Keeping feather legged breeds in condition?!


Hatching and Showing
13 Years
Oct 10, 2007
My two pens of show-quality feather legged birds (Cochins and Silkies) are kept on a wood floor that is covered in pine shavings. Yet, they still get dirty! And with these being non-flying birds who do not roost, they sleep on the floor, and now their undersides are a bit dirty too!
What is wrong with their housing conditions? And how can I improve them?
I heard just the other day that some form of sand is good for a floor covering for my kind of birds..... do any of you use this or have advice?
Anyone I am really interested in knowing the answer. I don't want to keep my hens caged and don't have enough space to keep everyone locked in coops 24/7 I am thinking birds I am conditioning for show will be in one part of the coop and the breeders will be in the other part with access to the outdoors. My coop is deeply bedded in pine shavings but the feet still seem to get dirty.

I have a Silkie/sultan mix bantam hen, and her feathers on her feet are REALLY dirty! I free range my chickens. And it's kind of muddy outside right now, so it didn't help any that there was MUD EVERYWHERE!!!
large pens with deep pine shavings, if you use wire, the foot feathering can/will get broken with wire. I don't range my show birds till after show season is finished. i show d'Uccle and booted's
My cochin bantams roost and yet still get dirty feathers. Don't know if it can be completely avoided. Agree that regularly changing deep pine bedding is the best chance of keeping them cleanest. Also agree that wire bottom is not a solution for reasons already stated. My birds have higher wing carriage if they use them even a little getting to a roost. Some of mine will not ever use a roost and most often they carry wings lower.
I have sand on the floor of my cochins and silkie pens Their feet seem to be fine. The only time I have trouble is when it rains otherwise their feathers stay clean. I also find that the sand keeps their feathers in better shape than shavings.
What kind of "dirty" are you talking about? Is it gritty/dusty or like real dirt? I keep my Cochins in pens like this too,
and I have very little problems with them getting dirty. It's good to have a mixture of the coarse-ground shavings
and the fine ground ones (which act as an absorbent). I change them out about every month and keep 2 hens or
1 rooster in a 4' x 4' space (large fowl), bantams you can double the birds.
mine roost! The trick is, you have to put a pole very low to the ground that they can hop up on then another a little higher and a another and so on, I have 4 total for the in each pen so they can get as high as they want in about 6-8 inch intervals, helps a lot. Then of course the good clean bedding is a must.
Other than that you can put boots on them, I dont bother with it, but have seen many serious shower do it for best foot feathering condition.
I might switch to sand I also need to add some better roosts to the pens how often do you all clean your coops? It might be easier to use sand so I can spot clean my coops more easily its diffucult to spot clean with shavings.
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