Help a Newbie setting up a new chicken coop.

by Kristin
(Calgary, AB)

I live on a small farm outside of Calgary, AB. We have a bird coop already full of chuckers and pigeons that we use for dog training. There is a small building next to the existing coop, must have been used as a tack shed once upon a time (and when I say small its still atleast 10' x 5' by 10' high). I want to convert this to my chicken coop.

For the other birds we have electricity, water, etc, so I would just use the same system in the coop with water and feed dispensers.

Seeing as its October here in Calgary, winter is well on its way. When is a good time to get chickens? Should I start with older or younger chickens?

We have grain on the farm, so I plan on making my own mixture of feed. Do I just place these in the feed dispensers, or on the ground? Where do I put the grit?

Any recommendations on how to set up the shed? Should there be shelves with ramps to allow the chickens to go there to nest? Do I build nests or does the chicken do that? How high should I make the shelving?

I was planning on insulating the shed and using light bulbs for heat, as that is what we do in the other bird coop. Any other recommendations? Should I put in some form of a window for fresh air/light?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm pretty new at this, but pretty excited at the same time.


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Oct 11, 2012
Canadian chickens
by: Marvin

I would wait until April or so to get baby chicks due to your cold winters, OR get 8 week or older birds now.
So far as feed - If you put the same feed in a feeder and on the ground near the feeder, chickens will usually eat the feed on the ground first. I have found that keeping a feeder will draw rodents, but tossing on the ground or floor only enough that they will clean it up pretty quick will deter the mice.
Nest boxes should be less than 4 feet off the floor. A ramp is ok, but a bar about " out from the nests and the chickens will fly up to it then get into the nests.
Use heat lamps, but don't let the air temp get too hot. Grown chickens will generate a lot of heat overnight. We do not use heat on grown chickens unless temp is below 10-degrees F. Ventilation is absolutely essential or they will get lung diseases.
Marvin Shelley, Real Estate Broker
Hogeye, Arkansas,USA

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