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clipping wings, trimming nails

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by embrown, May 3, 2009.

  1. embrown

    embrown Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2009
    We are newbies, 3 Isa Browns, 3 Bard Rocks. They are about 7 weeks old. We are about to move them outside to the coop. Neighbors are concerned about them flying over the fence, and I am blind and do not know what I will do if hubby is not home and one flies the coop. So, I was thinking about clipping their wings although I like to think that God made them with wings, so wings they will have...yet, I would like to keep them close to the ground and nearby the coop. When should I clip, how, and will it really help. These are backyard chickens as we live in a small town with neighbors very close. Neighbors are good on one side, the others are city folks and also worried about the smell so we could use info on how to best manage odor with which type of bedding and disposal. Also, I have kids under 8 and the nails of the chicks are scratching up their arms as the girls love to be held and to scramble to the shoulders of the little people. Any suggestions now that it is finally short sleeve weather.
     
  2. cw

    cw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    nails i dont know, th wings you will have to clip every time they molt

    as far as odor try pine shavings first
     
  3. KattyKillFish

    KattyKillFish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2009
    Dillingham, Alaska
    clipping the wings isn't a problem at all. we have to remember, they were born with wings in the wild but these are domestic creatures. with our protection, they don't need to fly because often it gets them in trouble.

    how close are your neighbors? we have one really close neighbors who don't complain about anything but our fence (they use our yard as a shortcut, we don't like that). on top of that we can't smell the chicken poo until we are right up close to it. (about 4 feet from the coop) but if odor begins to be a problem use pine shavings as bedding.

    as for trimming the nails, all you need to do is use a nail file to sand off the points, but not remove the whole nail. just dull them, they need their nails to scratch around for food. [​IMG] welcome to the world of chickens! they are a great joy to have and are very rewarding pets [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  4. embrown

    embrown Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2009
    [/Thank you, I am absolutely in Love with these little girls. In fact, just today, as we were planning to build a coop I just cried thinking of them not where I can reach and pet them each time I pass there brooder. So, we changed our plans. I am thinking we will build out a coop in the corner inside the garage with a man door, so I can check in a lot, and sit in there with them in bad weather or evenings to hold them and pet them. Then it will have a pet door to the outside run. There is a window right there for light and ventilation and the garage is a storage place, not for cars, so not so many fumes. It will be easy to manage litter and cleaning in that spot, there is electricity fo light balbs in winter, a heat source if needed, and just a few feet from the outside water source so I think it is a good location. As for the neighbors, they are about 50 ft on the south side of our yard, they are city folk but I am resolved to clip the wings for the chickens safety as it is a town with roads and the neighbor dogs and the like. Then on the West we have great neighbors who lived on a farm, want to be part of caring for and cleaning up after the chicks. They wanted us to get more so we could keep some for them too. Then we are on a corner so no neighbors immediately on the north and East, so that is good. We can have the chicks, but just barely meet the distance requirements to the fence on the South according to code. We built a grape arbor on the South end of the property, because we like and wanted grapes, as a screen to the neighbors who have not bought in yet, and as a potential odor barier too. I will try the filing the nails, I think they may not like that, they are busy little chicks. I am hearing the beginnings of clucks, very fun. I think we decided we will go with the DE and pine shaving bedding, I think that will be the easiest, doing that inside we have almost no poop smell. How deep should shavings be laid, what is the best way to dispose of them, and what is the best thing to do with the fixed part of the run that will get muddy, scratched up, and poop filled? should we lay pine there, mulch, straw, or let them just deal with the dirt and mud? We will make a 3-8 or so portable screened run we will move it around for fresh grass, bug control, fertilizer but we will have to move them to it and back to the main run attached to the coop when there is good weather and we can monitor them a bit. Does this sound like a workable plan or have I missed something or lost my mind?
     
  5. k2chickens

    k2chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    New Castle, Indiana
    I am also not looking forward to the moving of our girls into a coop not so easily in my reach because they have been in a brooder in my bedroom since we first got them! I have become so attached so quick! I think your idea in the garage sounds safe and easily accessible! Just make sure that it is in a well ventilated area and fresh air can be let in! Possible next to a window in the garage or maybe keep the garage door open every now and then to keep it from smelling and give the girls some fresh air! I think you will be okay to have a run and not worry about laying anything extra down just make sure the run is movable but I don't think they will use up their grass to fast and I heard chicken poop was a good fertilizer so the area should grow good grass and not be so muddy! Other then that I might also suggest wood pellets as bedding because it is very absorbent and helps with the smell! Good luck and I hope your idea works out for you because it sounds like it will be really safe keeping them away from neighbors and predators while being close to home!
     
