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Any advice please on caring for hens in winter when working full time? - Page 4

post #31 of 102

Ah, yours is the sweet set up at the top of the page! Very nice. :thumbsup

 

I don't like stepping on poop either and hope to have grand kids one day but neither of mine are that interested in the difficult task that raising kids is. :/

post #32 of 102

I am also a teacher and besides day school, work night school until 8:30 two nights a week. Although we have a secure pen, I still worry about raccoons, so took one night's earnings and bought an automated door. It came with a solar panel to charge the battery and a light sensor to open at dawn and close at dusk, so I never need to adjust it. A minute after it closes, it reopens briefly to enable stragglers to get in. They look around with a panic stricken "Where did everybody go" and as soon as the door reopens, make a mad dash inside. I've only seen this happen a few times, as they are good about being inside on time. As far as cleaning, weekends are ample. In the winter, I use deep litter. I do have a good sized coop shed, about 8' by 10' and use a mix of hay and shavings tossed in every day I am home early enough. The feeders hold several days worth and I have a water heater  that I use in winter so I don't have to worry about the water icing up. The rest of the time I have 2 water cylinders and a hanging bucket with nipples, so water lasts a while.

post #33 of 102

I planned as much as I could for "low maintenance" when I got chickens last February.

 

Two items that have helped my peace of mind are a four gallon waterer and a four gallon feeder. I made both from plans I found here. I could leave them go for  a week if necessary. And because I occasionally travel, I wanted things easy for the housesitter...

 

Once a week everything is checked, cleaned and filled. And that is a good time to put out a fun treat like a cabbage tetherball.

 

They are let out in the am and closed up in the pm.

 

This is the waterer, many people here use same. A similar bucket with pvc 90 degree 3 inch tubes inserted to reach the feed allows free feeding for about two weeks at least for my six. No pics of the feeder but excellent instructions can be found on the forum.

 

this is for grit, again once a week works here

 

They could even stay closed in the run if necessary. There is a dirt bath in there in a rubbermaid tub, grit, and calcium dispenser.

 

I planned it as well as I could and it is paying off now with our inclement weather. Tweaked as necessary.

 

I usually have time for little extras, but if I don't it is peace of mind to know their basic needs are met.

 

Oh and whitewash, as well as garden lime under the litter helps with mites and lice. See http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1096237/whitewash-the-inside-of-your-coop-recipe-cheap-and-easy


Edited by mobius - 12/13/16 at 9:30am
post #34 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EggSighted4Life View Post
 

Quite the opposite... Takes up no space but leaves my coop floor clean for hanging out and nobody gets pooped on when underneath. 

 

Also when the poo is wet, it just smears for me. Better to let it dry out a touch and then it comes up easily. :hu

 

All I can say is that what works for one may not work for another.

 

When I had only 3 chickens and a smaller coop I put off cleaning inside the coop as long as I could, But I lived in the desert and everything dried fast. They spent zero time in their coop except sleeping. It seemed like such a terrible task. Truth is my set up wasn't right like it it is now. 

 

Also how someone manages their time and all the other things in their head may not be the same. For example... my husband doesn't understand why I don't iron all his work clothes at the same time instead of getting up early every morning to do one outfit. It simple, doing one outfit takes 5 minutes verses an hour. My brain can do 5 minutes of ironing, no big deal. But all at once, I hate it! So it's just part of my routine and how I function best.

 

I guess it's the opposite for coop cleaning. Trying to chase one little poo here or one little poo there wastes my time. If I wait a couple days, I can grab a rake and shovel and be done in probably 10 minutes. It's an ongoing learning and adjusting process that sometimes changes from season to season. And I don't always wanna scoop poop and go wash my hand before I can do anything else.

 

I do agree though that dried chicken poop is like cement. So the ones that are stuck on my ramp get scraped with the shovel. But if I do it wet, it's still there waiting for one of my feather footed girls to come make pretty boots out of it. At least that's my current observation... will adjust as needed. ;)

 

But living in the PNW and having birds that often hang out inside on rainy days, I will NEVER give up my droppings boards!

 

And the great thing about BYC is we all get to share what works or doesn't for us and hopefully learn from each other. :highfive:

 

And then you've got folks like the OP who literally don't have a speck of daylight when they aren't at work.... She goes way above and beyond. But maybe it's from fear mongers telling her if you don't clean everyday they're gonna die and be sick...  It's nice to have it clean, and everyday would be great, but there's gonna be poop somewhere all the time.

 

If you can smell ammonia, you've waited to long. Other than that whatever works best for you is awesome!

 

And I just feel blessed, not special... but never in 5 years have I lost a chicken to natural causes. I know it's just a matter of time before that does happen. But it won't be because I don't clean my coop everyday.

 

Guess I just had a lot to say, don't mean to keep going on and on like I have something to prove or a bone to pick, because I don't. :/

 

I would like to know your 3 minute method for that many chickens. Please describe your set up and weather conditions as well. Thank you :)

 

Thanks for this made me feel a lot better.  I still remove the poop each day as my little darlings love to sleep in the nest boxes - but am not so paranoid :yiipchick

post #35 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GardenDmpls View Post
 

I am also a teacher and besides day school, work night school until 8:30 two nights a week. Although we have a secure pen, I still worry about raccoons, so took one night's earnings and bought an automated door. It came with a solar panel to charge the battery and a light sensor to open at dawn and close at dusk, so I never need to adjust it. A minute after it closes, it reopens briefly to enable stragglers to get in. They look around with a panic stricken "Where did everybody go" and as soon as the door reopens, make a mad dash inside. I've only seen this happen a few times, as they are good about being inside on time. As far as cleaning, weekends are ample. In the winter, I use deep litter. I do have a good sized coop shed, about 8' by 10' and use a mix of hay and shavings tossed in every day I am home early enough. The feeders hold several days worth and I have a water heater  that I use in winter so I don't have to worry about the water icing up. The rest of the time I have 2 water cylinders and a hanging bucket with nipples, so water lasts a while.


