I just got my first trio of chickens yesterday! I'm very excited, but also worried for them. I live in an urban downtown area (Little Rock, AR), with a six-foot privacy fence around my entire yard. I've never seen any wildlife in this area of town besides small wild birds (cardinals, mockingbirds, sparrows, mostly) and grey squirrels. I occasionally see domesticated cats and dogs, but never inside our yard. Our coop is located on our carpad, which I hope will deter predators from getting inside, since they can't dig under to get in. We're going to replace the latches on the doors and windows with something a little more secure (they're just regular post latches, at the moment). The concrete floor and inside of the coop is lined with flake shavings (they're not there yet in the photos). We have a medium-sized dog that seems to also deter animals from entering our yard.
As for pest control, I'm using a combination of DE dusted in the shavings inside the coop, and a concoction of 1 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and a tablespoon of neem oil (a cheap, supposedly fantastic recipe for horse spray, but I'm not willing to use it directly on my chicklets) sprayed around the outside of the coop to control insects. I also sprayed it around our trash barrels. I want to keep a problem with flies, especially, from developing. We had a problem with them last year which led to having DOZENS of black widow spiders around our yard. Definitely do not want to attract them again. I'm also concerned about mites, since we have so many wild birds around, so I'm hoping the DE will take care of that.
Does this sound sufficient? Because my flock is so small, losing any of these babies will be a really hard hit. They're very nice exhibition Marans (A black copper pullet and cockerel, and a blue splash pullet) and I don't want anything to happen to them!
Also, is it acceptable to mix a little DE in with their feed to control worms? I read this somewhere, and wanted to be sure before I did it.
Thanks, everyone! I'm so new to this...I need all the help I can get!
Here's a picture of the yard as a whole (the coop is in the far right corner). There is a small dirt/grass area on the other side of the house that I will let them forage in after they get the idea that this is home, now!
And just to show him off a little...here's my black copper cockerel, Pierre. He's about a month and a half old:
And the blue splash pullet, Xaviere (she's not really exhibition quality, not much leg feathering or blue coloring...I just though she was so pretty!) She's about a month old: