@DiYMama540 hit the high notes.Hi All,
Who has some great pointers on how to keep a healthy flock when you can’t let them free range.
I have an outdoor enclosure that’s 24’x38’ and two hen houses that are 10x8 and 12x10
@DiYMama540 hit the high notes.
Here's some more ideas about run 'enrichment':
I'll reiterate, don't use excessive food as enrichment.
Am wondering how many bird you have in the size space you describe?
Some pics would be good.
For confined birds, bedding and manure management is important.
What kind of bedding you use may depend on how you manage the manure.
This is about cleaning, but covers my big picture
-I use poop boards under roosts with thin(<1/2") layer of sand/PDZ mix, sifted daily(takes 5-10mins) into bucket going to friends compost.
-Scrape big or wet poops off roost and ramps as needed.
-Pine shavings on coop floor, add some occasionally, totally changed out once or twice a year, old shavings added to run.
- My runs have semi-deep litter(cold composting), never clean anything out, just add smaller dry materials on occasion, add larger wood chippings as needed.
Aged ramial wood chippings are best IMO.
-Nests are bedded with straw, add some occasionally, change out if needed(broken egg).
There is no odor, unless a fresh cecal has been dropped and when I open the bucket to add more poop.
That's how I keep it 'clean', have not found any reason to clean 'deeper' in 5 years.
That’s great stuff thank you! I will hatch my own from now on I think. Thanks again!They've hit most of my high points. As much room as possible, keep it dry, don't let the poop build up, and a balanced diet. All important.
I try to not over-medicate. I believe an important step in a healthy flock is to build up their immune system so they can handle a lot of what nature throws at them. Chickens raised in a sterile environment are more susceptible to nature. I introduce dirt from the run to my chicks in the brooder so they can get started on flock immunities at day 2 or 3. That also gets grit into their system and any probiotics the adults have if you have adults. I only use medicines when I have something specific to treat. I do not worm them or treat for mites or lice as a preventative, only when i need to. So far I have not needed to.
I also keep a pretty closed flock. Any time your chickens are exposed to other chickens they are potentially being exposed to disease or parasites. I did bring in chicks from a feed store once but the way I usually get more chickens is to hatch them myself or get them from a reputable hatchery. So limit exposure.