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New Chicken Owner Needs Help!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BarredCometLaced, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. BarredCometLaced

    BarredCometLaced Songster

    Jul 10, 2011
    Northern NH
    Every morning i wake up to change our 7 week old chicks water, i get a suprise. But its not a happy one. Slugs; in the water, on top of the water, beside the water. And, they poop aall on the sides of the container. I'm worried that my chicks will be hurt by the slugs contaminating the water... What i want to know is: WHY AREN'T THEY EATING THEM [​IMG] . I thought chickens ate slugs [​IMG] Also, the slugs are eating the chick feed, so they are starting to look on steroids. Seriously, they are like the length and width of an average thumb. They leave their nasty trails of slime and poop all through the food containers. Would hanging the food and water containers get rid of this nasty problem? How else can i make them go away?! (One even made it into the coop/roost area)

    ALSO, i made a bad decision when choosing what ground cover i should have for the run. I chose mulch [​IMG] This was a mistake. At least if they were on grass they would be able to eat it and i could rake it. With dirt i could see exactly where the chicken poop was (even with my 7 week old chicks). But no. I chose mulch, and that means, they cant eat it, i can't see the poop, and i don't know how to clean it. [​IMG] I am in a pickle now because i have three 7 week pooping machines, and i don't know how i will clean it! All ideas are appreciated. I guess i could switch to sand... but we tried to put sand in a run for the rabbits and bugs were EVERYWHERE! What are your guys experience with sand?

    Thanks for looking, every bit of info helps for this first time chicken owner.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011

  2. sfw2

    sfw2 Global Menace

    For slugs, I would definitely recommend hanging the feeders, and putting the waterers up on blocks. Also, don't leave your feed out overnight. Pour salt on the live ones you find.

    As far as the sand vs. mulch dilemma, anything that keeps the ground dry will help keep the bugs down. My run started off as grass, which the chickens quickly ate. Now I have a dirt run, but I put down sand as needed, to help keep it dry. You can also use DE (diatomaceous earth - food grade) or stall dry to help keep the damp and the smell at bay. Some folks also use gravel, and I've even heard of some using the recycled rubber mulch, which can be hosed down.

    Good luck, and enjoy your birds!
  3. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Songster

    Aug 20, 2010
    Long Island NY
    If you post these questions over in coop maintenance, you would get more help.

    But for now..I use sand and I have no bug problems, it's easy to rake, it absorbs poop, and sprinkling it with Stal Dry every once in a while keeps the smell away. You could still put sand over your mulch now. I put sand over the existing dirt (it was mulch like) when I first made my run and it covered well...but I used 3500 lbs for my run that is 16' x 8' so I need a truck. It was $35 for that much. You will need less, of course, for a smaller run...you just need enough so that the mulch doesn't start to get dug up and mixed with the sand. I would suggest at least 6 good inches of sand (or more as chickens like to dig).

    I don't have any issues with slugs and I keep the food and water out all night. I used to have a big slug problem in my last house (just about 5 miles away and they were huge!) and I had no chickens there at all, so I think it's the territory when it comes to slugs. Raising food is always a good idea and I put my water fount on 2 patio blocks. Try sprinkling DE (food grade) around the water container, it should repeal the slugs, or even crushed egg shells. I've even heard that copper repeals slugs?
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    I've never seen a chicken eat a slug. Ducks yes, chickens no.
  5. turbodog

    turbodog Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Independence, La.
    I use sand and love it. The chickens tend to scratch any poo back into the sand so we don't have a smell problem. Mine is river sand so it has lots of little pebbles in it, plenty of grit.
    I would think a sand run would deter slugs. Doubt if they like to try and crawl over that.

    Hang your feeder and waterer so the slugs can't get to them then.
  6. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Songster

    Dec 21, 2010
    I can't believe your chickens don't eat slugs - my girls devour them! Maybe salting them will improve the flavor? [​IMG] Definitely hanging feed and water should help. And switching to sand may help too. Good luck!
  7. jrosto

    jrosto In the Brooder

    Aug 12, 2011
    Sluggo is an organic slug bait that works really well.

  8. Careful of salt, not good for chickens.
  9. cobrien

    cobrien Songster

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I use the organic sluggo to control snails and slugs in the garden, but don't let my chickens near it. although not toxic, I know thegirls would eat it and I don't want them pigging out on it. I'd use it around the coop/run if they can't get to it. Hanging the feeders/waterers will work but putting them on blocks won't. If you still have trouble. you can put copper tape (in garden section of hardware store) on the feeders, slugs will not cross over it as they don't like the feeling of it.

    my girls will eat a few slugs here and there but then walk away from them. same with snails. but they go nuts for other bugs & worms.
  10. upcdayz

    upcdayz Songster

    Feb 20, 2010
    My chickens won't eat slugs either. They take a peck at them, then shake their heads, wipe their beaks then walk away. Too slimy, I guess. Don't blame them. DE sprinkled around their food containers should help with slugs and other creepy crawlies, and is not toxic to the birds. Be sure to use food grade DE though.

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