Hello! Newbie from Phoenix here with my first question

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Pollynuts, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Pollynuts

    Pollynuts New Egg

    Feb 12, 2017
    First of all Hi! I have a small flock of three full grown chickens and 2 pullets. I live in Phoenix. Yeah, mucho caliente! So I keep my girls as cool as I can but one thing I cant change immediately is my terrain. I have all gravel, about 1 inch rocks, in my back yard. Ive had my girls for about 8 months now and they seem happy. I am however worried if the gravel will cause harm to their feet in the long run....any answers are helpful. I have a couple of rock free zones, like a sand box and a garden patch (without the garden of course :lol::lol:).

    my back yard

    Thanks for reading. I come here for all my chicken inquires :caf
  2. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Welcome to BYC! Well, it sounds like they are used to walking on rocks. Good luck with your chicken adventures!
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to BYC - great that you have joined us. I wouldn't worry too much about the gravel causing foot injuries - the stones don't look angular / sharp (but i bet they get hot in the sun though [​IMG]).

    You may wish to consider joining your state thread as it will put you in touch with other BYC members in your area - https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/270925/find-your-states-thread#post_3239224

    All the best
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to the Backyard chickens thread. I wonder if the rocks get hot enough to burn their feet. I think it would be good for you to post on your state thread and see what others near you have to say. Just put Arizona in the searchbox and it should pop up for you.
  5. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    Welcome aboard! I live just north of Phoenix in Maricopa County between Carefree Highway and Anthem so we have about the same climate. I don't have all gravel in my yard but I have a fair amount where one of our driveways are. I built two coops close to that area and there was a fair amount of gravel scattered around the immediate vicinity. I left the gravel in place where the coops went since they're both walk-in coops with plywood floors, but where I built the attached, secure runs I raked the gravel away. Underneath the gravel is just very compacted clay, kinda like cement it's so hard, and that's mixed with more gravel. I just left that alone and in a short while the birds had most of it dug up and now dust-bathe in it. I don't know what kind of a setup you have but just make sure you have shade available, like if you have a run make sure it's covered and you should be fine. The best thing my birds like in the heat of summer is a couple of oil pans filled with water that I bought from Walmart for a few dollars each. I change the water out once in the AM and once after I get home from work since it gets nasty after a while, but the birds will stand in those pans most of the day when the temps are up above 100. I don't know what breeds you have but I'm raising and breeding Leghorns, Barred Rocks, Naked Necks, and Rhode Island Reds, and I have Ameraucanas and Marans coming in from breeders. The Leghorns seem to be the least bothered by the heat but any of those breeds will do ok. I had a couple of SOP Orpingtons but two died - they don't do as well in the heat I'm guessing due to their body mass and heavy feathering. Hatchery Orpingtons might do ok though. I'd stay away from the heavier breeds such as Bielefelders. I know a breeder down south that has an air conditioned coop for them but that's not something I care to do.

    Anyway good luck and feel free to ask if there's anything you have questions on.
  6. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2016
    I would put an old piece of carpet out there for them to stand on, the gravel gets hot. Hard shade for sure. I've read that some people use misters.
  7. N F C

    N F C just 1 more cup pls Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013

    Thanks for joining us!
  8. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    The carpet is a good idea but I'd hate to have to clean it after a week. You know how chickens manage to get poop on just about everything. If Mr. Clean walked in my coops and runs he wouldn't be called Mr. Clean anymore - have to change his name.

    Pollynuts - Are they free ranging or confined to a coop and run? If they're confined and you have a covered run I think you're ok. If they're free ranging I think the best thing to do would be to rake the gravel away from any area they're likely to congregate in, or that you want them to congregate in. They'll scratch at the dirt, however hard, and break it down in a short time. They'll then dust-bathe and dig down where it's cooler. I think just doing that would alone be enough but if you wanted more you could have a truck-load of dirt or construction sand shipped in and spread it around. Regular dirt, not topsoil, is cheap and so is construction sand. Like I said though, the most critical thing is to make sure they have plenty of shade and water. I tried a mister last summer when it got really hot but my birds didn't like it. They were more afraid of it than anything so I shut it off and haven't used it since. Some people claim they work though so you might give that a try too. They're not expensive at all and very easy to install. It could just be that my birds are chicken-s*&t.
  9. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Hello from Kansas and [​IMG]! Happy you joined our flock! Best wishes to you and thanks for joining BYC!!
  10. Pollynuts

    Pollynuts New Egg

    Feb 12, 2017
    Thank you everybody for all your suggestions. I'm going to be busy this spring! I am going to rake some more, mount a sail from my house to the block wall, and the big project....plant a tree. I have done the misters and they didnt like it. But I definately will go buy more water pans and keep up with the water changing in the summer. Oh btw, I have a barred rock, a buff orpington, a leghorn and the chicks are a delaware and a maran.

    Also thanks for suggesting to post under Arizona. Not sure how, but Ill figure it out

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