Getting ready 4 the girls...I need advice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by funkychicken, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. funkychicken

    funkychicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2008
    East Texas
    Hello to all!! I am so eggcited [​IMG] to start my backyard coop. Being a newbie I have enjoyed reading and researching chickens...A few questions... 1.I read about the deep litter method and was wondering about putting a "sand box" under the roost for easy poo removal...2. Where can I get an economical organic feed, most is so pricey...3.Can I dry and crush egg shells instead of buying calcium...Thank you for any other tips and/or advice you may have to offer...I am looking to have things ready in 3-4 weeks.
     
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    [​IMG] Welcome to the chicken addiction!! [​IMG]

    Using a poo pit like you describe is a great idea to cut down on cleaning chores, regardless of whatever bedding you use

    Can't help you on the organic feed, but hopefully someone else will come along about that

    As far as egg shells - they are a great source of calcium, but it hink the prevailing wisdom is to bake them first for a while. I'll see if I can find a thread for you on that. Also, be sure they don't appear anything like egg shells when you are done - don't want to encourage egg eating by your girls.
     
  3. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    1. I highly recommend some type of droppings board or droppings pit. Since we have a small flock, a board works great for us. Its about 10" wide (could be a little wider IMHO) and covered with a scrap of linoleum for easy cleaning. It also comes out for thorough cleaning. We keep a little bedding -shavings- on it to absorb liquid and just scrape the poop into a covered bucket each day. Compost when bucket is full. It's fantastic because it keeps the majority of the poop from getting tracked in the bedding, so we don't need to clean out the bedding very often (and we are in tight suburbia so cleanliness is a major issue!) I will post a pic below. Those melamine-covered prefab shelves from Lowes work well, too. I beleive a couple people on here do the sand-box routine so hopefully someone will chime in. The key, though, is to keep them from tracking it around. So if you use a "pit" I would think about covering it with wire mesh so they can't walk in it...

    2. We buy either Blue Seal Organic Life or Poulin Grains Green Mountain organic. It costs about $10 more per 50# bag than standard feed. If your feed store does not stock it normally, they can probably special-order one of these, or another brand.

    3. Yes, but oyster shell is cheap. I use both, oyster shell and dried crushed egg shells (not baked though) offered free choice in tuna cans screwed to the wall -along with grit. They take what they need. Some feeds have more added calcium than others.


    Our droppings board:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2008
  4. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    The post before me did a great job on the droppings board.

    I use the Purina feeds. They don't use any animal by products in their feeds. You can also save old bread and veggies to feed them. Every thing we don't eat in our garden we either feed to the cows or the chickens.

    Not sure on the whole egg shell thing. I just buy gritt and scatter it in the run. They find it when they need it.

    Good Luck

    Nick
     
  5. funkychicken

    funkychicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2008
    East Texas
    Thank you all sooo much for the advice...please keep it comming...I can use all the help I can get!I wonder about regular feed because of soy(read some stuff that says its really not good) and also GMO grain(geniticaly modified) I try to feed my family as healthy as possible and want to feed my girls well too...they will be putting eggs on the table and I know what you feed them ends in the egg.
     
  6. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    vermont
    Quote:unless you live eight miles from the mill, as i do. then it's cheaper than the conventional.

    funkychicken organic grain is going to be more expensive if you don't have a local feed mill that's making organic grain or less expensive than conventional if you do. most people who believe in organic will pay the extra. if it seems like it's not worth the extra out-lay for you, then go with regular grain. [​IMG]
     
  7. funkychicken

    funkychicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2008
    East Texas
    thank you ravenfeathers (love the name...how did you come by it) unfortunantly I dont live anywhere close to a mill and my feed man store just looked at me when I asked for organic...go figure...I guess I will just bite the bullet and pay shipping for the good stuff...how long do you think a 50lb bag will last for 5-8 hens? I feel silly but Ive never done this ![​IMG]
     
  8. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    vermont
    Quote:i'm a crazy bird lady and love the ravens. we have a pair near our house and
    i watch them all the time. i even gave one of my kids 'raven' as a middle
    name. [​IMG]

    it's very handy living near a mill, but they are few and far between. i'm
    surprised your feed store wasn't more helpful. you'd think they'd want
    to pocket the extra bucks from an organic transaction. and you'd also think that it wouldn't be an outlandish request with more and more people interested in organic foods and practices.

    i just have one hen at the moment, so i'm pretty new to this, too. this silly
    hen wandered out of our woods three weeks ago like she belonged there. my chicks
    aren't arriving until the end of july and i've never had chickens before.
    goats, horses, cattle, sure, but not chickens. my hen eats about 1/2 cup of layer
    pellets per day plus whatever she can dig up or gnaw down when she's in her
    run. that's probably 2 ounces of grain (haven't weighed it, but that sounds
    about right)... 16 ounces to a pound... one pound per 8 birds per day... so a 50
    lb. bag should last almost two months? check my math on that one! [​IMG] plus, you've
    got waste days and hungry days (some days she chucks it all on the ground, some
    days she eats it all in one sitting and wants more), so maybe a month and a half.
     
  9. funkychicken

    funkychicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2008
    East Texas
    thanks for the info about feed ratio...mabey organic doesnt seem so bad...after all 20-30 bucks a month shoulb be easy... I have lots of veggie scraps too...I hope to have some girls soon...3-4 wks...congrats on the wandering clucker...she was sent to you for a reason...let me know how the babies come along..[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008

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