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Adjusting the coop – Creating a chicken nursery/hospital

Sometimes in life you feel inspired by an idea. Maybe you establish a goal, and perhaps you even accomplish it. But in life, things never turn out perfect. We have to learn to make adjustments. Our coop was one of those.

Last year, my boyfriend designed and built a coop for me. We had read a lot of ideas and from there he designed my fancy coop. I have to say, no matter what you build, later you’ll always think of something you should have done different, or will wind up changing.  Now don’t get me wrong, I really like my coop, and my chickens do too!

Honestly, my man is freakin’ awesome and creative.  The coop he designed has two sets of 4 nesting boxes that protrude from the sides of the coop. Within each set, the dividers are removable.

At the time Will made them removable for easy cleaning. However, We just discovered a new perk. We can convert a set of boxes into a nursery/hospital! We originally wanted to get it done in the spring for when we bring new birds to the flock. We plan to get them old enough to be outside without heat, but young enough that they may not be ready to be with the older hens right away.

Recently though, we’ve had a need to separate one of my hens. Her name is Fajita. Ever since we got her, it’s been a battle to keep her healthy. She is a Brahma (not sure if this is a common breed issue but her sister, also a Brahma, had similar issues and had to be put down early on). She has a knack for pulling out her own tail feathers.  Then the others spot blood and start pecking at her.  On top of that, she’s the most calm natured one of the bunch.  So naturally, she is at the bottom of the pecking order.  It has been a battle to keep this bird healthy and every time she starts growing her tail feathers back and acting like she might start fitting in, things go down hill again.

Last week Will helped me build a frame that we inserted (easily removable for when she’s at 100%).  She now has her own food and water she doesn’t have to fight the others for.  My hope is that with protection from the others, and having unlimited access to food and water, she’ll mend and make a full recovery.

Question to fellow Brahma owners, has anyone had similar issues with this breed?  I love their calm nature.  Both Brahmas when we first got them would welcome me picking them up.  Even Fajita as she has gotten older, she is super friendly with us and would rather sit with me then play in the yard.  But she continually stays at the bottom of the pecking order and his constantly harassed by others.  And unlike other birds that will fend for themselves, she just takes the beating.  Thus her state now.  So if you are familiar with Brahmas, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I’ll post more later on her recovery!

*UPDATE ON FAJITA – She just wasn’t doing well.  Considering I do work a full time job, I realized she just wouldn’t be able to get the proper care needed to nurse her back to health.  Since she showed no signs of improvement, I decided to put her out of her misery.  Poor Fajita is now at peace.  The experience in dealing with her various issues has taught me a lot!  I have learned a lot of things to watch for, and definitely the importance of separating a chicken much sooner than I did with her.  Now that the coop has it’s adjustment where I can separate a sick chicken, hopefully I’ll have more success in nursing chickens back to health in the future!

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