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Upgrading. New hens. Help me make it work!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by huck, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. huck

    huck Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 14, 2009
    Maryland
    Hey Folks,
    I have recently offered to rescue 2 leghorn hens that are being evicted from their city home. I am looking for suggestions as to how to integrate them into my current flock (of 3.5-- one is a feisty bantam) and how to make them comfortable in a space that was previously tailored for the others.

    I'm not worried about them having enough space in the run or yard....they have PLENTY of yard space.... my concern is the coop-- which was built for only 4 full size hens.

    Do you have any suggestions for how to expand coop space or make it healthier for more hens? It is currently 3ft X 4 ft and raised 2 ft off the ground. We consider the coop something of a masterpiece-- starting over is not an option, and we'd prefer to not alter the structure too dramatically.

    Here's a post that includes picture of the coop and run. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=232466
    We
    have since created a large pen in addition to the run, and more often then not simply let the hens free range in our spacious backyard that is surrounded by fencing on all sides.

    --Would raising the roof a bit and adding more ventilation and roost space make it adequate?
    --Would moving the nesting boxes to the exterior help provide more square footage?
    --What would happen if we built a second mini-coop for the two leghorns to roost in? Is it too much to hope that part of a flock would roost separately?

    The rescue hens are in good health, about the same size as my current hens (accept for the bantam, who is a feisty one). I will of course isolate and monitor them prior to dumping them in the same coop.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I bet that if you made a bump-out for the nestboxes (tho be REAL careful to make it very sturdy and secure), that plus anohter roost would give you enough space, assuming the hens get to where they get along reasonably well. (And if they do NOT get to where they get along reasonably well, you are probably just s.o.l. no matter what, and would have to build either a second or a much-larger coop). You could run two roosts across the 3' dimension, giving you a total of 6' of roost space. And there should be enough room in there that if you don't put them overly far away from the side walls, there can be sufficient room between 'em that it will not excessively invite pecking from one roost to the other.

    Ideally you would quarantine the two new ones for three or four weeks first, though... can you knock together something sufficiently-secure for that? Then after quarantine is up, you can move it adjacent to the existing coop so they are just on the other side of the run fencing from each other for a week or so before trying integration. And when you do attempt integration (while free ranging), you can leave *both* coops open, and if the leghorns *do* decide to stay roosting in their familiar quarantine quarters once they have a choice, then that would be ANOTHER solution to your problem [​IMG]

    GOod luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. huck

    huck Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 14, 2009
    Maryland
    Thanks, patandchickens, I appreciate the advice! I think that's what we'll do.... give them a variety of options and see how it goes. Even if they don't end up roosting in the main coop, I'm a fan of the nesting-box-pop-out any way.

    We got the girls last night--- two point of lay Brown Leghorns. They're so beautiful! They have their own coop and run separate from the others and seem to be rather happy right now. We've decided to name them Gertrude and Esther.
     

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