So I'm new to all this....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DarleneE, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. DarleneE

    DarleneE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So this is my first time raising "pet" hens. My husband is building them their coop. They're (I have 2 hens) now 8 weeks old and will be going into the coop real soon. However I have no clue as to even what the terms roost, etc mean? What my husband and I seen as pictures of coops is what he's building. It has the big open run area for them, then has like a little "house" with a stick going in it for them to "sleep" in I guess.. then has the other enclosed area with the lift up roof and a divider in between for them to lay their eggs when they're older. Does this all sound right? Also can anyone please clarify for me what these different "areas" are called in "chicken" language?? Thanks SO much!!!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  2. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi DarleneE. You've described a pretty good coop for your girls!

    To give it the usual names - the open area is the run, the 'house' is the coop, and the little area with the lift up roof is the nest boxes, where they will lay their eggs. Usually the coop has roosting bars in, which are the bars that the chickens should sit on every night to sleep. Young chickens often want to continue sleeping in a nest box, rather than go on to the roost (especially if they don't have any older girls to show them where to sleep!)

    The advantage of them sleeping on the roosting bars is that they poop onto the ground below, which is easy to clean up. If they continue to sleep in the nests then you will need to remove poop from the nests every morning, and replace the straw more often, as it gets dirty quickly. To persuade them to sleep on the roosts, just block the nest boxes off each evening (I put a beach ball in each box to stop my girls from using them) - they will soon work out where to go to sleep!
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Put your roost higher than the nest so they won't sleep in the nests and poop them up.
     
  4. DarleneE

    DarleneE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much! That helped a lot! Now I'm planning to put hay in the run, the coop and the nest. Is that correct?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I don't put anything in the run...except some straw as the snow melts and makes puddles and mud...not problem in for you in FLA.

    Coop floor has pine shavings for absorbency and warmth in winter.

    Nests have straw because it's less likely to get scratched out.

    I have a roost board (poop board) under the roosts filled with sand and zeolite(PDZ) for easy sifting of most of the days poops to go to compost.
     
  6. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hay is not recommended for chickens, as they can be tempted to eat it (especially in snowy weather when they don't have access to fresh grass), and it can block their crops and cause horrible problems. Straw is absoutely fine, as they won't try to eat that.

    However, I started with straw, but I don't use it any more - in the nest boxes I use shredded paper. I shred the local newspaper and any flyers or brochures that we get in the post box that are printed on non-glossy paper - I have more nesting material than I can use! I also rake up all the fallen leaves in the autumn, and put them in the dry run area that my girls have access to (they free range, but have a covered area by the coop for really bad weather). They love scratching through the leaves to find scratch and bugs! All this is compostable, environmentally friendly, and above all, FREE! [​IMG] The only stuff I do buy is sand / wood shavings for the coop floor (a sand base, which is cool in the summer, covered with a layer of wood shavings which keeps it warmer in winter, and which I rake off and compost in the spring).
     
  7. DarleneE

    DarleneE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well our coop is inside the screened porch and has a wood floor. What should I put inside the bottom of that part.. aka the run??
     
  8. DarleneE

    DarleneE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could I put grass in the bottom of the roost and the run? It's all one solid wood floor cause it's inside the lanai..??
     
  9. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The problem with hay is that it's long, and gets wound up inside the crop, causing a solid ball that the chicken can't digest. When they free range on grass they can break small segments of each blade of grass off, and that is fine for them to digest. If you are talking about using short pieces of cut grass then it should be ok. I don't quite understand what you say about the run - it's not on earth or grass, but on a wooden floor? Will they have any access to real earth or grass areas?
     
  10. DarleneE

    DarleneE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes they will be in our fenced in yard during the day with my supervision for quite awhile until I'm sure they'll be ok. They'll return to the coop in the evening. So the bottom of the coop is solid wood. I think I'm going to put in a couple squares if sod in the run and the rest pine shavings. Then put straw in the nest area. Does that sound acceptable? Also when we say "straw" is that like just regular straw you can buy at Wal-Mart for instance? I'm new to ALL is this, including this site.. But I'm going to TRY to put up a picture of the almost finished coop. Thanks so much for everyone's help!![​IMG]
     

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