Maintance level?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by schmism, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. schmism

    schmism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2007
    Peoria IL
    So asuming i will have a decent run, how much day to day maintance do the chickens need? Can the wife and i head off for a weekend trip out of town and not have to line up a "baby sitter"?

    I know your supposed to collect eggs just about every day.... The feeders and water's usually last a couple of days no? (depending on size and number of birds obiously)
     
  2. ChickenGeorge

    ChickenGeorge Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2007
    I just went out of town last weekend with no problems. I have three 1 gallon waterers, a 2 gallon hanging feeder, I put out lots of feed for them to scratch around for, and lots of nest boxes. I left out Friday morning, after I filled everything, and got back Sunday night about 8pm. All was fine. I have a very good coop, and very good fences. It helps. I have 14 hens.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2007
  3. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    Do your free range? Do they just go in the coop at night on their own? What keeps critters from getting them if you don't close them up. I am just asking because I have to work on a coop for my chicks I will hopefully have hatch in a couple weeks. I am trying to figure out the best set-up. I want them inside the goat pen with the coop either in the pen so they are more likely to stay put and not fly off. I have two OEGB's right now and they are in a sort of coop/tractor but it is not large enough for any amount of chickens to live in full time. It is 5' tall and 4' wide and 5'long. I do have a roost area and a nest area but I have read alot here and I am going to reconfigure it some for them. Any OEGB's I hatch will go in with them. I only set 3 eggs so probably only 1-2 will hatch if any. The other coop will have to big enough for the rest, which will consist of Silkies and Salmon Faverolles. I have set 14 eggs and if they all hatch will need a coop large enough for them all. I would appreciate you telling me about your setup so I can get some ideas. How will I keep them in the pen? if they get out and something is after them, will they go to the coop? I have yet to let my OEGB's out because I am scared they will fly away and not come home.

    Marie
     
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Since I've had chickens, I've only been away from home for day trips, but this summer we're going to Philly to see the King...
    not Elvis, but Tutankhamun. My life long dream...LOL
    I'm planning on asking my sister to check on the birds when she goes home from work, because it's on the way. As long as there's enough water and food, and air circulation/heat they should be fine for a few days.
    Penny would lay in her cat carrier and Obelisk will lay under the chair...anything that gets laid while we're away, my sister can have.
     
  5. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    I would suggest having someone check on them if there is an unexpected heat wave or cold snap to make sure they don't suffer.

    In our particular instance.... our hen house is a section of our old horse barn.

    On Monday we had 45° weather and it was 50° in the barn. At 75° on Tuesday the temps in the barn were about 80°. Wednesday temps were 25° and 30° in the barn. Today it's 14° and snowing with 23 mph winds.

    If we had been out of town during this time, our birds could have had a stressful time with these extremes. And they wouldn't have appreciated us leaving the large barn window open. They would have suffered from the drafts alone.

    So, I think it's always a good idea to have someone check on the birds at least once a day.

    We have 17 birds in our flock (16 pullets & 1 cockerel).

    For daily maintenance...
    I gather eggs two or three times a day, depending on the day.
    Muck up the barn once in the morning and once at night, if our flock is locked loose in the barn while we're away or if weather is bad.
    Muck up the barn only at night if they are out foraging our fenced 2 acres.
    Clean off roosts and droppings board.
    Flip the deep litter daily during winter.
    Wash waterers and refill daily.
    Clean out dust bath pool.
    Interact with, watch and enjoy the birds daily.
    Watch them for about 1 hour every evening when locked in the hen house to make sure everyone appears healthy and showing no symptoms of injury or disease.

    Add fresh bedding weekly at least, depending on daily checks for wet spots.
    Clean out nest boxes and replace bedding.
    Wash feeders weekly.

    Refill feeders as needed. We use 5 gallon hanging feeders and several 1 gallon waterers on stands (milk crates turned upside down).
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2007
  6. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Quote:Our flock forages our fenced 2 acres, so they do not have a fenced run. They go to the coop at dark. We lock them up so critters can't get into the hen house.

    Quote:Is your goat pen large enough for the number of birds you will house in there? The more space the birds have, the less pecking you will see. Is it protected from weather extremes and predators?

    Quote:Personally, I think you would be better off to keep all your new birds together and have an introduction period for your old OEGBs to get used to the new OEGBs so they don't injure or kill them.

    Quote:Are you planning on having a fenced tractor or fenced run for you flock or will they be free-range?

    If you lock your birds in the hen house for a couple weeks and feed them only there, they will recognize it as home. If then you let them out, they will return every night. They will also return to lay eggs. I found that the first night, it helps to call them into the hen house with some treat - like fresh veggies, plain yogurt with active cultures or fresh chopped fruit.

    Our birds all run to the hen house or barn if they see feral dogs in the fields next to us or hawks (or geese) in the sky. If you aren't there to lock them in, whatever is chasing them, will get them.

    I don't know anything about OEGBs, but if you clip one wing, they won't be able to fly away. Of course, they won't be able to fly from a predator either.

    Go to your local library and check out books about raising chickens. Check online sites. Go to your local bookstore and sit there and read any book you find on chickens. Get as much information as you can. I researched chickens for 10 years before we got our first flock.

    regards,
    keljonma
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2007
  7. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    keljonma wrote:

    Our flock forages our fenced 2 acres, so they do not have a fenced run. They go to the coop at dark. We lock them up so critters can't get into the hen house.

    ** That is good to know. I have a barn that is attached to the goat pen, and I can make an area up high enough that they could get into the barn and the goats could not. Plus they would have the coops.

    keljonma wrote:

    Is your goat pen large enough for the number of birds you will house in there? The more space the birds have, the less pecking you will see. Is it protected from weather extremes and predators?

