_2712.PNG

    Some notes about above: The round 1 1/2" closet rod bar was originally designed as a temporary roost. I was surprised to see the girls on it. I put it there so they could get to the top bars easier (they are young after all). There are 4 longer 2x4's above the closet bars for them to roost on. This gives them over 16 linear feet of roosting bars. I might leave the closet rod there, not sure yet. The water jug is sitting on an old milk crate on stilts ... the stilts keep it above the bedding (which is around 4" deep). It is bungee corded to it so not to tip or move if they jump on it. I really don't want wet bedding in the coop. Yesterday, I put a piece of marine board between the milk crate and the waterer so there are no holes. Easier for the girls to get on and less dangerous for their little feet.

    The camera is cool, it has night vision. Here is an image from early this am showing the updated water stand.
    monday_morning_IMG_2712.PNG
    .
     
  7. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    I have no idea if the color of light matters. I just have mine go off (standard LED bulb, not super bright, just enough that they can see) about 15-20 minutes after dark, just long enough for everyone to find their spot, then lights out. I would use a time frame that works for your flock, youngers might need it on a little longer until they get in the habit. Leaving light on for the whole night would be 'supplemental lighting' which would mess with their systems and encourage them to lay. For people for whom egg production is the priority, they do this to increase laying, but it can shorten the life of the bird by not allowing their bodies to take the time off laying that they would naturally do. Using it for a few minutes to get everyone inside the coop won't hurt them.
     
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  8. coach723

    coach723 Crowing

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    Mine prefer flat roost bars, I use 2x4 or 2x3's turned with the wide side up. And I paint mine, makes them easier to clean and reduces splinters.
     
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  9. EggWalrus

    EggWalrus Free Ranging

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    If they can jump up on a cinder block, Get Rid of the Ramp.
    Just put some blocks there to make them a set of "jump up" steps. It's good exercise for them, encourages wing use and they can't hurt themselves that way. By the time mine are about 4 weeks, half are flying up to get home or jumping from a block, to a bucket and then into their house. When you start to find poo all over their waterer, they are flying up there roosting. Put them a small branch, broom stick or something about a foot of the floor. They will investigate and they will figure it out. :thumbsup
     
  10. higgy62

    higgy62 In the Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2019
    Green Acres, Florida
    good idea!
     
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