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Too soon to move?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 4H kids and mom, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

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    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Well, the teens are just getting too big to keep in the house. Alas, they've outgrown their room! If I could sex them and sell off the extra boys, the gals could hang around a bit longer, but since I'll have to wait to find out whos-who, they are going to have to go outside earlier than I had planned (hoped?). Naturally, I have a bunch of questions. [​IMG]

    1) Their 'coop' is the converted back end of our cement floored garage/shed. I like that nothing can dig in, but how do I keep the floor dry enough for them?

    2) Their 'coop' measures 8'W x 12'L. How many chickens could live comfortably in this size coop, as I plan to add more...<<smiles evilly>> The wall can be moved out to make the coop either 10'W or even up to 12'W and still leave my hub plenty of storage space on the other side.

    3) Per #1, what do I do for bedding? Should I put down hay and then top it with shavings? Just shavings? Just hay?

    4) Warmth....the coop is not too drafty, but it still gets good ventiliation, and the temp gets down into the 50's at night. Sometimes a little lower. What wattage bulb would keep them sufficiantly warm in a coop that size until they finish feathering out completely? I have a 250 Watt red bulb. Would that do it?

    5) Will they be OK out there all alone? I am accustomed to hearing their every peep in the room next to mine that they've lived in for the past almost 4 weeks now. I wont be able to hear them outside. Their coop is totally predator proof (that we know of...haven't found a way anything could get in anyway...) and they'll be locked up tight at night...but, as a new chicken mom, I worry about my little dears. [​IMG]

    6) They have a nice size pen attached to their coop already ready for them. If we move them out next week (which we are planning) are they going to be old enough for me to start opening their coop door in the a.m. to let them explore the pen when its warm enough out, or should I wait a bit yet? I have been taking them out during the day already to get them used to the sights, sounds, smells, etc but they've only been out about an hour at a time. Would 4 weeks be too soon to let them out all day (on nice weather days only of course)?

    7) The coop doesn't have nestboxes yet, but I've put up a nice long roost about 12" off the floor for them, that runs the width (8'L) of the coop. I can raise it up and add the other roosts as they grow, but I figured the one would be sufficient for a little while. How many chickens can use an 8'L roost? I will be adding more chickens! [​IMG]

    I'm sure I'll probably think of more before they go out, but this is what I came up with for now. My hub thinks I've completely lost my mind! [​IMG]
     
  2. Llysse

    Llysse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2007
    You could get 24 or so hens in a coop of your current size (at the recommended minimum of 4 square feet per bird). Shavings should be good. Straw tends to matt down more. A lot of people throw out a handful of scratch on the floor of the coop to get their chickens to scratch up the bedding to keep it fluffy and drier. As to roost size, each chicken will need 10 to 12 inches of roost space, so you'll definitely have to add more roosts if you plan to have 24 chooks in there. I would think a 250 watt bulb would be enough for your birds as long as they all have space to huddle near it if they get too cold, but I don't have direct experience with that. You might want to have two bulbs just in case one burns out.

    Just my 2 cents.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    974
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    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Ooooo! 24 hens! [​IMG] <<evil grin>> I'll be lucky to have 10-12 out of this batch, so I can add 12 more! Yay! Next order, I'm ordering only pullets, and possibly some Cornish X Jumbo's to fill my order of 25. I have a nearby farmer who will buy my 'surplus' meat birds and cull them himself saving me the hard part! [​IMG] All I gotta do is raise 'em up!

    PS...How many roos would do well with roughly 20 hens? We're planning to keep 2 boys from our current batch, and we'll be getting either 1 Maran roo (because I want to breed them for show) or a roo of another breed (to go with a breed of the pullets I pick). Would 3 roos service 20 hens? Will they fight, or is the coop big enough that they wont have to compete much? Do roos breed with any hen, or do they sort of stick to their own if its available? (For breeding, I plan to pen off a pair, so I know for sure what Im hatching!)
     
  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    As Llyse said.....easily 24 chickens will fit in there....tey wont need nest boxes for a few more months...so no hurry there...as for the bedding, and the light....be VERY carefull about haveing a light out there, where you can not watch them....make sure they can not knock it down into the bedding/litter and start a fire. But with the temps being in the 50's or 60's at night, I think they will still need a heat source. I use straw in my coop...much cheaper when you have a coop that large...mine is just alittle bigger than yours and I clean it about every 2 weeks with 13 chickens in there. I also think they should be fine in thier yard on warm days. Just watch them of course. Being small....if there is a hole, they will find it. Mine are almost 3 weeks old, and going out in thier part of the coop soon...they too are getting too big to be in the house. Good luck with your babies...and enjoy!
     
  5. Llysse

    Llysse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2007
    I think standard breed cocks can cover 10 birds, more or less, so you'd probably really only need two cocks for the bunch. However, I read somewhere that 3 cocks will fight less than 2 will. Does anyone know if that's true?
     
  6. cookinmom

    cookinmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    4HKidsandmom, my chicks outgrew everywhere we could put them (we were ready for 10, not 17!), so we moved them to the coop. The house is secure, we have shavings with straw on top for bedding. They have the heat lamp still, nights are in the 50's, suspended from a hook in the ceiling. I let them out in the morning, because its been in the mid- to high-80s in the daytime, and it gets near 90 in their house, so it's kind of stifling in there. I tie their door open and they run in and out all day. Their house is inside their run, which is humongous, surrounded with wire (buried), and topped with chicken wire all across the top so nothing can get in (we're pretty sure). I put their food and waterers outside with them, kind of in the areas they hang out the most. After supper I bring them back into their house, a treat helps with this, and turn on their light and settle them in for the night, and close up their house. I throw down some fresh straw when it gets messy, and once a week take it all out and put fresh (yay, compost materials for my layered compost gardening!!). I've put parakeet grit in with their food since they're picking up all kinds of stuff foraging outside. They're going through a lot of chick food, so they are still mostly eating that. Everything seems to be going fine with this. Sorry this is so long. Hope it helps!
     

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