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HELP! These Chickens are Killing ME! MOTIVATE ME?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cbscotty, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. cbscotty

    cbscotty New Egg

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    Aug 19, 2011
    We have a great, safe coop for my 3 girls. However, I am starting to think taking care of them, two kids, a dog, cat, husband and a full time job is not what I signed up for. ;-( I am overwhelmed! I had such an awesome summer with them, and my kids are soooo super attached to the girls. One of them just started to lay eggs this week...which has been beyond cool for this city slicker!

    So, here is my list of negatives...can you help me overcome these?

    1. I am in a neighborhood with a strong HOA. We have not been scolded yet, but I know it is out there.

    2. I let the birds free range all over my back yard from about 7AM-7PM...there is only three of them, but I don't live on acres of land...I know the weather is going to get cooler and curious to know if they will tend to stay in their coop more? My biggest peeve is that they keep walking up onto my new deck we built and pooing all over the place! I can't have unexpected guests or have to put aside atleast 30 mins to get my buns out there before anyone comes or you are walking over poo or it is attached to your shoe and foot? My deck was my quiet place- comfortable- now, I just dread going out there because of the poo!

    3. We built a two story wooden coop. I do not have any pine shavings iniside the top floor- only in their nesting box. Should I have pine shavings in there all over? I am finding it easier to clean- as I just blast the hose on the coop to clean out the poo about once every 5-7 days. (is this enough?) However, the wetness of the food has been attracting flys like crazy. It is gross. It doesn't smell, but it is SUPER buggy around their coop area.

    4. All four of my family members have these tiny little bites we keep getting...we are starting to conclude it is coming from being outside around the chicken coop. The bites don't itch too bad, but they are small raised bumps real close together. Any idea what this is about?

    5. What, if anything should be at the bottom of their coop? Pine shavings? Mulch? Dirt, sand? Anything? At this point it is just the ground, all the grass is dead and gone and by the time I am done spraying it- it is just MUD.

    6. How long are the girls eggs good for and can you eat the first few- or are those just warm up eggs? Do you just wash them with soap and water?

    Inquiring minds want your opinions! Thanks! A bit Overwhelmed in TN....Christina
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  2. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Quote:Well first of all [​IMG] [​IMG]
    seconed calm down and take it easy, 1 you need a run for the coop you already have that way your birds will not come to the new deck
    2- the bites you are getting has nothing to do with the chickens
    3- yes add more shaving to the other floor
    4- undernieth your coop you can put some river rocks or such materials to control errosion
    5- the eggs are good at least for 3 weeks.
    I hope that will help you a little.
     
  3. froggiesheins

    froggiesheins Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 14, 2010
    Jurupa Valley, CA
    Just out of curiousity what state do you live in.
    Here are pictures of my coop/run. I live on a small city lot and space is at a premium. My birds can go in and out of the coop into the run. They only come out when I am home to "free range". My coop has sand flooring and the run is a mix of sand and dirt. When the weather is rainy I have a piece of plastic lattice that I stapled heavy vinyl on, that I place on top of the run, so they can still go out and stay dry. Mabey this will give you some ideas? I hope so...
    For the bugs, use Frontline or Advantage on the birds. Purchase the bug stuff in medium dog size and place ONE drop under each wing. Repeat every month. You can also sprinkle Garden&poultry Dust [bug killer] in the run and coop to keep the bug population down. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:2. Can you fence off your deck with wire?? Until then, keep a hose handy and just give a few quick blasts to clean the poo off the deck - that's what I do on our porch. The chickens will tend to stay in the coop more if it snows, but the cold itself probably won't keep them in.

    3. How is the food getting wet?? Keep their food where it won't get wet-wet food tends to get moldy quickly, which is BAD. Is your housing large enough for a dropping board? That makes it very easy to clean daily (takes less than a minute). Even if it isn't, I would clean daily (not with a hose). If you get in that habit, with only 3 birds it would be very quick.

    4. No.

    5. Sand is your best bet for the run (if that's what you mean by the bottom of the coop??). It's very easy to clean, and you can mix DE (foodgrade) in with it. A layer of pea gravel beneath the sand helps promote good drainage too.

    6. You can eat all eggs - they're good for at least a month (more actually). I don't wash mine until I'm ready to use them - and then just a damp sponge or quick rinse.
     
  5. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Christina.

    Welcome to the addiction! No need to panic as there are many supporters here to help you out. Many people live with chickens in urban communities without problems. There are threads on this forum to help you if you should have any problems with neighbors who object to your girls but if they are fairly quiet, I doubt anyone will even notice that they are there.

    As I see it, you have two options concerning your deck. You could fence it off so the chickens cant go on there or you could build them a run and only let them out while you are out there with them. By being out with them while they are freeranging, you can discourage them from coming on the deck and they will learn that it is off limits. You should have pine shavings in the top floor of the coop and I use de (diamectious earth, food grade) to help keep it dry. By using pine shavings, it helps dry up the poop and you just add some pine shavings as needed to freshen it up. I use the deep litter method and only clean out the coop 2-3 times a year. It doesnt smell unless it gets wet or needs freshening up. You say their wet food is attracting flies. Unless you are using mash, their food should not be wet. If you are using pellets or crumbles, they should be dry as wet food can become moldy and be a health hazard to your chickens. Other people have mentioned using vanilla scented car air fresheners in their coops to keep flies away.

    Chickens like to scratch and dig and so that is why the ground is bare under their coop. If you are so inclined, you could put a fairly deep layer of sand in there so all you would have to do to clean it is rake out the poop. If you build a run, you could put sand in there as well.

    You can eat the girls eggs. Pullets (hens under a year old) eggs are small to start with but will gradually get bigger as the pullets mature. I generally dont wash my eggs unless there is poop on them. Eggs have a "bloom" on them when they are layed which protects the insides from anything entering through the shell. If you wash them, the bloom comes off and the shells are porous and will allow water, soap or anything else come through. Eggs will keep longer in the fridge but I just leave mine on the table because they dont stick around long enough to worry about refrigeration!

    Enjoy your cheeps and dont sweat the small stuff. Chickens are low maintenance and I find them easier than my dog and cat to take care of.
     

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