Preparing my coop for the first time

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MightyThor, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. MightyThor

    MightyThor In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2016
    Hello! I'm new here, and I recently moved into a property with a pre-existing coop. I wasn't planning on chickens until the spring, but, well, they were so cute and now I have some 5 day olds peeping away in a brooder in my mudroom.

    So, I need to get my coop ready for them. I'm in the Central Oregon high desert where days are quite warm but nights get cold. I'd like to move the brooder to the interior of the coop in a week or so - there is power out there so I can have the heat lamp going.

    I'm offering some pictures here to see what you think I need to do to make this the best possible home for my eight 'starter' chickens!

    One thing I know I will need to do are re-staple the metal mesh over the chicken wire run, and replace a few pieces.

    The floor is linoleum, so I'll put down some kind of bedding in there (I have an entire barn stall filled with pine shavings, so I'll be using those for a while) and straw in the nesting boxes. Do I need additional bedding in the runs?

    I am also wondering about the roosts - they are pretty high up and there are no ladders or ramps. Should I add one, or will the chickens be able to get up there on their own?

    Other ideas about how to spruce up the space?

    And finally, the christmas lights the previous owner left up are almost all burned out so I guess I'll need new ones. :)










  2. jacksun

    jacksun In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2015
    They should be ok with a heatlamp put it in the middle where it won't hit anything, they won't need to go outside for a while. I would think about replacing the chicken wire with hardware cloth on the bottom of the run, use screws and washers that way you can tighten the wire up or move it,
  3. just13nat

    just13nat Chirping

    May 31, 2016
    My Coop
    Talk about move in ready! Replace the chicken wire with hardware cloth, and you're pretty much set. I'd probably disinfect too.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  4. MandalaMaMa

    MandalaMaMa Songster

    Jul 9, 2013
    southern Oregon coast
    Very nice set up. How fun for you. I would add a ladder but you won't need it right away. It will make it easier for them. Maybe position it in front of the nest boxes also. Mine like to use the ladder to get into their nest boxes.
    I personally like to use straw in our run. We live on the Oregon coast and I find it helps with the rainy season and it gives the girls something to scratch in. You can also add some perches out in the run for them to play around on. Get creative -- they will love it.
    Welcome to the chicken world
  5. Wow, just wow! How lucky are you? I agree with the others....clean it out, disinfect and change out the wire. I would start with the wire on the windows. Young chicks are especially vulnerable and chicken wire won't keep the bad guys out. They will eventually need a ladder to the roosts. Maybe a short, two foot or so temporary roost while they are young. You might even want to repaint inside after cleaning out and disinfecting. I used pine shavings at the beginning and now use straw, grass clippings, stall bedding and other stuff for the deep litter method. As you start tweaking it you will find any trouble spots and can deal with them but sheesh, it looks like that won't be much! :)
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  7. MightyThor

    MightyThor In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2016
    Thanks so much, everyone! It's hard to see from the pictures, but there is actually hardware cloth over the windows in addition to the chicken wire, but the staples have pulled out in a few places and it needs tightening back up - thanks for mentioning it since i hadn't noticed! I hope the little ladies love it when they get to move in.

    I also need to decide on how often to let them free range. I've chatted with the previous owner, and she had a couple of her chickens snatched right in front of her by a local golden eagle, and lost a few others to predators. But never when inside the coop. The coop was always a secure place for them, so that is good news.
  8. Leihamarie

    Leihamarie Songster

    Jul 28, 2016
    San Diego
    Holy cow, what a set up!!!! It took me six months to build my coop (NOT a carpenter obviously, lol!!!) and I am still making tweaks basted on my particluar mini-flock's preferences, hahaha!

    Everyone's given great advice so far, just wanted to chime in and say congrats and welcome to to the fun-filled, never a dull moment, awesome world of chickens!
  9. purslanegarden

    purslanegarden Songster

    Aug 10, 2016
    Yea I love moving into a house that has a ready-growing garden or landscape, and you get a chicken coop/run to boot. Nice. I saw some chicken coop/house on YT that was basically designed like a house, but had chickens living in it.

    Chickens will get to their roosts just fine, depending on the variety. Some can just upwards of 10 feet or more, though most roosts aren't that high. Usually you just hear stories like that from people who have their chickens in the barn, and the barn itself was designed for other things but the chickens find ways to roost up on some of the highest places that they can.

    For chicks, they also can roost so you can put lower-hanging perches for them or else, just wait until they can get to the already provided roosts on their own.
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    So Thor, I hate to break this to you, but that coop is never going to work for your birds. Nothing you do can fix it, it's just not going to ever be appropriate housing [​IMG]

    Now, the good news is, I'm heading to Redmond to see my momma next week. I'll happily swing by where ever you're located and take it off you hands. So it doesn't stress you out, you understand [​IMG]. Just being a good chicken neighbor, of course!

    Okay seriously, I don't think you have much to do. Secure wire, etc like you've mentioned. I never disinfect. They're livestock, they happily eat their own poop, I just don't see the reason unless there were sick birds there recently.

    Brooding littles out there should be a piece of cake. For the floor of the coop, I'd use pine shavings. It's my go-to bedding for pretty much everything.

    For the run, you might research deep litter or deep bedding. You don't have so much of a mud issue as I do on the wet side, but they'll devastate the ground in no time. Deep litter will give them something to scratch around in and keep the soil healthier. There are tons of threads about that here.

    do all those windows open, for good ventilation? You may need a bit more, especially if there's not shade there.

    dont' bother putting anything in the net boxes for now. In fact, I'd block them off for the time being. Pullets like to sleep in them, and where they sleep is a powerful habit to break. The problem with sleeping in the nest box is, they poop A LOT while they sleep. If they get used to sleeping in the nest, they'll poop a ton there. And when they start laying, you'll have poopy eggs [​IMG]. Easier just to start them sleeping on the roosts, then open the boxes up with they approach point of lay, say after 4 months.

    I don't use ladders or anything for my roosts. My chicks manage to flutter up to the roosts, about 4 feet high. Even my little silkies make it to the 3 foot high roosts.

    As they grow, put stuff in the run to make it more interesting and increase the space. As it it, all that height is basically wasted space. Get some branches or whatever and run them across for additional roosts. I put in sections of log or branches, things like that. Move them around every so often to give access to the bugs underneath, and just to mentally stir up the flock a little. Give them something to talk about, you know?

    Are you also keeping horses? If so, once they're older, toss some manure in the run and watch the fun. They'll have a heyday scratching around, and it's free!

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