    **My goat pens are pretty big for the amount of birds I will keep. And we are expanding them again soon. If they go over the fence into the pasture, and something chases them, will they fly back into the pen and into the barn or coop?

    keljonma wrote:

    Personally, I think you would be better off to keep all your new birds together and have an introduction period for your old OEGBs to get used to the new OEGBs so they don't injure or kill them.

    **Of course I will not add the baby OEGB's to that coop until they are much older and I have introduced them slowly. I just meant that at some point, that will be the set up. To seperate the breeds so that they don't cross breed. I probably will only have a few of each.

    keljonma wrote:

    Are you planning on having a fenced tractor or fenced run for you flock or will they be free-range?

    ** Well, kind of both. I want to have seperate coops for each breed and then be able to rotate the groups in the yard. One day the SF's can be in the yard and let the others stay in the tractor/coop. Then alternate that. Of course I will have enough room for them to be able to run around and so forth, not just a tiny tractor to sleep in.

    keljonma wrote:

    If you lock your birds in the hen house for a couple weeks and feed them only there, they will recognize it as home. If then you let them out, they will return every night. I found that the first night, it helps to call them into the hen house with some treat - like fresh veggies, plain yogurt with active cultures or fresh chopped fruit.

    ** I have had the OEGB's that I have now for several weeks. So I will try this weekend to let them out. Maybe one at a time for a few minutes and then see how it goes? If one is home, the other will probably come back right? I will try the snacks too and just work up to leaving them out longer and longer I guess??

    keljonma wrote:

    Our birds all run to the hen house or barn if they see feral dogs in the fields next to us or hawks (or geese) in the sky. If you aren't there to lock them in, whatever is chasing them, will get them.

    **So if you free range them and you are not there, they are not really protected? Because they can't lock themselves into the coop? They can get into my barn if I make an opening in the side for them. And my fences are pretty secure. We have never had any predators in there with the goats, but how would I stop like hawks?I can't cover the entire area? How do those who free range make their birds safe?

    keljonma wrote:

    Go to your local library and check out books about raising chickens. Check online sites. Go to your local bookstore and sit there and read any book you find on chickens. Get as much information as you can. I researched chickens for 10 years before we got our first flock.

    **I will definitely keep researching. I have learned so much from this site and some nice folks I met here including Jaynie who is the person I got the eggs from. Thanks for the info.

    Marie
     
  8. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Marie,

    I'm sorry I misunderstood about your OEGBs. It sounds like you have a good plan for all your birds. It sounds like the goat pen is a good idea. If you get a chance, please post pictures in the Coop forum. Everyone here loves pictures.

    If we are home and the weather isn't dangerous, our birds forage our farm from sunup to sundown. We don't let them out in lightening storms, tornado alerts or when the winter wind chills make being outdoors unsafe.

    We have a very large old horse barn, which I mentioned earlier. We sectioned off a portion of this barn for our hen house. If we aren't going to be home, we let the flock loose in the barn so they aren't locked up in the hen house all day and night. We just lock the barn. Then if we get home before sundown, we let them out of the barn to forage. If it is after sundown, we lock them in the hen house at night.

    If your birds free-range while you aren't home to lock them up and they are chased by a predator into your barn, a 4-legged predator will follow them into the barn. I have not yet seen a hawk follow our flock into the barn. It is not unusual for us to see 10 to 15 hawks a day in our area as we are surrounded by farmlands and woodlands.

    Perhaps the best solution would be to have an area completely fenced where your birds could be outdoors but safe from predators.

    One of my friends used an old dog kennel she got from freecycle. It was made of chain link fence and she covered it with hardware cloth on all 4 sides and chicken wire on the top. She put in some small stools for roosts and hung water in the middle. A portion was covered with shade cloth. The kennel was attached to her chicken house so the birds could go inside for feed and to use the nest boxes.

    I have noticed that if we are out in the farm yard with our birds and they see a hawk, they will run to hide under a tree or bush or one of our cars if they are far from the barn. A few times a couple birds jumped onto our front porch and hid from hawks under the porch swing. Of course, this wouldn't have helped keep them safe from a 4-legged predator.

    So far, we haven't had any predator attacks because our property is completely fenced and our Great Pyrenees keeps them at bay.

    I'm sure you'll get it all worked out. Let us know how the OEGB trial goes.

    I love this board too because I'm always learning something new. It is interesting to see how everyone else raises their birds.

    regards,
    keljonma
     
  9. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    Thanks for the info. I really appreciate it. If the weather permits, I will be working on the pen/coops etc. I appreciate everyone telling me what works for them. I am considering converting an old dog run into an area for the chickens but it is closer to my house than the barn, so I guess I will have to move it up there. But it is a size that could be covered. I could let them into the goat pen when I am home to keep an eye out but then they could go in there when I am not. I could lock them into the coop at night. I am looking at what everyone else has and trying to apply that info to what I have or can do here. So thanks. I don't really know if what I am doing is an OEGB trial. I just have acquired two OEGB and then some hatching eggs from Jaynie so I decided to see if the OEGB would hatch, considering I have never seen these two mate. And I am out there quite a bit. I have three OEGB in there and two are progressing nicely. So I guess he is just shy!! I used a few yesterday, fresh ones, for some cookies and they all appeared to be fertile. So I guess he is doing his job. I just hope some of the eggs I got from Jaynie turn out. This being my first time and the eggs being shipped and so forth. She is so sweet and has helped me so much. I would definitely recommend buying from her. Anyway, thanks for the info.

    Marie
     

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