Originally Posted by stephcamp4
New to this but I have a few questions for you seasoned mamma hen's! I've read plenty for months. I know there is still tons I have to learn but who better to go to than those who have been there done that and have a t-shirt. I bought 8 buff orp chicks thinking statistically I would lose 2, however, here we are, 7 weeks later and our 8 girls are doing great! We have a huge 10'X24' space, that's is protected from predators, wonderfully shaded, with great ventilation so they will get the nice breeze that comes through. Inside this space we built a hitch for our rabbits that takes up 10'X2' of the space as well as a 4'X4'X6'H coop for our girls to go into at night. We moved them into their new coop last night. Their nesting boxes are closed off until they are laying age.
We have a slip door for at night so we can close them in, until they know to go in the coop at night. (Question 1: How long must we do this for?).
In the morning before I let them out I used equal parts water/ vinegar as a (I read this was a safe and also natural pesticide) to clean outside around their coop and in the run. (Question 2: Is this okay? I read that is was natural and not harmful. I waited a bit for it to dry, before I let them. Do your believe this is okay?)
Lastly, before I brought the girls into the run last night I shoveled the rabbit poop out just to be safe. Although I did read about polyface farming. (Question 3: at 7 weeks do you believe it is okay for them to pick under the rabbit hutch and scratch through the compost? They have been going outside and scratching through the yard since they were a week old for bourse at a time. I just want to be safe. If you believe it can harm them I can put some chicken wire to block them from it until they are older!! I certainly do not want to loose any of our girls.)
Thanks for all your help!!
The new chicken mommy!
Answer to Question #1: You really should close them in and lock the door every night, even if they've learned to go in the coop. Predators that get into your run would see the open door and kill all your chickies.
Answer to Question #2: I think that your natural pesticide really is natural, but you might want some different opinions on this.
Answer to Question #3: Chickens are really tough. I think I'd be okay to let them under there, but if you start to see some having a hard time, you can move them again.
Also, I have some tips:
-Don't give them "Medicated water" or "filtered water". Give them the water that you will supply them with when they are in the coop. For instance, if you give the chicks hose water to drink, give them hose water in the coop.
-You should probably research about avian (bird) vets in your area. There's a great website called www.birdvetsnearyou.com that lets you put in your zip code or city and state and it finds a bird vet in your area.
-When you start to get near the age that they start to lay eggs (18-24 weeks), be patient. The chickens won't lay their eggs on their 18-week birthday. You may not see an egg until two or three weeks after they turn 18 weeks.
Hope this helped!