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Various questions

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all.

Ive been reading parts of this site for a few months. Since i got my 3 hens around June 2016. Not had chickens or poultry before so very new to it all but find this site very useful.

Im in the Midlands, UK.

A few questions...

My chickens sometimes run back and forth doing lengths of the coop. Is this normal. Its about 8-10ft long i think.

The weather is terrible here at the moment. Constant rain which has resulted in the holes they have dug out becoming puddles. It cant be cleared as it fills straight back up. Is this something i should be worried about?

The area they have to run around in quickly turned from lovely grass to mud. Which initially was hard in the summer. Now wet mud with the rain. It means they dont have much to scratch in. I tried putting hay, or bedding down but again, with the rain this turns in a mess. Does it matter if they dont have decent soil / grass to scratch and peck in.

Im getting eggs. So i assume this is good news that they are happy and healthy.
post #2 of 10
It's hard to take care of the problems you have described while the weather still isn't cooperating. But at least you have been able to identify the spots you need to take care of. About the only thing you could do while it's still raining is to bring in a lot of sand. Hay really doesn't help, as you already know. It just gets tramped down into the mud and makes things worse later on. The sand will raise the area they walk on up enough that at least their feet will be dry. Consider covering the run to keep at least some of th rain out. Build up the middle so the rain/water can drain off to the sides and out the run area in the future.
Living in mud won't hurt them for a short while but can lead to health problems long term. They will be healthier and happier in a dry coop/run. Check out the forum on coop/run design and maintenance for other ideas how to fix a muddy run.
They run up and down the coop because they want to get out in the yard and look for bugs. They quickly destroy all the grass and insects in their enclosure and look for new territory. It's normal.
post #3 of 10

Also, If you can put a roof on the run with a tarp? It will keep things drier.....

 

 

Cheers!

Bouncers Mom..........Quack!
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Bouncers Mom..........Quack!
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post #4 of 10

I would advise against sand....it does not work out in the long term in most places.

 

Dry plant materials.....a MIX of different sizes, shapes, materials...is very effective both short and long term.

 

Here's a great description of contents and how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run or coop...and there's a great video of what it looks like.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please#post_16017992

 

Shielding run from rain and/or runoff will definitely help too.


Edited by aart - 11/23/16 at 5:23am

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Many thanks for ur answers on this one guys and gals.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by coopobot View Post

Many thanks for ur answers on this one guys and gals.


I am new to chickens also.  I had asked some questions about my hens not laying.  Found out from many of you helpful people that decreased egg production this time of year is normal.  But I did change a few things.  First we have 2 ducks that live with the chickens.  I now let the ducks out of the coop an hour or 2 before the chickens.  I am using "poop boards" underneath the roost area and it does make it much easier to clean and easier to save poop for compost.  I also try to "fluff" their boxes and inside the house once a week.  I got 9 eggs just 2 days ago!  Slowly but surely they started laying again.  We live in CO so @night the warming light comes on every hour and a half for 30 minutes instead of being on all night.  We do want them to have nice thick feathers as we do let them out for most of the day.  Just making those small changes has made a huge difference in egg production.  I also was forgetting to give them calcium, we use the oyster shell.  Thanks for all the advice, hope this will help someone else!

post #7 of 10

@coopobot

Hi

 

Not sure if you are aware of it or not but here in the UK, the powers that be have ordered a compulsory lock down of all poultry for 30 days from the 6th Dec. to hopefully prevent spread of avian flu from the continent via migrating birds. The idea is to prevent your birds from being infected from contact with wild birds, their poop or water and feed that they have had contact with. At the very least you need to put a tarpaulin over your run if you are still letting your chickens out of the coop and ensure wild birds cannot get into your run to access chicken food and water. This applies to hobby poultry keepers with just a few birds as well as big commercial enterprises. It's a total nightmare, especially when you have 70+ birds like me and normally free range, but wouldn't want to be the person that didn't comply and was responsible for an outbreak, as well as risk losing favourite birds. Just thought I had better mention it since your run obviously isn't covered.

 

For what it's worth, I agree with aart. Keep putting a layer of dry vegetable material down when it gets icky. Straw is probably better than hay and collect a few bags of dry fallen leaves next time you go out for a country walk and alternate those with straw. This will make the ground better able to absorb and break down the chickens poop. A tarp will definitely help the problem q lot though as well as help protect your hens from the risk of avian flu.

 

Regards

 

Barbara 

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebrascora View Post

@coopobot

Hi

Not sure if you are aware of it or not but here in the UK, the powers that be have ordered a compulsory lock down of all poultry for 30 days from the 6th Dec. to hopefully prevent spread of avian flu from the continent via migrating birds. The idea is to prevent your birds from being infected from contact with wild birds, their poop or water and feed that they have had contact with. At the very least you need to put a tarpaulin over your run if you are still letting your chickens out of the coop and ensure wild birds cannot get into your run to access chicken food and water. This applies to hobby poultry keepers with just a few birds as well as big commercial enterprises. It's a total nightmare, especially when you have 70+ birds like me and normally free range, but wouldn't want to be the person that didn't comply and was responsible for an outbreak, as well as risk losing favourite birds. Just thought I had better mention it since your run obviously isn't covered.

For what it's worth, I agree with aart. Keep putting a layer of dry vegetable material down when it gets icky. Straw is probably better than hay and collect a few bags of dry fallen leaves next time you go out for a country walk and alternate those with straw. This will make the ground better able to absorb and break down the chickens poop. A tarp will definitely help the problem q lot though as well as help protect your hens from the risk of avian flu.

Regards

Barbara 

Barbara.

I was not aware at all. Thank you so much for letting me know.

I will look into upgrading the coop tomorrow. Not sure where indoors i could keep them, or if it is fair on them to keep them enclosed in such a small area for a month solid.

In relation to the mud, by 'dry vegetable material '. What exactly do u mean?
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by coopobot View Post
 
 

In relation to the mud, by 'dry vegetable material '. What exactly do u mean?

I left a link that explains in post #4

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Not sure where indoors i could keep them, or if it is fair on them to keep them enclosed in such a small area for a month solid.

Tell me about it! I'm having a nervous breakdown with mine! I've done some minor construction work for some but it is killing me seeing them so "cooped up" when they normally free range my paddocks and garden. I am having to try to muck out and replenish feeders and waterers after dark so that I don't have any escapees although I did have 2 bantam pekins dash past me out the door this afternoon when I went to give them a treat. Didn't take long to round them up and put them back though. Putting some mixed grain in a plastic bottle with a small hole cut out/drilled in it is a useful toy to keep them occupied....scratching and rolling it around until grains fall out of the hole. 

 

Dry vegetable matter is just that...any dry vegetation...grass/hay, straw, leaves, shredded hedge cuttings, pine needles. wood chips or bark, wood shavings, sawdust...just keep layering it up as needed. The higher it gets the less muddy it will become and the chickens will love digging through it....just like a compost pile. Then you can dig it out and spread it on the garden in the spring.    

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