  6. KattyKillFish

    KattyKillFish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2009
    Dillingham, Alaska
    sounds like you have an over all good plan, but be sure that they have good ventilation in their closed off area. and i agree with using wood pellets. when our run gets muddy we add lots of grass, but we haven't had a muddy run since we moved here.

    and what an ingenious idea! having them in the garage sounds great! you will be able to see them and the eggs will be easily accessible, but they do need some extra ventilation for that.

    they won't like their nails being sanded/filed down but it won't interfere with their scrating around on the ground, it will just save your kids from scratches on their arms. i know what you mean about that, too. mine climb all over me on my sunburnt skin and scratch me right up. i love them anyway though.

    what i do and have done with ALL my babies is kind of get them used to the outdoors by letting them out in a pen on nice day starting when they're a month old. i bring them in when it starts getting chilly or if they start complaining, but the babies i have now CRY AND CRY when i take them back inside at night. poor things, it's just too cold out there for them now.

    anyhow, i'm sure your girls will love your new setup [​IMG] good luck!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree your overall plan sounds workable. I expect you'll have some minor adjustments to make as unexpected things come up, but that is just life. If I may make a few suggestions.

    I agree you need plenty of ventilation. I'm pretty sure one window will not be enough. I personally like passive ventilation, an opening up high covered with hardware cloth. In your situation, you might consider a vent fan. Your enemies requiring ventilation are ammonia build-up and humidity, plus possibly heat.

    One thing you sort of mentioned was your poop management plan. It's funny with chickens how often poop gets discussed. Dry poop doesn't stink too badly. Wet poop does. From reading your posts, you may have some problems disposing of large amounts of litter. You might do a search on deep litter method or read up really well on litter management by using the search feature on here. I see that as something you may have to tweek based on your experiences.

    Something that would help keep the amount of poop down in your coop is to use a scraping board or a container under the roost. Chickens will deposit over a third and probably close to half of their daily fertilizer deposits while on the roost. If you put a board under the roost to catch this, you can scrape it off as required into a container and deposit it outside. If you put a sheet of linoleum or a good coat of paint on the scrapings board, it scrapes very easily. Or you can put a container under the roost so you can take the entire container out to dump it.

    You need to plan how you will get rid of this nightly deposit. The pure poop you scrape off is great nitrogen for a compost heap. It would be a shame to waste it. You might put it on your compost heap or find someone, maybe a neighbor or advertise on Craigs list, who will come by on a regular basis and take this great nitrogen away for you.

    Good luck!!!
     
  8. embrown

    embrown Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2009
    Thank you all. Here are my thoughts, 1. there is a window that can be opened for ventilation and a fan could be put in there...blowing out...if needed. 2. I will put a top on the enclosure so the girls can not fly to the rest of the garage but I will put a section of hardware cloth for ventilation, the garage does have roof vents. If needed, we will consider a Bathroom type fan to ventilate if needed also. The man door to the yard will be imediately next to their "coop" area so I can easily open that. The garage is attached to the house and is our main daily entrance so I can easily monitor odors and adjust things as soon as it is noticed. The front auto door is in a good position so I can get a cross breeze. 3. I had the idea , as I planned yesterday to get a gutter or other type of washable, and removable, thing to put under the perch, Then I saw on the forem today, that the vinyl coated board or newspaper over the board will also work. So we will definitely be putting a poo catching device under the perches. I will scrape off dried stuff as another consideration. 4. I was thinking of DE and pine shavings for the floor, the garage floor is industrial painted cement which I hope will help ceal it from odors soaking in. How deep should the shavings be, cost is an issue, and amount of disposal is also a consideration. I am thinking a couple inch threshhold would be a good idea to keep litter in and make the doorway easily passable without too much spilling out. 5. We are trying to figure out the composting thing, we want to do it very much but are trying to figure how to do this with no smell as the neighbors are close and do not have air conditioning. If anyone can give me good information, links or other stuff to get us started, it seems so overwhelming and so much information is conflicting about how to, the smell and the management. I would like to put the poop, scraps, worms and other stuff together, wait a while and have good compost...can it be that easy? 6. We will have a bigger garden this year, have read about the great benefits of chicken poop for fertilizer and want to make use of it. We want to garden as naturally as possible, but we have very little garden experience. 7. I can get a compost bin that is picked up by the garbage carrier each week from spring to autumn so I can get rid of soiled litter that way. But this is not an option in winter, yet the windows will be closed during that freezing season so maybe we can just pile it for composting? I can probably dump/store some at a friends horse farm, we can exchange poop, and hopefully we can manage it okay.

