I have no idea what I'm doing

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by natterbou, May 13, 2007.

  1. natterbou

    natterbou New Egg

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    May 13, 2007
    Hi! I recently was blessed with the opportunity to rent an green features home in a rural community that is home to an organic farm, and a fox rehabilitation program, among other things. There are penned chickens that I am now the proud care taker of, however there are some problems. I don't have easy access to the landlord, and I don't know anything about taking care of chickens. Currently they are penned, with what appears to be four roosters and one hen on one 'half' of the fenced area, and at least 8 hens on the other side. They are kept separated. Anyone tell me why that would be? They are on self waterers, which I am cleaning up and changing every two days, using white vinegar to clean things up. Is this ok for them? I don't want to make them sick, but they get sawdust and scratch up in the base of the waterers, and I am pretty sure they need fresh water regularly like the rest of the planet. Their coop floor is covered with cedar shavings, and I want to know how often I should be cleaning out the coop? Also, the fenced area ( the property is loaded with foxes, and is even called " Fox Haven Farm" so there is no chance to free range them; especially with my work schedule) has no grass or anything growing in it. They have lived there long enough that everything is scratched up. I happen to work for a consumer cooperative grocer, and the produce dept. happily provides me with fresh organic lettuce and other green scraps daily. Is that ok to give them? That's all for now. Thanks to anyone who can help get me started. I've bought some books, but I am working and in school full time, so reading the chicken book isn't really going to happen right now. They are awfully cute and fun and I am super grateful for the chance to learn from them and from any of you! thank you!!! [​IMG]
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well, just make sure that the vinegar is out of the system when they are cleaned but it wont hurt them. As for the two different pens, they might have seperated the hens and rooster so they dont fight, that's alot of roosters to have with all of them so it's so the hens dont get beat up. As for the side with the roos, there shouldn't be any hens in there as the ratio should be 1 roo to 8 to 10 hens. Maybe that hen is a roo? if not it should be put with the hens or be really beat up. Greens and scraps to eat is a good thing as long as they continue to eat their normal feed too. As for cleaning the coop, do it when it gets stinky or you think it needs to be cleaned. Everyone has a different schedule on that. As for the shavings, you should use pine because cedar can be toxic to them. Enjoy!
     
  3. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Welcome to BYC!!!

    Sounds like a great place to live! When you took the job of chicken caretaker were you given free rein to do whatever you feel is the right thing or were you told to maintain the status quo? If given free rein, I would put all of the hens & 1 roo in one pen leaving the other 3 roos in the other pen. I say this assuming you are dealing with adult birds and not youngsters. But keep in mind, there will be squabbling for a few days as a new pecking order is established. Also, what was said about using pine rather than cedar shavings is right on. Cleaning the waterers with the vinegar is a good thing, with a decent rinse they will be good to go and, yes, chickens definately need a good supply of clean fresh water all the time, especially in hot weather. Yes, the veggies are a very good thing, too. You can also gather up mowed grass to give to them since they have none of their own. And to help with protein, you might think of raising some mealy worms or red wigglers.

    Edited to add: should you decide to move the birds around, it's easier by far to do so at night when they are sleeping. Believe me, it's much less stressful for them and for you.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2007
  4. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2007
    Quote:Hi! Welcome to BYC!!

    Currently they are penned, with what appears to be four roosters and one hen on one 'half' of the fenced area, and at least 8 hens on the other side. They are kept separated. Anyone tell me why that would be?

    Can you post pictures of the birds? I can't imagine why anyone would put 4 roosters on one hen. Poor girl! This can be very bad for her, even deadly as they will all try and mate with her. Do her feathers look alright? No bare patches on her back? Maybe the roos are still young enough that they have not started trying to breed her.

    They are on self waterers, which I am cleaning up and changing every two days, using white vinegar to clean things up. Is this ok for them? I don't want to make them sick, but they get sawdust and scratch up in the base of the waterers, and I am pretty sure they need fresh water regularly like the rest of the planet.

    Vinegar is great for cleaning out waterers.

    Their coop floor is covered with cedar shavings, and I want to know how often I should be cleaning out the coop?

    Are you sure it's cedar? Pine or Aspen shaving are better to use. Cedar has too much aromatic oil and is not good for the birds. You can just use your judgement on how often to clean the coop. As long as the bedding stays dry and odor free, then it is fine. Many people just clean their coop twice a year. I just add pine shavings as it appears to be needed and plan to do a thorough cleaning twice a year. I have not had any odor issues, nor does the bedding hold moisture.


    Also, the fenced area ( the property is loaded with foxes, and is even called " Fox Haven Farm" so there is no chance to free range them; especially with my work schedule) has no grass or anything growing in it. They have lived there long enough that everything is scratched up. I happen to work for a consumer cooperative grocer, and the produce dept. happily provides me with fresh organic lettuce and other green scraps daily. Is that ok to give them?

    Yes, they love fruits and vegetables. There are several threads on this issue in the 'feeding' area of the site. Use the search feature and I'm sure you'll find tons of info. They'll need to also have certain 'feed' and supplements, depending on their age. You will want to provide some sand (play sand from home depot/lowes is fine) or a shovel of dirt from somewhere else on occasion if they have only bare ground and you plan to feed a lot of fruits and veggies. The sand will act as grit to help them digest the food. They actually find their own grit when free ranging, but if penned, I am concerned that they may have it picked pretty clean of suitable grit.


    That's all for now. Thanks to anyone who can help get me started. I've bought some books, but I am working and in school full time, so reading the chicken book isn't really going to happen right now. They are awfully cute and fun and I am super grateful for the chance to learn from them and from any of you! thank you!!! [​IMG]

    You're welcome! You'll probably get many replies, all with great suggestions. We'd love to see pictures of your birds. We can probably help you identify them and get close to an age range if you do not know these things.

    Glad you found us and again, welcome to BYC!​
     
  5. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    All the above info is super. If their runs are bare, you can dig up clods of dirt and turf from a field and throw them in there. They eat the greenery and scratch in the dirt for bugs. Great fun!
     
  6. 2mnypets

    2mnypets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2007
    Galesburg, IL.
    Welcome to BYC! What a great experience for you. Take the advice already mentioned and add lots of TLC. Make sure they have plenty of roosts. Mine love it when I give them nightcrawlers and, the June Bugs are starting to arrive. My group is having an absolute blast with them. I have two big heavy plastic bowls in their coop along with their food and water. One if filled with grit and the other one is filled with oyster shells. The calcium helps with stronger shell egg production. Best of luck to you, and if you can please post some pics as you will soon find out that we all are picture crazy.
     

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