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Some 'Coop' Questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by happybooker1, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. happybooker1

    happybooker1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North of Houston Texas
    1. When do chickens start using a roost? Do they have to be trained? Does it need to be a certain size/distance between perches for bantams?

    2. What type of feeder/waterer do you prefer in your coop? Do hanging ones work OK? I don't have space for the waterer using nipples.

    3. How long should you keep chicks shut up in the coop for them to think it's 'home'? Days? A week? More?
     
  2. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Chicks will jump up on low roosts as early as a few days! It is instinct and will not have to be taught. If you don'e provide a perch, they may get used to sleeping on the floor and not on a roost, but they will get the idea eventually.

    Banty chicks need a shorter roost than LF do. Some people say to make the roosts low so they don't hurt themselves jumping down. That makes sense and if probably a good idea, HOWEVER, my LF chickens use the 4 foot roosts to get up to the rafters at 7 feet and jump all the way down and I have not had any get hurt or bumblefoot.....yet!

    You can put nipples in the bottom of a bucket or large plastic jug (make sure to get the ones made for thinner plastic) and hang it above their heads so they can use the space below. I like my feed and water to hang because it stays cleaner.

    They will feel safe in their new home in a week (maybe less) start letting them wander out just before bedtime and they will tend to go back in to bed down for the night.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    1. When do chickens start using a roost? Do they have to be trained? Does it need to be a certain size/distance between perches for bantams?

    A roost is something elevated they sleep on at night. A perch is something they play on during the day.

    Chicks might perch at an extremely young age, practically any time after they dry off. Some are earlier than others. Some of it depends on what is available and other conditions.

    I’ve seen broodies take chicks to the roosts earlier than two weeks and I’ve seen some wait until they are 4 weeks old. Broodies do train them.

    I’ve had brooder raised chicks start roosting on their own at 5 weeks and some wait longer than 12 weeks. Some people on this forum say it sometimes takes theirs much longer than that. Some say theirs never learn on their own. So it varies, depending on the chickens and the conditions.

    Until they start roosting, they tend to sleep in a pile on the floor. That’s how a broody normally keeps them until they start to roost. They seem to enjoy each other’s company.

    2. What type of feeder/waterer do you prefer in your coop? Do hanging ones work OK? I don't have space for the waterer using nipples.

    We use so many different kinds of feeders and waterers it’s not even funny. If you use some type of automatic feeder it can make a difference if you feed mash, crumbles, or pellets. If you feed by hand, it is much more just a personal preference. One trick to keeping them cleaner is that they need to be elevated to the height of the smallest chicken’s back. That helps keep them from scratching stuff in it.

    I generally hang my feeders. I take a 2 gallon plastic bucket you can usually get for free at a deli or bakery, cut holes maybe 2-1/2” diameter around the sides, and hang it from a rope. It’s easy to adjust the height. That does not mean this is the best way or the only way. It means I’m cheap. Free is good.

    I usually don’t hang the waterers. I’ve tried the same thing as the feeders for water and it can work, but they tend to rock in the wind or when the chickens are drinking they’ll knock them around. Water tends to spill out. I set my waterers up on pavers or bricks to get them off the ground level. During winter, I just use those black rubber tubs I get at Tractor Supply. If they are in the sun they stay unfrozen quite well. If they freeze up I just turn them over and kick the ice out or bang them on the ground. They don’t break. During the summer I use something like a white dog bowl to help keep the water cooler.


    3. How long should you keep chicks shut up in the coop for them to think it's 'home'? Days? A week? More?

    Usually a week is enough for mine.
     
  4. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    is shutting them in for a week a normal thing for all chickens or just chicks when you move them into their coop? I'm going to be getting pullets most likely already around 4 months old, will I need to shut them in like that when I first get them?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd suggest it for all chickens. There are a couple of things to consider.

    If they are allowed to free range and you just dump them out, they may go looking for home. If you put them in a coop and run where they can't go walkabout, then you don't have to worry about that part.

    The other is about laying and roosting. If you dump them in a coop and run, they might learn to lay and roost in the coop. Or they might try to do either if these in the run. If you can lock them in the coop for a while, they are more likely to think of it as a good place to lay and roost.

    I'm not going to guarantee that they will lay and roost in the coop if you lock them in there for a while. They may still use the run. They are living animals and they do what they want. They are just more likely top use the coop if they are locked in there for a while. Especially if they are already laying when you get them.

    It's possible to train them to use the coop even if they start out using the run. If they try roosting in the run, just toss them in the coop after they go to sleep. Teaching them to lay in there is harder but can still be done. And there is still a pretty good chance they will roost and lay in the coop to start with anyway.
     

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