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Putting my girls in the coop in 2 weeks questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FireGurl26, May 10, 2016.

  1. FireGurl26

    FireGurl26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2016
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    Hello. My girls are 4 weeks old today. I will be putting out in the coop with attached run at 6wks old. I have a Quaker style coop 5x6. Has roosts, seperate area to clean out underneath that you can access from the back and an area that has 6 nesting boxes. Basically a wood frame that seperates each box that can be removed. So, my question is...should I remove the nest boxes frame until they are old enough to lay. I just don't want them to learn to sleep in the nest boxes. I figure if they learn this early they may not lay in the nest boxes later on. I want to try and train them to use the roosts to sleep. If i remove the nest boxes frame I still have that area where they can hide or sleep but no nest boxes. Just empty floor space. Should I just block that whole area off with some wood paneling or should i leave it open to them for right now while they are young. Then replace the nest box frame back in when they get close to laying age? I just don't want to give them bad habits now and have to fix it when they get older, lol. Any feedback would be of great help.

    Nesting boxes frame on right side of pic, bottom. opposite the roosts.

    [​IMG]

    Outside where the nest boxes jut out from the main floor

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I blocked my nest boxes off with a piece of plywood when I first put my gals in the coop at 6 weeks of age, but I took it out once the saw they all preferred roosting which was a couple of days after I put them in the coop. I think they pretty much roost automatically whether you block it off or not. If I were in your shoes I'd block the boxes for a day or so to see what they do, and once you confirm they're roosting you could open the boxes back up.
     
  3. FireGurl26

    FireGurl26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2016
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    Thanks, I will do that.
     
  4. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You were smart to put your nest boxes low like that. They tend to like to roost as high as possible, so as long as the lowest roost is higher than the nest boxes, you should be okay. But just for safe measure while they are so young, I would block them off until they lay. No need to have them develop a bad habit if you can prevent it.

    For that size of a coop, you should only need 2 nest boxes. How many birds do you plan to have in there?
     
  5. FireGurl26

    FireGurl26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2016
    U.P. Michigan
    I have 6 RIR pullets currently. I may get 6 more later on. The coop we bought was Amish made, so it came with 6 nest boxes. Thanks for the input.
     
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't put more than 4-6 full size chickens in there, if I were you. That run also looks way too small. Most of the pre-built or pre-designed coops are adorable, but they tend to grossly overstate how many chickens you can put in them. The standard rule of thumb is 4 square feet per bird in the coop and 10 square feet per bird for the run. Assuming they don't have several hours each day to roam free on your property (or at least a much bigger additional fenced run). Currently you have 5 square feet per bird in your coop (this is good!) and I am guessing about 6 square feet per bird in your run (I'm guessing on the photo that your run is about 7x5 feet), which is not nearly enough room for the run. Or is the run much bigger than the picture shows? Overcrowding can lead to a host of issues all related to stress: poor health, fighting, few to no eggs, prone to illness and in extreme cases, cannibalism.

    Here is a wonderful article on how much space to have for your chickens:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

    It would be easy enough to just keep your coop/run just as it is and simply build an additional larger attached run that opens up to to your smaller run.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    I hope those windows aren't the only ventilation. If it's warm enough, and they are mostly feathered, you can move them out now.
     
  8. FireGurl26

    FireGurl26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2016
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    Yah I have a 30 sq. ft. coop(5x6)..run is 6ft by 8ft by 6ft. They have about 35 acres to free-range on...lol. I am keeping them in the coop and run for a couple weeks just to get them used to their home before i set them loose. If i get more i will add to what i have currently.
     
  9. FireGurl26

    FireGurl26 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2016
    U.P. Michigan
    We're looking at snow up here Saturday, so i am gonna wait till at least they are 5 weeks old. I have em in my garage currently in a brooder/grow up pen. No, those aren't the only ventilation....there is also 2 long vents behind the roost bars that you can open or close and lock. I also mounted a small fan in the coop. We really don't get that hot up here...but the girls will have access to outside anyways.
     
  10. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds good then...still a tad small for the attached run, but considering they have plenty of space to free roam, I don't think they'll mind!


    Very good point. It's hard to tell from the photo, but I don't see any vents other than those two windows. The windows are big but not placed in a way to move air from the bottom of the coop up out through the edges of the roof, to move ammonia out. Stagnating ammonia air can be deathly toxic to birds (and humans, too). Too little space and poor ventilation is common in the pre-built coops. Here's yet another good article on ventilation:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop
     

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