We are finally chicken owners again!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by therunbunch, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. therunbunch

    therunbunch MomOf5inTX Supporter

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    It has taken a few years to adjust to life and get a foothold on things, but we are finally to the point where I can focus on the place and start doing some of the things we want to do around here! The kids are getting a little older and able to have bigger responsibilities and roles in taking care of critters so we are finally starting to get our little "farmette" going!! I'm a single mom of 5 (been going it alone for about 7 years now) and we have 3.033 acres in the country.. beautiful little spot of land surrounded by wood/pastures. It's heaven.

    Anyhow, the kids have been wanting to get chickens again for the past 3 years, something we haven't been able to do since we moved and bought this place. I finally took a look around the other day and just decided to get to business. I surveyed the materials I already had on hand (wood, old door, drill/screws/stapegun) and went to work. I have a four-car garage that the previous owners had used as a kennel, so it has doggy doors going all around it, as well as industrial fans, lighting, water system, electric, dishwasher, bathtub, sink, washer dryer hookups, etc.. it's nuts. I intentionally have left the garage empty the last 4 years because I want to convert it into "SOMETHING" at some point, just haven't been sure what I'll use it for just yet. I found the perfect 10x4 corner to built a chicken coop into for now though!!!

    The only thing I had to purchase was the chicken wire and some supplies for the chicks. We are starting with 7 chicks.. but I already want more, more, more!!

    I bought a chicken warmer from a chicken farmer last year, had to re-wrap the entire wire with electrical tape to reinforce... so I only kept the chickie babies in it for a few hours while we finished the coop. It works great but it's really old and I just don't trust it enough to make it the thing we keep them in around the clock. I, instead, put them in a tough box with a heat lamp.

    I just wanted to share some pics and get any feedback on anything you think we might have missed. It's been years since we've had chickens. I'm hoping by building the coop in the garage it will serve as better protection from predators and the elements. I have every intention of letting them free-range when they are large enough to defend themselves where possible. I plan to use a chicken wire tunnel initially to introduce them to the yard through their chicken door when they are a little bigger. We grabbed some interesting branches from the yard to make some perches for now. When they are a little bigger they can start hopping around on those. I used hay for the flooring because I can compost it down later when I swap it out.

    Bear with me... I haven't been consistently on the forums in a long while either and remembering how to share photos!!!

    http://pho.to/AdbQn
     
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  2. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    Let us know how many you have a year from now. :nana:
     
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  3. aart

    aart HOW do they DO that?

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    A 4 car garage, and you only used 10x4 of it?!?!
    Start building out a bigger space now!! :D
     
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  4. therunbunch

    therunbunch MomOf5inTX Supporter

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    I already have the "itch" for about 100 more chicks!!!!! I want some tinted egg layers badly!!!

    And yes... I know.. used just a little space to start. That garage.... gosh.. I can't figure out what I want to convert it into yet!!! I was thinking a media "apartment" so that as my kids get older, they can have sleepovers out there and have a microwave for popcorn etc and play games/play their music etc without me having to have a ton of kids in the house keeping me up all night lol
     
  5. CountryMom22

    CountryMom22 Well-Known Member

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    Looks good. But just a couple of suggestions: if you are going to compost the bedding, don't use hay. Unless you get your compost pile good and hot, the hay seeds will survive and come to life in your garden. (Ask me how I know this!) Stick with straw, shavings etc. And second, the nest boxes should be horizontal with a small lip in front to keep the eggs from rolling out or being pushed out. And you need a pole in front of them for the hens to land on so they only take one small step into the box itself, otherwise if they try to use the box they could hurt their wings. I have a row of nest boxes , 2 boxes high, and the girls all prefer to lay in the same two boxes on the bottom. They haven't used the top boxes in years.

    Looks, like you are off to a good start and have been bitten by the chicken bug. Chickens are a great way to teach kids responsibility, too. I am jealous of your building too, by the way!

    Enjoy the journey!
     
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  6. therunbunch

    therunbunch MomOf5inTX Supporter

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    I'm glad you put input on this because I was wondering about the vertical boxes. I did it this way because I built the coop alone and couldn't lift or even prop the nesting boxes up horizontally. We took various branches from the yard and kind of zig-zagged them across the coop so that the chickens could kind of "hop" to their preferred level to roost or nest... given they will have the option, do you think they would still NOT use the higher boxes? And YES! I had planned to put a little lip back across the fronts.. I'm hoping I won't forget to do it soon though. I figured I'd have some time to finish that part up before they are big enough to start using the boxes.

    And thank you for the input on the hay. Perhaps I should rethink that, you gave me some great tips!!


    OH>>>>> and we went back to the feed store today and got 5 more chicks... now that makes an even dozen. The madness has begun. :/
     
  7. chaossmurf

    chaossmurf Well-Known Member

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    they look kinda small to be laying eggs :) ya might have a little time to modify the lip so eggs don't roll out :)
     
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  8. SueBee

    SueBee Well-Known Member

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    Looks good, I agree with either the straw or shavings for the floor we have a dirt floor in ours and some shavings so I throw in some food at night and they scratch it up and so we have no smell.

    The nesting boxes are a little tall, think about this, build some off to the left side over the water container then they only have a short way to go up. You will also need some bars for them to roost on when ever they want.

    One last thing I know you are not finished with this project but you will want to put chicken wire all the way up to the ceiling as something will get in there and that would not be a fun thing to happen.

    Just some ideas for you to chew on but then you seem to have some pretty good ideas already. Have fun and enjoy.
    sue
     
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  9. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Congratulations! I understand your "itch" for more chicks... I will have mine mid April.... more pictures of your "farmette"
     
  10. GTX63

    GTX63 Well-Known Member

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    We started out with 8 and averaged 5-6 eggs every day. We let them free range the back yard (about 2 acres) every day and noticed the dogs had fewer ticks, there weren't as many mosquitoes, etc. Lost a couple to hawks so our Collie and Sheltie were kept outside more often to discourage the predators. We have just under 20 now and the egg and poop production are just about at max levels for us.