Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

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PageMossFarm
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by PageMossFarm »

Morning all,
Another quick, possibly daft, question for my learned friends... The coop I’m looking to get is the Green Frog Lodge which has two nesting box sections but is suitable for more than two hens... Do they share nesting box space? Do the ‘take it in turns’?! Confused!
Many thanks
bigyetiman
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by bigyetiman »

All depends on the chicken, I have several that seem to need a "support group" or " laying buddy" and will be squashed in a laying box with a friend/friends. Perhaps they cluck "push dear won't be long now". Others seem to want to lay alone and snarl at anyone who even thinks about looking at the box they are in.

Some literally go in and lay, and straight out, others go in and get comfortable and take an hour or more, and then sit a while afterwards.

If you stupidly decide to do something major to the coop, like a massive deep clean or replace something, there will be one hen that will decide to lay at 2pm in the afternoon just as you start to dismantle it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of hens. Where we have read the instruction manual, but they haven't. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Marigold
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by Marigold »

Totally agree with BYM! Though yes, 2 boxes between 4-6 hens is plenty. They don’t need or seek social distancing or privacy, and in my G Frog they seemed all to favour one of the two identical boxes - not always the same one - and occasionally piled in two together for company, or because their legs were crossed, they couldn’t wait, and the other box didn’t seem to be an option!

Get some large plastic flowerpots ready before your pullets arrive. They’ll most likely have been reared in a barn without perches and may need teaching how to perch, (by being lifted on to a perch after dark, when they’re asleep) although once learned this is a reflex - their feet lock in place round the perch so they don’t drop off when asleep, a very useful accomplishment we all could benefit from, if evolution had gone that way for humans. They poo several times all night, and so if they sleep in the nest boxes the bedding is dirty when they come to lay next morning and eggs are soiled. Young pullets won’t lay for a few weeks so adding upturned flower pots overnight, and your eagle eye checking them after dark for a while, will ensure they’re trained to good habits. Remove the pots in the morning, though, as they go through a stage of inspecting the nest boxes during the day, and trying them out, having a little snuggle down, when approaching ‘puberty’. Like kids playing with Mum’s makeup and bras, perhaps?
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Tweetypie
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by Tweetypie »

My 4 hens all lay in the same nest. I often thought it odd, when they have all that space. :-)19
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PageMossFarm
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by PageMossFarm »

So much to learn! :-)07 :D
Although I think I’ll be stumbling at the first hurdle which is the set up costs! I envisioned it being quite a frugal hobby :lol:
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Hen-Gen
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by Hen-Gen »

Unfortunately PMF like a lot of hobbies the start up costs are high but it’s very cheap thereafter. On the question of chicken coops I’ve yet to see one which I would consider worth buying. It’s almost as those who make them have never kept chickens in their lives. I advocate anyone scouring their local press and buying a second hand garden shed. Easy to clean, easy access and easy to catch a bird without it escaping. In addition a refuge for the hens in foul weather. And best of all, headroom for you rather than crawling about on your hands and knees. Plastic coops sound clean and hygienic but problems with wooden sheds are easily managed with appropriate cleaning materials and louse/mite control chemicals. If you need a run then one can be built on. This generally requires movement because the hens will soon turn the ground into an area of bare soil which is neither interesting to the hens nor free of disease. I am lucky enough to be able to free range my birds because we have no foxes or mink here.
When I started I had a shed with a window and Smiths Crisps cardboard boxes laid on their sides as laying boxes on the floor. This sounds a bit basic but it met the birds needs for a dark secure place in which to lay and also their instinctive desire to lay at ground level as wild chickens do. Also the boxes could be removed, burnt and replaced at no cost. Also remember that chickens are birds of the jungle floor in relatively shady conditions. Open skies are actually quite stressful for them.
I make these statements to show that costs can be low. The fancy designs of coops are more to do with the owners needs to nurture than the needs of the chickens.
Now I realise some of the things I have said will be disputed. Such is life because everyone has different views when it comes to livestock.
A cottage on an island in the eye of the storm
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rick
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by rick »

I so agree Hen Gen! Coops that are marketed to new keepers are 99% not guided by good chicken keeping design. I stopped short of saying 'good design' because that includes what is marketable to a new keeper who, like me, didn't have a clue - trad chicken coops look like barrel top caravans or quaint cottages right? Its the scale that always misleads.
Anyway - to be more constructive rather than exasperated! :) The bigger the better as far as both coops and runs are concerned.
bigyetiman
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by bigyetiman »

Agree also. When we moved here the previous owners had converted a summer house that was by the filled in swimming pool into a coop with a run attached. It is big and roomy with smooth lined walls easy to clean. We moved the two fixed perches that meant you had to limbo under them for cleaning and the ends into the wall were a red mite hotel.
We made free standing perches that could come out and be scrubbed clean.
It was a real godsend during the beast from the east, they refused to venture outside, other than to run into the smaller coop in the extension run to egg lay. I could put their food and water in the coop, huge amount of straw and they were quite cosy and happy. It was interesting to see all feuds, pecking order completely vanished in the need to keep together against this weather phenomenon that had befallen them. Which from the looks was totally our fault
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PageMossFarm
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by PageMossFarm »

Well the run turned up yesterday and I hope to get it constructed next week :D Pictures to follow
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Marigold
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Re: Newbie - Chicken coop and run advice please?!

Post by Marigold »

Interesting times, good luck with the build, Gareth.
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