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Old 12-01-2013, 08:49 PM   #41
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EW> You should be ok using the chicken wire over the top as long as it's secured well.... raccoons are more active after dusk when most chickens have gone in their little coops for the night. I wouldn't use it around the bottom of the chain link though. I'd use about 18" of hardware cloth around the bottom. They can't chew through hardware cloth and they won't be able to stick their paws through it to grab any chicks sleeping in the corners of the run. Chicks do need to be trained to go in at night. Usually older birds will train them but if you don't have any older birds.... you're the older "chick" and you're the 1 who gets them in the habit of going in at dusk. And.... without fail.... the 1st time you aren't around to stuff the chicks in their little coop.... that's when the raccoon will pay you a visit and kill them through the chainlink. The raccoons won't be able to do that if there's hardware cloth around the bottom.
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:42 AM   #42
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The hardware cloth around the bottom will keep the snakes out too. Yes I will put them in every night. That will be a challenge until they get used to the routine. That was a good tip about finding a vet. I need to start asking people. I'm sure they are around. There is a huge chicken egg operation a mile from here. Some of the neighbors have chickens too. I just thought of it...Southern States store could recommend a vet and I can get chicks there too. That's where I buy my horse feed.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:09 PM   #43
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Uh uh.... snakes will slither right up the hardware cloth and through chain link. The chicks really need to be safely tucked away in their coop at or shortly after dusk or they're at risk of being used as dietary supplements by the night shift.
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You only need to put them in before dusk for about a week.... after that.... they start going in on their own and all you have to do is go out and lock down the coop after they're in.
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I wait until just a little bit after dark when the chicks are all laying down in the run somewhere in a clump and start moving them into the coop..... much easier than trying to round them up before the sun sets when they're still active unless.... you want a good work out chasing chicks.
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I read somewhere that if we lock them in a new coop for the 1st 2 days that they make the connection the coop is "home" faster. Me.... I start acclimating mine to the great outdoors by putting them in a chicken tractor during the day and back in the brooder at night until they've got enough body weight on them to handle overnight temps which.... is usually another week or so.... it depends on the weather. Once they're big enough and ready to stay out 24/7.... I don't bother putting them out in the tractor anymore during the day. I lock them in the little coop with crumbles and water for a day or so. After a few days... I open the door and let them out into their new run. I do think locking them up for a few days in a new coop helps reduce the number of days I physically have to move them into the coop at the end of the day.
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"There is a huge chicken egg operation a mile from here. Some of the neighbors have chickens too." Where there are eggs.... there are chickens. I didn't realize there was a commercial poultry operation that close to you. You might want to check into whether or not you'd want your new vet vaccinating chicks you hatch for Mareks and if that's not possible.... you might want to consider buying day olds from hatcheries that offer Mareks vaccinated chicks. I'm not a big proponent of vaccines but.... I am a proponent of the Mareks vaccine. To each his own on that based on their assessment of the risks.
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:55 PM   #44
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I asked at Southern States today and they said they would save a cracked trough for me if they get one. I have a fenced backyard. Inside that is my 36 foot chainlink run. I have 2 large dog houses. Can I use them as a coop and shut the chickens in them at night? During the day they will stay in the run until they are big enough. Eventually they will be in the backyard during the day. Looks like the backyard water garden will need to be moved.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:31 PM   #45
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A cracked trough is perfect and you'll be able to reuse it where cardboard boxes are pretty much 1-use and then you have to pitch them. If the crack is in the bottom.... you may want to put a piece of plastic down so their little tootsies don't get stuck in the crack. 1 thing I've learned about chicks and chickens is that if they can find a way to injure or kill themselves.... they will.
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That chainlink run sounds ideal. I use a large dog house we bought at a garage sale for a small coup. I put meat birds in that run that won't be around longer than 12 weeks. I added a perch to it and a piece of plywood to the front that latches so I can lock em in at night. Now.... that dog house is for a 200 lb plus dog so it's a jumbo doghouse and even so.... it can only fit 5 birds on the perch side by side so keep that in mind. At some point, you'll want a larger coop because your chicks will start laying eggs at about 6 mos of age and even a large dog house won't be able to accommodate nest boxes. Maybe check around with your neighbors and see if anyone has any kids' playhouses you could convert to a small coop or better yet.... see what's on sale at Craigslist or being offered for haul off at FreeCycle. Coops and small structures that could be converted to a coop are out there.... you'll just have to start watching for them.
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Also too... I've used the doghouse coop for 2 hens I had that were co-parenting. They didn't use the perch. I just filled up the bottom with hardwood shavings and at night they'd go in and all their babies would follow them in and settle in underneath them. I wanted to give them some space away from the other birds to raise their chicks and the dog house coop is in a run that's only 16 x 16 and it worked out just perfect. I did move them into the large run soon as they started getting cramped in the doghouse. The other issue with the doghouse is mine isn't insulated. It's a great late spring, summer, and early fall temporary coop solution for non egg laying birds.
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I don't know that you need to move your backyard water gardens. Maybe just put screening around them so they don't mess up your plants. Chickens will peck at everything.
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:09 PM   #46
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I love the thread title. I was worried about the chickens drowning in the water garden.
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:08 PM   #47
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I gave mine a kiddie pool with water in it and they didn't have any problems. I did put a length of 2x4 in it.... just in case. When I wanted to break 1 of my hens from being broody I "floated" her in a decent sized Coleman cooler filled with cool water and she floated on the surface just like a duck. It was 1 of the funniest things I've ever seen.
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:38 PM   #48
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That's interesting
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Old 12-23-2013, 06:08 PM   #49
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Will mature chickens fight off cats? I found a home for the purple martin project so I'm hoping I might be able to get chickens this spring.
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Old 12-24-2013, 02:29 AM   #50
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A rooster would try.... he probably wouldn't be successful but... he'd try.... a hen wouldn't try. Hens would try to run away from them. The problem with cats and chickens is the same problem with cats and other critters.... the chicken or critter might "survive" the initial attack but.... they'll die a few days later from the infection they'll get from the cat's teeth breaking the skin. It's why we've been trapping cats for all these years. Good thing we've been keeping up or we would've been over run by now.
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I'm really sorry you had to pass on setting up your purple martin houses. I think the next time your neighbor goes on vacation you should really consider reducing her surplus population. Even if you find a home for 1 of her cats....that'll be 1 less cat out there killing wildlife and 1 less cat you'll have to protect your chickens from.
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baby chicks, backyard, brooder, brooder set up, brooders, care, caring, chickens, chicks, day old chicks, feeding, gardens, gardens…, hens, hens and gardens, photos, poultry, setup, step by step, water

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