Too many chickens for my space

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kristy in WA, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Kristy in WA

    Kristy in WA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't been around here since last spring when I hatched out some chicks and bought some chicks. Now, I have a great flock of chickens, but not enough space. Typical quandry for chicken lovers, I know! I think I have about 13 banty chickens, and 24? regular sized chickens, so almost 40 birds. We have a henhouse that is 8 x 12, and they have been living inside of there for about 2 weeks now. It stinks bad. We don't have the outside run done yet, and I don't think we have any ventilation. We've got to do something, and soon! I like what I saw with the cute little blue henhouse, with the deep litter and tarp. We have litter on the floor, but I don't think enough. I like the tarp idea though. Seems that would make for easy cleanup. I don't really love the banty chickens, where is a good place to just get rid of them? That would free up some space. But I still have too many chickens for the space. Any thoughts? Thanks, Kristy

    PS, I live in Washington and we already have snow on the ground. I have a heat lamp inside, but it's pretty cold now outside.
     
  2. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't really like the bantams? Sell them -- BYC has a place to post birds for sale.

    Go to patandchickens Big Ol' ventilation page and read up on ventilation. Not enough ventilation can cause a LOT of problems.

    Can you let them out for a while during the day? If you do it near the end of the day they'll go back in by themselves to go to bed.

    As for the smell and accumulation -- look up deep litter practices. That'll help you and make things easier for your chickens.

    good luck!
     
  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    As far as the banties, you can list them for sale here in the BST section of the forums or you can list them on your local craigslist to re-home them as well.

    An 8 x 12 coop is 96 sq ft. which means at the minimum recommended space for standards of 4 sq ft per bird, you could house 24 birds in it. However, if they are going to be confined 24/7, you would need to double the size of your coop. When they become overcrowded you then have issues of picking at each other and the health issues that can result is not good either.

    Ventilation is of the utmost importance in maintaining a healthy flock, respiratory illness is lethal to them and results from the lack of ventilation. If you can smell the coop at your height, imagine what is like for them at their height...it is going to be at least 10 times worse at their level. If you click the link in my signature for "eggtopia", you can see the ventilation in my coop, including 2 windows. My duck house also has 2 windows and ventilation at the roofline and you can check it out on the Quack Academy link in my signature.

    If you are going to use deep litter method as I do, I have the bedding at about 4" - 5" deep. I rake/scoop it every other day and turn it over. I add fresh bedding as needed. If you are going to have your girls confined a lot, I recommend using pine shavings but do not use straw because it will get really nasty, really fast. Do check out the ventilation page that patandchickens did...it is very informative.
     
  4. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
    Quote:[​IMG]
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    It may take you a few days or weeks to build a safe run (but get crackin' NOW, it is not something you can continue to put off); but something you can do TODAY is go out there with a saw and cut some ventilation!!!

    Seriously. Start your holes with a large-diameter drillbit hole if necessary (sometimes it's not necessary as you can just remove pieces of siding whole); then use a reciprocating saw or power jigsaw, depending on the construction of your coop, to cut some big ol' holes, appropriately placed. Predatorproof them with hardwarecloth, and you are ok for now. (You will ultimately want to make flaps or whatever to close those vents; either save the piece you cut out and add battens around 3 edges (pieces of 1x2 or 1x3 work well if set on so that at least half their width hangs off the edge to overlap the gap where the sawblade went), or construct all-new flaps, big enough to allow overlap and/or weatherstripping, from some other wood.

    Also you may have to clean a lot more often in there, possibly even every day or 2, until you get that run built and the chicken population reduced. This is not something to put off -- don't wait til you start having sick chickens!

    Good luck, have fun, gotta take good care of those chickens,

    Pat
     
  6. Kristy in WA

    Kristy in WA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I've read all the ventilation stuff that was suggested, and we can cut a 1 ft x 8 ft opening at the top of one of the walls of the coop, and cover it with hardware cloth pretty easily. Is that enough on just one wall? Kristy
     
  7. Bantimna

    Bantimna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
    Quote:Thats it [​IMG] very well said.
     
  8. lngrid

    lngrid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Hi Kristy. I'm a chicken newbie, but I think the idea is to have openings on more than one wall so you can get air moving through the coop. I hope someone more knowledgeable chimes in, because I'm just trying to remember correctly the things I'm learning here. Go, BYC!
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:For wintertime that should be pretty good (this should be on the usually-downwind side of the coop not the upwind side, and you will probably want some sort of flap to close it down however much is necessary and maybe sometimes to prop horizontally to keep rain from blowing in if the opening is not well enough protected by a roof overhang).

    In a mild climate (dunno where in WA you are?) a crossbreeze is useful for getting extra air exchange, so if you ARE in a mild part of the state it would have some value to cut a matching opening on the opposite wall too; but if you are somewhere it's going to be in the 20s or colder for most of the winter, at night anyhow, then you would only be having the downwind vents open ANYhow, thus no particular need for crossventilation til warmer weather arrives.

    For summertime you will want (a lot) more ventilation than that, but again, you can worry about that later [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  10. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm Premium Member

    Only someone in Canada would call anywhere in Washington a mild climate. [​IMG]
     

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