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#74192 - 07/06/04 09:07 PM A Kick in the Right Direction
Jam Master J Offline
Feather

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 30
Loc: New Jersey
My son recently got a chick and over the weekend I built a 4 by 8 chicken coop. I just have a few questions.

1. How big of an opening in the side of the coop should I cut to allow the chickens to move in and out? (According to what I have read if I keep them in the coop for a few days before letting them out they will return each night.

2. I am building a fence that will be between 6-8 feet tall. Will that be tall enough to prevent the chickens from flying out?

3. Someone also told me that trimming the feather on one side of the chicken will make them unbalanced and prevent them from flying out. Will that be enough for a 6-8 foot fencde

4. To get the chickens through the winter, what is the number of chickens I will need to keep them alive in an unheated coop. Will warm water changes be enough or should I plan on running an electric cord and light bulb for the winter? I live in New Jersey....

Just Happy to be Here,
JamMasterJ

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#74193 - 07/07/04 03:20 AM Re: A Kick in the Right Direction
Anonymous
Unregistered


I would make an opening about 1 foot square - could be somewhat smaller, but my personal preference.
Also I would raise the opening off the floor of the coop about 6 inches (the chickens will hop over), this will keep most of the bedding/floor cover (pine shavings, or etc.) inside the coop.

They might fly over the fence, they will have the ability, but might not use it - I would wait and see.
Clipping: (This isn't done until the chickens are older and grow their flight feathers) Using sharp scissors, clip the ends off the feathers at the end of one wing (10 feathers, often a different color).
Clipped chickens might have problems dropping the clipped feathers when they molt, and may require help.

If the coop is insulated you can get by without a lightbulb (though I would personaly get one).
Warm water is a bad idea as it freezes faster (don't know why - but true) also it will add moisture to the air in the coop, which can be very bad for the chickens.
Coop should be aired out daily in winter to the limit moisture brought in by the chickens (also to limit ammonia build up).
If you want to give your chickens something to warm them, you can give them some boiled potato to eat (inexpensive and easy).

I think 4 chicken is a good number for a small flock (don't go below 3) many people have flocks this size.

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#74194 - 07/07/04 08:36 PM Re: A Kick in the Right Direction
Anonymous
Unregistered


I think Dropkick did a nice job answering all your questions. I live in FL. and am amazed that the birds can survive the brutal winter cold and not get frostbit at the very least. I do not have lights for my older birds down here but my chicks have 100 watt bulbs till they feather out no matter what time of year it is. It is VERY hot here right now...95-100 degrees...BUT as soon as the storms build up in the afternoon it can drop 30 degrees and get extremely windy in just a few minutes. I just turned the light off my 5 week old chicks today. What kind of chicks did you get?
Sally

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#74195 - 07/07/04 09:17 PM Re: A Kick in the Right Direction
Jam Master J Offline
Feather

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 30
Loc: New Jersey
I have chicks.. What kind I don't know.. I am just saying prayers it is not a rooster. This one is about 4 weeks old and I imagine I will be moving to the chicken coop in about a month.

I have vacation the second week in August and will probably obtain a few chicks when I come back. This way I will have 3 or 4 going into the winter. My only concern is them flying out of the fence and making it through the winter. We do have times when it gets down in the 20's for extended periods of time. This is Jersey... We can have extended periods of real low temps for a month....

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