Will soon have 9 mo old chickens given to me ...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Soon2BChixMom, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Crossing the Road

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    I have been wanting chickens for awhile as I started researching last year, but didn’t get chicks this spring as I had hoped.

    Just the other day someone asked my hubby if I wanted their 4 remaining chickens due to an upcoming move. There are 3 Isa Browns and 1 Ameraucana.
    I said sure! But, then realized that I didn’t have enough time to build a coop -and rushed out to buy a pre-fab one. :( I’m not excited about the coop, but it will work temporarily until I can build or buy a better one.

    My question is -how do I acclimate them to their new settings? They are coming from a free range set up and I’m not sure how much free ranging they can do here. We have hawks flying over all of the time and we have a very open lot surrounded by fields. We had an owl roost on a weather vane just the other day. I can let the chickens out briefly when I’m home and can keep an eye on them. The coop has a 24 sq ft run (which I know is small considering the recommendations for the sq ft per chicken).
    I’m not sure what they currently have for a coop either. So they might think they’ve gotten the raw end of a deal.

    Also, this coop has slide latches that I’m not sure are really predator proof. Can raccoons open these slide latches? We don’t usually have raccoons in our yard, but they are in the area -so the chickens will probably entice them to come closer. I have seen a possum in the yard though. I plan on making a hardware cloth apron around the perimeter of the run/coop area. But, I also want to make sure the chickens are safe when cooped up.

    Thanks!
     
  2. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

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    You should be able to pretty easily add another latch to each opening. I put two latches on each foot of my coop and make sure they are two different types of latches so if one fails or is opened by a predator, there's a backup.

    You can always add to the run to make it bigger or put the entire prefab unit within a larger fenced area to give more space.

    Good luck! It will be fun.
     
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  3. Zoomie

    Zoomie Songster

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    Well, under normal conditions, when you get new birds you lock them in the coop for a week or ten days, something like that, so that they understand where "home" is.

    What I do is put the chickens in the coop, along with a waterer and a feeder, and just leave them in there. Since yours has a run, maybe you could start letting them out into the run after a few days, later in the day, for an hour or two at first. Then when they go in at night, lock them in. That's what I do, to keep them safe from raccoons.

    I do think those slide latches are not the very best. I replaced some of mine with different hardware. Yeah... I have two of those little prefab coops. BUT. Mine are inside the barn, not out in the weather. They work well for me for small groups, like if I want to set up a breeding trio. I find that if it says it's for "8 chickens" you are better off with no more than 4. 3 is better. I screwed mine down onto a piece of 3/4" plywood to stop anything digging or burrowing in. Actually it took more than one sheet, but I think you get the idea. I spent the money on the plywood rather than the hardware cloth. I fill mine with oat hay, wood shavings, regular hay etc. to give them something to scratch around in, put in a hanging treat bin, a place to hang a head of lettuce, etc. just to make it more fun for them.
     
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  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    In a coop/run set up, especially a pre-fab one, I would NOT lock them in the coop. They will naturally enter the coop at dark. Just lock them in the coop/run during the day, you can lock up the coop at night if you think you need to do so for predators. Just let them down into the run in the morning.

    Chickens hate change, so more than likely, you are going to get eggs that are already in the pipe, then there will be a pause, maybe several days as in 7-10 days, but it just depends, and they should start laying again.

    I don't think they will pout so much as to smaller set up and no free ranging as to the this is a new place. These are new people... This is different feed system and so on.

    However, those pre-fab deals almost always are too small for even 4 chickens, and worse, have very limited ventilation. Look online at trade places, maybe you can get a shed reasonably, and a bit of paint, would help out. Space really improves the chicken hobby.

    This hobby is a lot of fun, and chickens for the most part can do pretty good. Enjoy!
     
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  5. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Crossing the Road

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    Zoomie, so the coops you have is on top of plywood sheets in the barn? I wish I had a barn for them. I do have a shed. I wonder if I should place their coop in there for the winter, but then I’m not sure how that would all work out. I don’t have time to ready the shed for proper use and not sure if chicken rearing is for me yet. So, wanted to at least test the waters before doing anything permanent -like taking over a whole shed. ;)
     
  6. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Crossing the Road

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    Thanks, Mrs K. I’m already thinking ahead as to how to improve upon what they will have to roost in. I bought a prefab that is supposed to fit 8. I already know that those numbers are clearly exaggerated.
     
  7. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Crossing the Road

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    A few more questions:

    How early do you need to let them out of the coop in the morning? Is 6am considered late if it’s still dark out?

    Also any tips for helping my own dogs to know that the chickens are not Food? I have two full sized doodles and they are still young so very trainable.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Always best not to take live animals on impulse....
    .....if you can back out, you might seriously consider it.
    You'll be doing trial by fire starting in the winter without good shelter.
    But....here's my favorite pre-fab coop mod:
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1134399/help-hens-roosting-in-nest-boxes/10#post_17749535

    If the dogs are already well trained(come,sit,stay,leave it) adding chickens to that should work OK. Train/test them on leash near the birds until you are sure.
     
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  9. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Crossing the Road

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    Thanks for the link to the thread. I have had a few weeks to think about the chickens - so not exactly impulse. But, we are finishing up some home remodeling projects - so I guess not the best time for us to try and start a new project and not enough time to build a proper coop before we get the chickens. I will keep an eye on Craigslist to see if I can come with a better solution before winter truly sets in.
     
  10. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Crossing the Road

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    Oh and my dogs have basic manners, so thanks for the tip!
     

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