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If your chickens don't free-range...questions!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by skatcatla, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. skatcatla

    skatcatla Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2007
    So, here's the backstory. When I first got chickens, we would let them free-range in our yard. They clearly loved it, but they were just SO messy. Poop everywhere and I couldn't keep them out of my vegetable beds. They were just murder on all the plants, and they would kick the dirt down off our hillside.

    So, once we remodeled and redid the backyard landscaping, I decided to just keep them penned. They have a goodly amount of space, a 4x5 henhouse and a 3 x 8 run for 3 chickens. I am planning to build them a new run which will be about 4 x 10 or 12. My question though is, how much supplementing of their diet will I need to do and will I need to put a sand box or dirt box in their run so they can dirt bathe? I think they really miss doing that and I don't want them to have trouble with mites. I do give them fistfuls of grass and weeds to eat and they also get our table scraps (when we have them!) but not every day.

    Also, do you put anything in their run for flooring? I've been using bark chips but if there is a better solution I'd love to hear it.
     
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    Jul 17, 2009
    I have a large mechanic oil pan that I regularly fill up with dirt, DE, and a little poultry dust. They eventually kick all the dirt out, so I have to keep an eye on it.

    Maybe you can compromise and only let them free range once a week, just before bed time. Then there will be less poop, but they still get their exercise.
     
  3. skatcatla

    skatcatla Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2007
    Quote:Good idea on the pan! What is poultry dust?

    I thought about the occasional short "exercise" time and started to do that but dang, even in one hour they made SUCH a mess, and dug up my newly planted dymondia! I have two toddlers so I really need to keep the poop down.
     
  4. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    Jul 17, 2009
    I have two toddlers too...I just tell them not to eat it. Not that they always listen. Still, ALL GOOD!

    Poultry dust is sevin dust: it kills mites. Just a little sprinkle where they dust bathe, and it helps with prevention.
     
  5. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Hi, I use a cat litter pan and fill it with sand and dirt for one chicken I have pinned up. I didn't know you could use sevin dust around chickens. It won't hurt them?
     

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