Chicken Care Questions


Feb 20, 2015
Willamette Valley, Oregon

I had some questions about taking care of the chickens that my parents and I have.

The first had to do with supplementing their diet. They are on grower feed right now (they're too young still for laying). Is there anything else (maybe scratch or greens, if they're not getting grass) that we should be supplementing their diet with?

I plan (cost permitting) to get them checked/treated for parasites before going on vacation in August (so that I can hopefully keep them from bringing any unwanted guests with them to the chicken boarding place they are staying at). Should I be looking at deworming them sooner, or is July soon enough (they were born in February)?

The other has to do with keeping our stationary run clean enough to keep the chickens (and us) healthy.. I have been removing their poop at least once a day, in the areas I can reach. Do I need to worried about the areas I can't reach very well (mainly under their house and in a covered run that is connected to their bigger uncovered run)?


supplementing their diet relies on their age. how old are they?
if they are getting greens make sure they are getting grit too.
regarding deworming, I wouldn't deworm unless you know that they have some parasite as it can be taxing on their system otherwise. try giving probiotics to them in advance to strengthen their systems.

if the main part of the run is clean, a few droppings should e ok. just remember that droppings attract flies. try putting sand in those areas to absorb the moisture and keep larvae breeding to a minimum.

hope this helps!
I commend you for wanting to keep your chickens healthy and have a clean environment for them. it takes commitment and work. Try a narrow leaf rake for hard to reach spots. A clean run means no fly problem in summer. It's well worth the effort.

Chances are pretty good your chickens don't even have worms and never will. You can mail a few stool samples to a university agricultural lab and they can tell you if there are any common parasites in them and also common bacteria like salmonella. It's not very expensive. Call them and they will instruct you on how to collect and package the samples and where to mail them.

I did this a year ago for my own peace of mind. I found my flock is harboring no parasites or common bacteria. It's good to know.
Thanks for your replies. We got them from a feedstore the last week in February, and one of the chicks (the Welsummer) was from a batch that had been there a week). So, I would say they are somewhere between two and three months old. In answer to the grit question, I believe my parents were thinking they would pick up all of the grit they needed from being outside. Does that sound accurate? They have been eating grass without any apparent problems.

I do feel better about the run after reading your replies. My parents and my sister (who have both successfully raised free range chickens before) have all been telling me they think I'm crazy to try to keep the run picked up. I was afraid it would get to be a real mess if I didn't, considering that these chickens are not free range (my Mom decided she didn't want them in the yard, because she wants to be able to go barefoot.

I will definitely have a stool sample checked before giving them any treatment.
What is on the "floor" of your run? Is it covered? Our chickens are only 2 months old but I've never picked up in the run or the coop for that matter other than on the poop board filled with PDZ. I shift out the poop from the poop board everyday or two but just add pine shavings on the floor from time to time. The run is covered and has dirt, grass, leaves, grass clippings and other lawn debris on the ground. The poop disappears. I've never picked up. I have no flies and no odor.

I have 6 chickens. A large flock might make a difference.
Oh, absolutely, a larger amount of chickens has a logarithmic poop result!

Essentially, a run floor of composting matter will be self-maintaining, and with only six chickens, the uncomposted matter won't present much of an odor problem, and flies won't be attracted since it quickly sifts below the surface.

Back when I had just five chickens, I used wood chips, not to be confused with shavings, and the debris fell quickly to the soil level and was not even noticed. Now that I have 23 chickens, it's an entirely different matter. The poop volume is prodigious, and I wouldn't be able to enjoy my chickens as much if I didn't keep it picked up. Thankfully, a sand run is very easy to scoop poop.
Thanks for your replies. In answer to your questions, I have three chickens total, and we used the side of our house/fence for the run. It has bark mulch and leaves for the floor. Does this sound too small for letting it go? If not, I would be happy to try the composting/decomposing naturally method, as long as it shouldn't pose a human or a chicken health hazard.

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