Did we overdo it?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SusanD, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    After all my fussing over our run, my Dad added straw to it today (and some fresh bark mulch). From what my Dad told me, our chickens had a good time kicking it around. Does this much straw present a mold risk during the rainy season (if so, I will ask my Dad to take some out). Or should we be ok, as long as we turn the straw periodically and rake it out in a month or two?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
  2. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    IMO that's quite a bit, and I wouldn't use that much next time. It's been really rainy here, so I've had to lay straw in the run and on the coop floor. I don't shake but a little bit to prevent me from slipping when I'm out there. Anything above that is waste IMO.
     
  3. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have deep litter in our run, probably 8-10" on the ground, so this doesn't look too much to me. We have straw, grass clippings, leaves and pine needles, BUT, our run is covered and stays dry.

    I remember when we first moved into our house, there was no grass, just a mud-pit during rains. We put down straw for the dog and just kept adding to it as needed.

    Maybe a base of something course that would help with drainage, like bark pieces, with straw on top.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I don't think it's too much....but...
    Keep an eye on it by going out and raking it around to look for anaerobic(wet, slimy, stinky) and/or moldy patches.
    Hopefully they will keep it stirred up enough to avoid those things happening.
    Maybe add a few other sized and shaped materials a bit at at time.

    Here's a great description of how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run...and there's a great video of what it looks like.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please#post_16017992
     
  5. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. I will keep an eye on the straw. I will also take a look at the video. One question I had was preventing them from developing mites (I understand that straw can harbor them). Is this an issue with fresh straw that has never been used, or is it mainly an issue if the chickens have mites already? I'm thinking that the mites would have to come from a living animal host, but wanted to make sure, as I do not want to introduce mites to our chickens.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Mites and lice appear from wild birds, and if the coop and run are ever open, they will show up. Just moniter your birds, and check them on their roost at night, and treat if the bugs appear. I generally put some permethrin dust on the floor after cleaning the coop, under the bedding, and treat the birds maybe twice a year. Mary
     
  7. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok, so it looks to me like getting rid of the straw will be something we will need to do if and when they develop a mite problem so that we can eradicate them. I will keep an eye on them. My other concern, from what I observed this morning, is eating the straw. I saw them eating their normal food, but I also saw a couple of them swallowing some pieces of straw (I'm pretty sure it was swallowing and not just tasting). Evidently, they can digest straw (or they would already have a blockage), but I don't want them eating more than a piece or two. If you were me, would you remove the straw ASAP, or wait and see if a problem develops?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I wouldn't worry too much about mites in the straw or the chickens eating the straw.

    Even if you did have mites ...they might(haha) live in the straw,
    but they can live a lot of other places in the coop/run...they are more likely to take up residence in the coop than in any straw in the run.

    They might eat a bit of the straw, but probably not enough to cause any harm.
    If you're that concerned, take away all food at night and check first thing in the morning that crops have emptied overnight.

    I use straw in the nests and put DE in with it when I put new straw in every couple months, sprinkle a goodly amount on top of straw and shake it down into it.
     
  9. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: My EE eat some of the straw, mainly they go after the "debris" (little tiny pieces), my bigs go after the seed part. So far, I haven't had any issues and I've been using straw for several months. IF you see them messing with it too much you can shoo them away from the area they're in so you can try to get their attention elsewhere.
     
  10. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for your replies. I do think it's probably best for me to give this a try for the sake of keeping the peace (My Dad was trying to help me and the chickens, both by adding the original pine chips and now the straw). I will just plan to check their crops in the morning for a while. With the straw, is continous dampness an issue (looking at our forecast for November[​IMG], only three days are predicted to be entirely rain free; So, I don't think the chances of the straw drying out completely are good)?
     

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