Should we move our coop or build a new one?

citychicks99

Chirping
Aug 20, 2021
90
70
78
Seattle, WA
We built a small chicken coop for our two birds. I think it's about 5'x8'. We used chicken wire on both sides and the front and I prop open their door during the daytime. I used old pea vine doors and put it around the coop for a small run and put more chicken wire on the top to prevent any predators from taking them from above.

I recently found rat droppings in their coop. I don't know how they're getting in. I cut up a cat scat mat and surrounded the coop with it but they're still getting in. I read that they can dig underground. Or they could probably be climbing up through the chicken wire. I'm wondering if we should move the coop to a cemented area in our backyard so that rats can't dig in. But I'm also wondering if we should rebuild it with hardware cloth to avoid any climbing in through the holes. We also didn't think about building them a perch so I'm wondering if they might want that. I'm currently doing the deep litter method because I thought it would provide insulation for them during the winter but now I'm wondering if the rats love that because they can hide in it and stay warm. It can get kind of cold here, below 35F so I don't know if they'll need a heat lamp. If they do, we'll need a long extension cord or it might be easier if we move the coop closer to the house.

I looked into the treadle feeder but it doesn't seem worth it for two chickens. I also don't know if the bantam chicken will be able to open it. I have been leaving food and water in their coop because sometimes I'm not around to open it for them on the weekends in the early morning and my brother can sleep in as late as 11AM. I don't know why it's been so difficult to find a good chicken water bottle for them that doesn't leak. Does anybody have any recommendations on the waterer and/or ideas on the coop? Thanks!
 

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3KillerBs

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So.... I'd build a new coop with everything you've learned, and abandon that one (for now). When you get the time, replace the chicken wire walls with hardware cloth, and use it as a quarantine/injured bird/fresh batch of chicks pen.

I agree. Build a new coop with 1/2 hardware cloth on all openings and an anti-dig skirt. Then, at a convenient time, remodel the current coop to solve the inevitable chicken math problems that will come up at some point.

For now, here's a way to give your chickens a quick and easy perch -- all you need is some kind of board and a couple concrete blocks:

0917211607.jpg
 

citychicks99

Chirping
Aug 20, 2021
90
70
78
Seattle, WA
Thanks for all the responses! I'll have to think about this new coop. We may get more chickens next year so keeping the old coop could be useful.

Do you guys know what time chickens generally get up and will need food and water? I woke up to check their crop around 5AM once and they were still roosting. I think maybe 6AM may be a good time to let them out for food and water without risking getting into contact with pests who like to scavenge in the dark?
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Thanks for all the responses! I'll have to think about this new coop. We may get more chickens next year so keeping the old coop could be useful.
I agree that a new coop would help with all the concerns you have. Build it so there's no openings of any kind larger than 1/2", and plan to add an apron, and that will keep rats out.

Also 35F is NOT cold - absolutely do not add a heat lamp. It's a big fire risk. Chickens can easily survive below freezing as long as they have dry, draft free shelter.

As far as the water issue, what are you currently using for water? I've never had a leakage issue with waterers.
Do you guys know what time chickens generally get up and will need food and water? I woke up to check their crop around 5AM once and they were still roosting. I think maybe 6AM may be a good time to let them out for food and water without risking getting into contact with pests who like to scavenge in the dark?
Chickens can adjust to your schedule, there's no need to let them out at 5 or 6 AM. I have an auto door and even then it doesn't open until 7:45 AM, so they can get water. They don't get any food until around 9:00 AM as I put away all food at night to deter rodents from setting up shop.
 

citychicks99

Chirping
Aug 20, 2021
90
70
78
Seattle, WA
I agree that a new coop would help with all the concerns you have. Build it so there's no openings of any kind larger than 1/2", and plan to add an apron, and that will keep rats out.

Also 35F is NOT cold - absolutely do not add a heat lamp. It's a big fire risk. Chickens can easily survive below freezing as long as they have dry, draft free shelter.

As far as the water issue, what are you currently using for water? I've never had a leakage issue with waterers.

Chickens can adjust to your schedule, there's no need to let them out at 5 or 6 AM. I have an auto door and even then it doesn't open until 7:45 AM, so they can get water. They don't get any food until around 9:00 AM as I put away all food at night to deter rodents from setting up shop.
What's an apron?

For water, I'm currently using the first one but it can hold a gallon of water. I was leaving it out at night to keep their coop dry but I'm not home on the weekends sometimes and my brother wouldn't wake up until as late as 11am. I think one of them was having some dehydration issues so I started leaving the waterer in the coop but it has bad spillage issues, even with a large pan underneath. I just ordered this rabbit water bottle that I can hopefully leave in there so they can get water when they need it when I'm not around and hopefully, rats won't be able to get water from it. I've tried other bottles and they leaked. I even tried making my own but it was leaking. Hopefully this one works well.

Ok, good to know! No heat lamp then. I am usually up around 5 or 6 but when it starts getting light out should be a reasonable time to let them out. I think it's about 7am right now.
 

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