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Uneducated chicken lover looking for advice from folks who know!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by sarah75, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. sarah75

    sarah75 New Egg

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    Feb 19, 2017
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    Hi There!

    My name is Sarah and I joined this group specifically for some desperately needed advice on chicken coops and care.

    I work at a historical park. In this park is a historic chicken coop (from the 1800's) that they have modified somewhat.

    The fellow who runs the city's parks dept though it would be "cool" to have live chickens in the coop. This person does not have any experience with raising chickens. We have a caretaker who has experience with chickens. This person tells me I am "too nice" when voicing my concerns.

    When I first started working at the park I noticed that some of the chickens weren't healthy. One had an injured foot and they had all pecked each other badly. Due to my complaints and efforts those chickens received a new home. However - to my dismay - 6 new chicks were purchased.

    I am the first to admit that I am the type pf animal lover who likes to make my pets as comfortable as possible...so I am not sure if these chickens are being cared for improperly - or if my concerns are without cause.

    I would love to hear any and all comments/opinions! Do these chickens need help? Or do I? HAHA!

    Here are my concerns (I will attach photos of the coop):

    1. They NEVER are let out of the coop. This means they get no direct sunshine and no exposure to grass. I've checked. The outdoor portion of the coop is always in shade.

    2. There are 6 chickens but only 4 little nesting boxes for them to sit in. Some resort to trying to nest in the rafters.

    3. Since the indoor portion is part of the "historic" coop there are exposed rusty nails that the chickens could hurt themselves on.

    4. The indoor portion has a full sized screen door facing their nesting boxes. This means they are not protected from the elements or bright park lights at night. When it rains or is cold there is nothing to keep them dry and warm. I was told that I was going overboard by wanting to make at least a vinyl curtain to cover half of the screen door at night and in inclement weather which would leave the nesting boxes protected. Thoughts?

    5. The supplies for the chickens are stored in the enclosed portion along with the chickens - in the portion that is most protected from the elements.

    6. Should they be visited by a vet? Are there regular vaccinations or care they should be getting?

    I really appreciate your help and advice on this matter. These are the sweetest little hens and I want to make things right for them. Thank you!


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  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    That coop is nice beter than where your store bought eggs come from. Chickens in the 1800s would be lucky to have that, or even today. Chickens should only lay eggs in the boxes never sleep in them. They tend to get up as high as possible to sleep, wild chickens sleep in trees.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] You were worried about only four nesting boxes with six chickens. That is more than enough. Chickens don't "sit" in nesting boxes They go in and lay their eggs and leave so the boxes are for egg laying. That said, for some reason chickens often want to share a box. I have more than enough boxes and usually only two, sometimes only three get used. I have taken eight eggs out of one box at a time and often I have found two hens in a box, sometimes three, when there are empty ones next door.
    That set up looks very nice and adequate. I would worry only if it could rain in or snow in on them, Some chicken keepers keep lights on in the coop so they should easily get used to the external lights.
    Chickens are hardy creatures. They would probably get in more trouble if everything was so closed up in winter that the humidity got too high and they had frostbite.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1. Chickens don't need to get out and run around in the grass. They would like to but don't need to. Green grass is good for them. I would suggest dumping a bag of fresh lawn clippings in the run to satisfy that need.
    Nesting boxes. Need no more than 2. Sounds like they no place to roost however. Add a 2x4 or a 3-4" branch the length of the coop about 3' off the ground 18" away from the wall.
    3. Hammer the nails in othwise don't worry about them.
    4. Don't worry about it. Plastic shower curtains were not around when the coop was built so for historical accuracy don't. They can get out of the weather if they need to. Do put the roost away from the door so they are protected from blowing rain plus it will be darker.
    5. It makes things easier to store feed in the coop. In your case, it would not be historically accurate if they could see it. Their feed would of just been whole grains stored in a crib.
    6. Vets? Good luck with that. You're talking a $10 hen. On top of that 99% of vets won't touch a chicken unless they are eating one.

    Relax! Hopefully you have heritage birds that are accurate for the time and region. I would stain the run to make it look more like the coop.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, Sarah, and [​IMG]! Pleased you joined our flock! Looks like your questions were already answered so I'll just say best wishes and thanks for joining BYC!! [​IMG]
     
  6. N F C

    N F C Home in WY Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Looks like you've already received some good advice so I'll just say hello and thank you for being concerned for the chickens.
     
  7. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    G’Day from down under Sarah [​IMG] Welcome!

    Yep, I can’t top the great responses you have already received. Kudos to you for caring but I agree that they have a pretty good set up and are luckier than some of their fellow featheries.

    x2 on installing a roost for them though.

    I hope you enjoy being a BYC member. There are lots of friendly and very helpful folks here so not only is it overflowing with useful information it is also a great place to make friends and have some fun. Unlike non chicken loving friends, family and colleagues, BYC’ers never tire of stories or pictures that feature our feathered and non feathered friends [​IMG]
     
  8. sarah75

    sarah75 New Egg

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    Feb 19, 2017
    Simi Valley ca
    Thank you so much for your prompt and helpful replies!

    I'm happy to hear that the consensus is that they're doing good with the current set up. I'll talk to the park about adding a roost. The lawn clippings are a great idea! And next time we have another one of these intense rain storms here in southern CA (in 10 years!) I'll ask the caretaker to at least make sure the rain doesn't soak our feathered ladies while they are sleeping!

    Thank you again!

    - Sarah
     
  9. sarah75

    sarah75 New Egg

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    Feb 19, 2017
    Simi Valley ca
    And thank you for not teasing me about being overly concerned. If it were up to me I'd make them all little rain coats! LOL!
     
  10. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    6.1 vaccinations are mostly only given to day old chicks. Because you have a closed flock with extremely low risk,you don't need to be concerned about transmitted diseases. I would deworm them. I do mine when they molt in the winter so I am not tossing eggs for the withdrawal period.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017

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