    As for nail filing, we successfully did it today. The ladies just sat in my lap, let me hold their feet and I filed with no problems, 3 girls actually seemed to like it and closed their eyes and got real relaxed...my kind of gals. It worked very well with a emery board,thanks for the idea. As I sat there holding them in my lap I just was so happy that I have thought of a way I can do this once moving them to their coop. I just love them and the best way I will enjoy them is by having personal contact with them. Watching them from a window or just in a run will not provide a blind lady with as much satisfaction as holding and petting them. Any other ideas for designing their corner of the garage will be appreciated. It will be very easy to give them a 5.5 ft by 4 ft area, with a 6.5 ft height. How high will I want to place the nesting boxes and perches in this style of coop? The outside run can be quite big, half will have a roof, half will be open with hardware cloth over top to protect them. We will also eventually make a portable pen to move them around the yard to fertilize, weed manage, and to keep them near us when we are outside.

    We will clip their wings, but we are nervous about this but know it will have to be done so I can keep them closer and safer should they get out of the pen.

    Keep your thoughts coming, I am eager to learn and try to "do it right" both for the sake of my wonderful new pets, and for the benefit of saving ourselves hastle from the neighbors. I want to set a good example of chicken keeping, I think we are the first in our little town.

    Beth
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    How deep should the shavings be, cost is an issue, and amount of disposal is also a consideration. I am thinking a couple inch threshhold would be a good idea to keep litter in and make the doorway easily passable without too much spilling out.

    You can do a search on "deep litter method" and get quite a bit of info. Regardless of the litter method you decide on, you'll want a fairly deep threshhold to keep the litter in. 10" to 12" may be more like it. You can use a step or a ramp to make it easier for you to get in or out. Also consider door swing. Some people like the door to swing in as they say it is easier to keep chickens from escaping if the door swings in. Others mention the door gets blocked by litter if it swings in. There are other reasons, but just think about your specific situation.

    We are trying to figure out the composting thing, we want to do it very much but are trying to figure how to do this with no smell as the neighbors are close and do not have air conditioning. If anyone can give me good information, links or other stuff to get us started, it seems so overwhelming and so much information is conflicting about how to, the smell and the management. I would like to put the poop, scraps, worms and other stuff together, wait a while and have good compost...can it be that easy?

    You can do a search on this site and get a lot of good info on composting. You can also look on the companion forum "The Easy Garden" down at the bottom of this forum. Most of the people I see over there are on this forum also, but there are specific sections and threads on worm bins and composting.

    We will have a bigger garden this year, have read about the great benefits of chicken poop for fertilizer and want to make use of it. We want to garden as naturally as possible, but we have very little garden experience.

    Another reason to check out the gardening forum.

    I can get a compost bin that is picked up by the garbage carrier each week from spring to autumn so I can get rid of soiled litter that way. But this is not an option in winter, yet the windows will be closed during that freezing season so maybe we can just pile it for composting? I can probably dump/store some at a friends horse farm, we can exchange poop, and hopefully we can manage it okay.

    In the winter is when you really need good ventilation. It is an attached garage so it should not get all that cold, which will help, but if you don't get good ventilation, you will get a smell. You have to get rid of the humidity. A vent fan may be a good idea.

    Many people who use the deep litter method only clean out their litter once or twice a year. You are going to be "smell sensitive" so you may have to do it more often. It's one of the things you'll have to tweak. If you are in an area that stays frozen in the winter, you should be able to store it outside without a smell until the thaw.
     

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