Ha ha I love the picture :D

 

Well thankfully racoons are not an issue here in the UK but I have thought of getting an automated door.  My girls love their early nights so should be fine.  Was giggling at the 'where did everybody go?' can just imagine their little faces :cd

 

Thanks so much for sharing, really appreciate it.

post #36 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius View Post
 

I planned as much as I could for "low maintenance" when I got chickens last February.

 

Two items that have helped my peace of mind are a four gallon waterer and a four gallon feeder. I made both from plans I found here. I could leave them go for  a week if necessary. And because I occasionally travel, I wanted things easy for the housesitter...

 

Once a week everything is checked, cleaned and filled. And that is a good time to put out a fun treat like a cabbage tetherball.

 

They are let out in the am and closed up in the pm.

 

This is the waterer, many people here use same. A similar bucket with pvc 90 degree 3 inch tubes inserted to reach the feed allows free feeding for about two weeks at least for my six. No pics of the feeder but excellent instructions can be found on the forum.

 

this is for grit, again once a week works here

 

They could even stay closed in the run if necessary. There is a dirt bath in there in a rubbermaid tub, grit, and calcium dispenser.

 

I planned it as well as I could and it is paying off now with our inclement weather. Tweaked as necessary.

 

I usually have time for little extras, but if I don't it is peace of mind to know their basic needs are met.

 

Oh and whitewash, as well as garden lime under the litter helps with mites and lice. See http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1096237/whitewash-the-inside-of-your-coop-recipe-cheap-and-easy


Wow!  I love the idea of this as I remove the feeders and water every night and replace the next morning.  This would save a lot of time and effort. 

 

Where can I find the instructions please? 

 

Thanks so much for this.  As we have a restriction order  in the UK at the moment for Avian Flu - this will really help with bio security.

 

Thanks again :goodpost: 

post #37 of 102

Here are the feeder instructions I used. Best ever and tip of hat to the author! Be sure to place it on blocks or raise it up off floor or mine kick shavings in the holes sometimes otherwise...

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/834227e/make-your-own-no-waste-5-gallon-25-feed-bucket-feeder-for-about-3

 

The waterer...simply a bucket, order the horizontal nipples from ebay or similar, and drill a couple holes lower down. You can use my pic as an example. I put that bucket in the coop in an unused nesting box to help with floor space(actually both feeder and waterer are in coop in case I have to close them in so always available sources of water and food). The nipples simply screw in and don't leak. Amazing, huh? Again, elevate the bucket to about head level. Head level of chickens, I mean, lol. I put a little apple cider vinegar and sometimes a smashed garlic clove in their water...

 

Dustbath: 50/50 peat moss and wood ash, altho dirt and some sand also seems acceptable as well, wood ash helps with lice/mites too, and I am not using DE for anything at this time...because there are other alternatives...and I am not sure about it...

 

Grit feeder and calcium (crushed eggshell feeder): two open bowls simply nailed or hung on run sides works quite well!

 

Let us know how it turns out! Or if any more questions!


Edited by mobius - 12/13/16 at 10:25am
post #38 of 102

I work as a lab teacher and menagerie manager in a high school veterinary science program and the picture was taken at my desk. I miss that pigeon. I have a chicken, Amelia Earhart, who is always sitting on my shoulder. She likes to eat leaves from that perch while I am harvesting beans that we grow on the mesh of their large pen. According to my daughters (one in Bristol, the other in London), people in England are very enthusiastic about keeping chickens. .

post #39 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by GardenDmpls View Post
 

I work as a lab teacher and menagerie manager in a high school veterinary science program and the picture was taken at my desk. I miss that pigeon. I have a chicken, Amelia Earhart, who is always sitting on my shoulder. She likes to eat leaves from that perch while I am harvesting beans that we grow on the mesh of their large pen. According to my daughters (one in Bristol, the other in London), people in England are very enthusiastic about keeping chickens. .


Speaking of head level...:gig

post #40 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius View Post
 

Here are the feeder instructions I used. Best ever and tip of hat to the author! Be sure to place it on blocks or raise it up off floor or mine kick shavings in the holes sometimes otherwise...

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/834227e/make-your-own-no-waste-5-gallon-25-feed-bucket-feeder-for-about-3

 

The waterer...simply a bucket, order the horizontal nipples from ebay or similar, and drill a couple holes lower down. You can use my pic as an example. I put that bucket in the coop in an unused nesting box to help with floor space(actually both feeder and waterer are in coop in case I have to close them in so always available sources of water and food). The nipples simply screw in and don't leak. Amazing, huh? Again, elevate the bucket to about head level. Head level of chickens, I mean, lol. I put a little apple cider vinegar and sometimes a smashed garlic clove in their water...

 

Dustbath: 50/50 peat moss and wood ash, altho dirt and some sand also seems acceptable as well, wood ash helps with lice/mites too, and I am not using DE for anything at this time...because there are other alternatives...and I am not sure about it...

 

Grit feeder and calcium (crushed eggshell feeder): two open bowls simply nailed or hung on run sides works quite well!

 

Let us know how it turns out! Or if any more questions!


Oh thank you so much.  You are a star! :bow

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