Should we move our coop or build a new one?

citychicks99

Chirping
Aug 20, 2021
90
70
78
Seattle, WA
An anti-dig apron is 18-24" of hardware cloth laid flat on the ground to prevent digging predators from getting into the coop.

Alternately, you can trench 12" down on the outside of the coop wall and install a foot of wire vertically in the ground.
Thank you! Will the apron bother the chickens? It looks like they enjoy digging holes in the coop too.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,842
35,710
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
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.
Glad the others already posted good examples of how an apron works.

As far as the water, I don't know if chickens will use a rabbit water bottle (maybe they can, but those types of waterers can still be drippy). The first waterer you posted should work ok, though do you have it sitting on something, or hanging? Hanging may cause spills as it swings around. Otherwise, not sure what the issue could be (maybe just poorly made?)

Alternatively, something as simple as a cat bowl or dog bowl would also work if you just want to make sure they have water inside on weekends. Or once you build a new coop, instead of worrying about water inside you might want to consider adding an auto door so you don't have to worry about when your brother gets up to let them out (though even with an auto door it's best to check whenever you are home that the chickens are reliably let out and back in each day).
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,013
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New Zealand
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!
Treadle feeders may be pricy, but they make up for it with lack of wastage. We had a pretty big issue with rats and within a week of adding the treadle feeder, they were all just 'gone'.

I sat out with the girls for two days and trained them to the feeder - no propping it open - and everyone took to it quite quickly.

The one I use is the feed-o-matic and only two hens can get in at a time to eat, so will be getting a second one when I integrate later in the year (to accommodate 6 hens total). Food stays dry and I think it can adjust down to as low as 250 grams. I use it with pellets and don't have any issues with food blockages or anything like what I saw on the product reviews online.

For waterer, I've always used the hanging plastic ones - only issue is when it's windy, it tends to blow all the water out and when it's on the ground, they tend to soil it quickly. Propping it up on a stand seems to work best.

For the coop, I suppose the question would be are you in love with it or do you like any parts of it that you'd want to keep? It may just be that a renovation's in order instead of totally scrapping it.

Also, those two hens gotta be pretty lonely when one goes broody... Chicken math; it's addictive!
 

citychicks99

Chirping
Aug 20, 2021
90
70
78
Seattle, WA
Treadle feeders may be pricy, but they make up for it with lack of wastage. We had a pretty big issue with rats and within a week of adding the treadle feeder, they were all just 'gone'.

I sat out with the girls for two days and trained them to the feeder - no propping it open - and everyone took to it quite quickly.

The one I use is the feed-o-matic and only two hens can get in at a time to eat, so will be getting a second one when I integrate later in the year (to accommodate 6 hens total). Food stays dry and I think it can adjust down to as low as 250 grams. I use it with pellets and don't have any issues with food blockages or anything like what I saw on the product reviews online.

For waterer, I've always used the hanging plastic ones - only issue is when it's windy, it tends to blow all the water out and when it's on the ground, they tend to soil it quickly. Propping it up on a stand seems to work best.

For the coop, I suppose the question would be are you in love with it or do you like any parts of it that you'd want to keep? It may just be that a renovation's in order instead of totally scrapping it.

Also, those two hens gotta be pretty lonely when one goes broody... Chicken math; it's addictive!
That's a good point. Also, we recently found out that one of them is a cockerel. First off, we're not allowed to have roosters in our area and second, I think it might be too much rooster for one hen. I don't know what's going to happen because they were really my brother's responsibility since he brought them home but I adopted them because they were being neglected. But the ultimate decision on what to do with them is still on him and I have a hard time thinking of eating them for dinner. I wanted to give them away but my brother didn't want to. He has thought of building a sound proof wall around them but if we're not allowed to have roosters I'm not sure that will work.

To address the broody hen math, I thought about getting more chickens for the one chicken and just full on commit but I recently found out that I will be needing hip surgery in a month or two so I won't be able to do too much for them so I think building a new coop might not be practical right now unless my brother is willing to step up and take care of them.

On a brighter note, since removing their food and water at night, I haven't found more rat droppings so that's a plus. For the waterer, I do place it on a stand but found a puddle of water underneath. I have given them water in a bowl before but they tend to knock it over. I gave them grit in a bowl and put that in a box and they spilled it but it's contained. I might do that with the water.
 

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