Smaller chicks bullied to death... I think. Need to expand our coop.

Jhangles

Chirping
May 16, 2018
34
183
69
Hayes, VA
Hey everyone,

So we originally started out with 5 hens. Then chick season rolled around and suddenly we had over 20 chickens. We currently have 2 Tractor Supply coops with a smallish run in between them.
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Space really hasn't been an issue since we let our chickens out first thing in the morning, and don't close the coops back up until everyone is situated and ready for bed at night.
Well, we had a wedding to go to about 4 hours away in Roanoke, VA. We worked it out with our neighbor to let our chickens out every morning and close the coop up every night. We were only gone Friday and Saturday night. We filled all the chicken's water and food up to the brim, since usually those containers will be good for at least a couple days.

Unfortunately our neighbor wasn't opening the coops until around 11am or 12pm each day. Instead of between 6 and 7am like we do.

I checked our cameras around 10am on our last day out and our chickens were still cooped up and going back and forth, looking very agitated. I saw our smaller chicks having to constantly run and jump away from our bigger chickens.

When we got home I immediately went and checked on the chickens, and found 2 of our chicks dead, the water mostly empty, and the food almost completely empty. We pretty much figured out that the extra time in the coop caused the larger chickens to become agitated, eat all the food, and keep the little ones from the food and water. They also took out their frustration on the little ones, pulling a lot of their tail feathers out.

So now I need to build a real coop, and I think I'm going to attach it to the small run we have currently in the short term. Kind of make it into a coop multiplex sort of structure. I want to give everyone a lot of room so they will leave the small chicks alone.

I'm not looking to spend a ton of money right now, just get a basic structure built, that I can add things to later on as I go.

I've been looking at the coop articles, and I see a lot of really good ideas, but I haven't found any so far that have really clear plans that a layman like myself can follow. I'm mechanically inclined, but I don't have a lot of experience with carpentry. Do any of you know of medium to large coop articles that have more detailed plans in them? I'm looking at more of the lean-to style roofs since they seem to be a lot easier to build.

I apologize if this is something I could've searched for easily, if it is, I must have missed it. I'm just really tired of digging small chicken graves.

Thank you everyone!
-Beau
 

sawilliams

Songster
Nov 12, 2015
1,641
1,665
241
Nor Cal
I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have a good understanding of why it happened. One thing i did want to point out, of course I can't tell size from the pictures but your coops even combined are to small for nearly 20 chickens, and i suspect your run is too. That's why they were getting stressed. As for the feed hens eat more when they don't free range so they likely ate more especially in the morning they you expected do to the exstend time.
 

Jhangles

Chirping
May 16, 2018
34
183
69
Hayes, VA
Yeah, when we started it was more than enough, now I'm desperately trying to builda much bigger coop for them. At least some temporary structure so they can have more room.
 

Jhangles

Chirping
May 16, 2018
34
183
69
Hayes, VA
I'll have to look that up.

Right now, as soon as my wife is home I'm off to lowes to buy building supplies
 

Jhangles

Chirping
May 16, 2018
34
183
69
Hayes, VA
The hoop coop looks really cool. We actually have some cattle paneling here on our property from the previous owner. The previous owner had a bunch of makeshift jerry rigged fencing up for gardens and past animals he owned, he even used mattress springs as part of the fence. I've been in the slow process of getting rid of it all...
 

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