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put new chickens out in temporary run, or not?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by patandchickens, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi everyone, I am new to this forum and entirely new to chickens. Two days ago I rather unexpectedly came home with 3 point-of-lay pullets at the feed store (one actually did produce an egg yesterday!). I was originally signed up to recieve them in late May but apparently they cancelled that and rolled me into the April order without bothering to tell me, so I hadn't built anything yet and am really playing catch-up here :p

    I plan on constructing a 4x6 mobile ark type thing with a 3x4 house above it (is that an ok size?), but right now the chickens are living in a 4x6' indoor dog run in a disused outbuilding since we have nowhere else ready for them. The chickens seem to be adjusting ok, but I feel bad that they can't yet go out and sit in the sun and eat bugs and stuff.

    So I was thinking... we have some 'spare' chainlink dog run panels, about 5' high by maybe 8-10' long (all this dog stuff came with the property, we have no dog at present). I could join several panels together to make a pen on the grass outside the back door of the building. The thing is, the way things are set up, the only way to get the chickens out there would be for me to hand-carry each one there in the a.m. and catch them and hand-carry them back into the indoor run in the p.m. They'd only have to be carried thru the building, not outdoors, so I don't think escape would be an issue, but I am wondering if this would be too stressful for them??

    (If it matters, they are some sort of generic red sex-link hybrid, presumably from a big supplier as two of the three are pretty seriously debeaked [sigh]... they come via the local feed store... they are not super frightened or anything, and after a while will come over and eat at their feeder despite me sitting near it, but they are a bit skittish about being approached and reached down at [although at least in the 4x6 run they are easy to catch and don't seem *too* stressed out about it]. )

    It may be a week or more before we get their more-permanent home built (concievably *much* more, as I am pregnant with a due date in mid-May and you never know about these things [​IMG]). If putting them out during the daytime would improve their quality of life I would be happy to do it, but OTOH if it will just make them miserable or people-shy then obviously I shouldn't. I *completely* do not know enough about chickens to know which is which. So, what do you think?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  2. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    First of all, Congratulations on your upcoming motherhood!! And congratulations on your sudden chick motherhood as well!

    I would think that if you always have some bread or other treat to give them when you catch them that the extra handling could actually make them more tame. And have a special treat already in place where you are taking them, either out in the run or inside at night. Be sure, of course, that they have plenty of food and water in both places. Some of whether or not they will settle down depends on their breeding. Some birds, even of the same breed, will settle and others never will. All you can do is try.
     
  3. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    What do you have in the way of predator proofing until your coop is built ?
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    You asked about predator-proofing...

    I think they should be ok for now -- the building containing the indoor dog-run is a really nice concrete-floored insulated newer building that was a dog boarding kennel before we moved here, and I am convinced that the only thing that could get in is *maybe* mice. No holes or openings, and I close the screened windows at night.

    If I put the chickens outdoors in a 5' high chainlink panel pen during the day, I *think* they should be fine vs cats/dogs/coyotes/foxes, right? (Actually the area that this pen would be in is itself surrounded by permanent 5' chainlink fencing). Weasels and raccoons wouldn't hunt during daylight would they? I've certainly never seen them out in the day. Hawks I suppose could be a problem but could/wood they stoop down into such a small pen? I guess I could string lines of rope across the top if that would be worthwhile to discourage them.

    Once we build an ark/tractor thingie and are moving the chickens around the lawn and garden, they will have to be shut into the upper 'house' part of it at night, partly so as not to tempt coons and coyotes into testing the strength of the wire mesh on the 'downstairs', and partly because we certainly do have weasels around here. (By and large I am all in favor of weasels - anything that eats mice is a hero in my book! - I just don't want them getting at the chickens!)

    Does that seem adequate?


    Pat
     
  5. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    San Marcos, TX
    Sounds good !

    I am predator paranoid btw, can you tell ?
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Update: thanks to BeckyLa's encouragement, we did build the chainlink pen over the weekend (it's actually about 16'x16', as it turns out) and put the chickens out during the daytime... and it has worked wonderfully. The chickens seem to like it now that they've gotten used to the 'outdoors' concept, and they are VERY rapidly becoming MUCH tamer. One is still somewhat skittish to catch to bring in at the end of the day, but one is calm about it and the other one actually follows me around whenever I'm in the pen and seems to *want* to be petted and paid attention to. So I think this will work fine until we finish getting the tractor-type thing built.

    Thanks very much!

    Pat
     

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