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Overwhelmed and Concerned

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jbrookebarrow, May 11, 2011.

  1. jbrookebarrow

    jbrookebarrow Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Baker, FL
    I have my 17 (well, 16 since one got injured and is inside recooperating [​IMG] ) chickies in the cinder block coop and so far everything is okay, but I'm growing more and more concerned that they're not getting enough daylight. I let them out in the morning when I get up and they have freedom to hang out in the fenced in yard (3' chicken wire), and most days I put my Italian Greyhound in there to watch them (he has bad back legs so can't jump over fence), but I'm concerned they're not getting enough time in the sun.

    I work 2-midnight four days per week but have to leave over an hour early due to drive and I don't get home until 1am; hubby works 2pm-2am on a rotating schedule but only leave 15 or 20 min early. I'm afraid to let them roam freely until we're off as there are coyotes, foxes, feral cats, owls, hawks, snakes, etc etc....

    My only other option is to build a big free standing yard for them, and my dad could help once summer gets here (teacher), but I'm worried a few hours outside each day aren't enough. Will they be fine getting limited time outside until the summer? Every day I try to improve their coop a little more, but I'm limited in what improvements I can make.

    What about an XL wire dog kennel (have several) rigged up with hardware cloth all around? It's not a long-term solution, but when they're outside they don't roam over much space anyway, and that would keep . Does the dog kennel seem like a feasible idea? My parents could move them in at night. Thoughts?? [​IMG]

    Thanks in advance [​IMG]
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    MANY BYCers utilize dog kennel panels as a run, with hardware cloth attached to the bottom few feet of it, exactly as you've described. If you put a cover over it, it will deter aerial predators depending on the tensile strength of the cover: bird netting, chicken wire, or hardware cloth, each has its own increasing level of protection.
     
  3. AlabamaChickenLady

    AlabamaChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 4, 2011
    Oak Grove, Alabama
    Are there any windows in the block coop? That would help with sunlight a little bit.

    If it were me... I'd opt for a run area that is secure for what ever is out and about. You could also build a pop door that is operated by a timer to open and close at certain times every day. That way the door would open up to allow them out into the run in the mornings (while you sleep) and then close again at night (after dark & you're at work) to secure them inside. Dog kennels have widely been used as run area's. Just make sure they are sturdy and secure. You could wrap the kennel in a smaller fencing as well to keep out the smaller critters also. I use 1/2" by 1/2" hardwire cloth. But I don't see why just plain chicken wire wouldn't work for you since you already have the strength of the dog kennel to help support and protect.

    If you decide to build a run with the dog kennels.... make sure you secure the bottom of it so nothing can dig it's way inside. This is called an 'apron' and it is basically burying the hard wire or chicken wire under the ground surrounding the run area, so if an animal tries to dig under it... it just runs into the wire and gets discouraged and leaves.

    Hope this helps and good luck.
     
  4. peeplessinNC

    peeplessinNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If windows in the cinder block coop are not possible, what about installing a sky light window in the roof? This would give them more light during the day and protect from predators too. Or, what about changing out the people door for one with glass window panes to let in the light
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  5. fresheggsdaily

    fresheggsdaily Out Of The Brooder

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    May 12, 2011
    Suffolk VA
    Since you've got the dog runs...get them set up. Cover the top....provide some shade food and water and they'll be fine during the day. Something could dig underneath but most likely won't in the daylight as long as the run is close enough to the house and civilization. Keeping them in a dark coop isn't healthy and doesn't promote good laying.
     
  6. jbrookebarrow

    jbrookebarrow Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Baker, FL
    "Runs" would be nice, but these are the portable 3'x3'x4' dog crates. I think I'll rig them to hold just a few at a time and see if my dad will so the ol' switcheroo halfway during the day. I'm also just going to start building a big outdoor run for them and hope I don't screw it up. I mean, I'm a contractor's daughter so I've got some experience and know-how, and if all else fails, I'll pay someone to finish the job. Haha

    I think I've also just decided to try to rehome some of the chicks to thin the flock. I'm extremely overwhelmed with a lot lately and the last thing I need is to be neglectful of the animals. I need a beer.....
     
  7. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Quote:I know how you feel! I work full time, my husband works full time (opposite schedule from me) and we have a 20 month old daughter. I feel like I never have time to work on my coop/run. Sounds like you've earned that beer!

    Are they the folding crates that come apart? If so, you can take them apart and zip tie the panels into a small run until you come up with a permanent solution. The run doesn't have to be very tall for the chickens to get some benefit out of it. I'm using two panels off a folding crate as a cover for our brooder right now, with one side taped to the stock tank and the other side attached with zip ties as hinges.
     
  8. zookeeper15133

    zookeeper15133 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could build a run out of PVC pipe, 2x4's and wire for now. Then reuse the wire for your run when you get it built. there are many on here. If you use a 10' piece of PVC you can make it 6" wide, it will only be about 3' high, but that's enough for them.
    I also saw somewhere, maybe on here, where a guy built an automatic door opener/closer with a car antenna, light sensor and car battery. He had very detailed directions. Google it.
     
  9. jbrookebarrow

    jbrookebarrow Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Baker, FL
    Quote:Was his name MacGyver?? [​IMG]
     
  10. zookeeper15133

    zookeeper15133 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2010
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    Last edited: May 12, 2011

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