The chicks are heading into their 5th week in the brooder and will be ready to move into the coop the following week. This is what I call their transitional week. Their radiant heat heat source is slowly taken away, and they’ll also lose their all-night red lighting.
The first few nights I switch from red lighting to a white night light, then the night light is taken away. By the time they transition from brooder to coop they will have learned to accept cooler temperatures and total darkness at night.
In most parts of the country chicks are kept in the brooder until they are fully feathered, which is usually around 8 weeks. Here in Phoenix, Arizona, by the end of April temperatures during the day reach about 85-90, lows about 65. Therefore, it’s plenty warm to move the chicks to the coop at about 6 weeks. As you can see, they’re pretty well feathered already!
The Finished Coop
The coop is an existing 10×10 x walk-in covered dog enclosure converted to a chicken coop. It’s inside a 3 stall covered open air barn, offering them plenty of shade and fresh air. It has taken almost 3 weeks to completely cover the chair link fencing with 1/2 inch hardware cloth. Needless to say, I have spent my self-quarantine time wisely. Unfortunately, my fingers are a mess from working with stubborn wire and zip ties.
Predators have been a problem in the past, we have had our share of traumatic experiences with hawks, bobcats, and coyotes. I’ve lost at 8 birds over the years, with so much time on my hands, this was a good time to put the effort into predator proofing the coop. Not to mention keeping wild birds from entering the coop and eating all the chicken feed!
Tip: Chicken wire isn’t going to keep your birds safe from predators, always use hardware cloth. Chicken wire can be chewed through or easily bent to give predators access. Also, lay /bury hardware cloth at the base of the coop to prevent digging by raccoons and coyotes, etc. More About Predators
A Tip for Better Visibility Into your Chicken Coop
Want to be able to see your chickens better when they are housed behind hardware cloth? Fact: chicken wire and hardware cloth on chicken coops lessens visibility, especially in broad daylight.
There’s a simple solution, paint it black! Not hard to do, just use a roller and flat black paint on at least the outside of the hardware cloth. You’ll be amazed how much better you can see your birds.
When building a coop it can be fun using scrap materials, brainstorming ways to be creative, and save money. But all to often where you scrimped ends up costing you more later. One decision you might make for example, is to choose chicken wire for your flock’s enclosure, here’s why not…
When building a coop it can be fun using scrap materials, brainstorming ways to be creative, and save money. But all to often where you scrimped ends up costing you more later. One decision you might make for example, is to choose chicken wire for your flock’s enclosure. It’s cheap and easy to handle, but I think in the long run you’ll find it wasn’t at all worth saving those few pennies.
First of all, chicken wire is NOT predator proof. There are countless animals who can chew right through the stuff. Secondly, if you’re penny wise, you certainly aren’t going to fancy wasting expensive chicken feed. Wild birds are the biggest culprit in feed waste. One little sparrow might not eat much, but that tiny sparrow will soon bring 100’s of friends who will devour 3 pounds or more in just one afternoon! These little guys can fit through the holes in chicken wire, not only costing you money, but they’ll poop everywhere. I think we can both agree, we don’t need any more cleaning added to the chore list!
I’ve said this before, but it’s just plain smarter to build everything right the first time! Use hardware cloth on chicken coops, and enclosures. It’s stronger, and an extra perk is it’s tidy appearance. The ends can be finished nicely, it doesn’t bend making your coop look like a train wreck as time goes by.
You’ll find hardware cloth at Home Depot or similar building supply stores. Check your local feed stores too, sometimes they’ll sell by the foot so you don’t have to buy more than you need.