Looking for advice for new owners...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by davewellington, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. davewellington

    davewellington New Egg

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    Sep 22, 2013
    Hey All We recently got our first ever chickens, all 4 ex-battery. We purchased a second hand bird aviary and have converted that to a hen house, laying area down the bottom and a ladder to the roosts up the top. The area where we've put it down used to have tiles, I lifted them up and we took the layer of packing sand off to reveal the soil.

    Currently we're looking at extending the run to have more of the lawn, as well as tightening up the construction of the aviary as it's a bit loose atm. As it's been rainy over the last week, the soil where the hens are has turned to mud :(

    The hens are also new to roosting. 2 have got the hang of it, another roosts at the top of the ladder and we move her manually to the roost, and the other either gets trapped out by the ladder rooster or is inside but not on the roost, either way we move her up too. I figure this is just because they're new to it and they'll catch on soon, not too worried about that.

    Egg wise, we get 2 eggs a day and have had them for about 4 weeks. This is up from no eggs when we initially got them, so we're pretty happy about it.

    Some questions we have:

    1. How do you deal with chicken poo? Are they supposed to poo anywhere specific? Currently they poo in the run and in the roosts, ever in the laying nests. Should we be collecting/disposing of it from the run?

    2. Currently we just put their feed down in the run, we don't have a feeding bowl or anything like that, should we? That's all for now, we've bound to have more soon.

    Thanks a lot (and sorry if this isn't quite the right forum, it was my best guess!).

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  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They will poop wherever they are. Poop management can be done many different ways. If their area is large enough, you may be able to just let nature take its course outdoors, let it dry up and disintegrate in the sun or get washed in by rain. In a small run, some people collect it daily (sand is convenent for this.) In the coop, most people use a litter to hold the poop, which can be left for a few days or a week, or a year, before it is changed, depending on how much room they have and whether odor or fly problems are created. Pine shavings are very popular for this because they tend to mask odors, and are absorbent, but people use many things for litter, like dried leaves, hay or straw, shredded paper, rice hulls, horse stall products like Stall-Dri, etc. The more space they have, the less cleaning you will have to do. I ignore outdoor poop and rake out the coop litter once a year -- but I have a large, very airy coop with a dirt floor, and their outdoor yard is large enough that it has to be mowed.

    You will probably want to purchase a feeder. You won't need a large one, but you will probably want to hang it, so I like the smaller size white and red plastic ones commonly available at feed stores -- they hold maybe a gallon and cost maybe $15. One advantage of hanging is that you can place it at their "shoulder" height, which makes it much more difficult for them to scratch the feed onto the ground -- and they are likely to waste what gets scratched out. Aso, if feed becomes wet it can quickly become molded and toxic to them.
     

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