New to chickens

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by GinnyDudek, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. GinnyDudek

    GinnyDudek Just Hatched

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    Jun 4, 2016
    Durham, NC
    It's a long story, but we purchased our same dream solar home twice. When we bought it back, it came with 9 free range hens, about one year old and lovingly raised and handled often by 3 girls.

    I held them the first week, and got a terrible case of posion ivy, because they walk through it. I ended up on steroids, which is not a good thing because I have Lyme disease, Bartonella infection and an immune deficiency.

    Today the trending news is that the CDC reported many cases of Salmonella infection in people with backyard chickens. I'm certain the story is overblown, and as a nurse I'm diligent about using gloves and handwashing after cleaning the coop and handling eggs.

    We've had bountiful rain, and haven't been able to clean out their 12x20 kennel run. It's not puddling, but is malodorus. We've laid pine chips on top, but what else can we do for the odor?

    Part of me wants to continue to hold them, but my fear of posion ivy and now Salmonella is getting in the way.

    I want to plant a garden, but wonder if the composted dropping will be too rich in nitrogen for the vegetables.

    This newbie thanks you. PS. I don't even know what kind of chickens we have. Three are white, two are cinnamon, two are brown and one is black and white.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
    The fear of salmonella is, as you suspected, somewhat overblown -- common sense (such as your already in place handwashing) and not putting the birds directly to/on your mouth/lips/etc is really quite sufficient in most cases. The big blow up came with people who were getting baby chicks and allowing children to handle them, kiss them, not washing hands before touching faces, etc -- the threat is the same with other "pets" who commonly carry salmonella (ie turtles).
    For identifying your birds I would suggest taking a few photos and posting them as there are several breeds/hybrids which could fit in the general descriptions you have provided. The best photos for IDing birds show the whole bird (legs included) in side profile.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] I agree with the above… For the mud and smell, sand in the run will help a lot with drainage. Otherwise, here are some threads on the topic of muddy runs:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/969757/muddy-run-solutions/0_30

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please/0_30

    The droppings, we always added ours to the compost heap and we had a LOT of chickens at one point. When the compost was too acidic as a result, I neutralised it within minutes by mixing in wood ash. So i.e. go for it! It's good stuff for the garden.
     
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  4. GinnyDudek

    GinnyDudek Just Hatched

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    Jun 4, 2016
    Durham, NC
    Thanks. A neighbor has a fire pit, so we can start with that, if it ever stops raining.

    Another newbie question... I have a bag of wildflower seeds that is mixed with mulch, fertilizer and seed. I'm concerned the seed will look like feed, and the chickens will eat it.The package describes Encap technology, which probably means there are micro-beads that retain water. When the crystals "sparkle" that is a sign that there is enough water, and is supposed to take the guesswork out of watering.

    The chickens tend to dislike sand, so I'm considering covering the garden with sand. Their website says they have pet safe products, without urea, but this label says that there is urea in this mix. Most of it is inert material (98% paper mulch and polymer)

    So I have two concerns.

    If I spread this seed mix, and they eat the crystals, will they swell in their gut, and cause health consequences.

    The polymer is coated with urea. That concerns me, but I read it is also an additive in their diets.

    Thanks again. Ginny
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Ginny, from my experience with chickens they will peck and try to eat just about anything. I have a tiny scar on my finger from where one went after my wedding ring years ago and another just below my lower lip where one went for my teeth! So I'd say the odds are they'll go after or at least investigate the sparkles. Compost and seed mixes are heaven for chickens. Rubber chips is an option, if you can get some… It's a pity they dislike sand as that really is great with muddy runs, takes the poo out of the poop situation as well. I just remembered something else that may work:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/707861/sweet-pdz/0_30
     
  6. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
     
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Lots of chicken folks use Stall dri a horse product.
     
  8. GinnyDudek

    GinnyDudek Just Hatched

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    Jun 4, 2016
    Durham, NC
    I found Stall Dri at a farm supply storm.... and tropical storm Bonnie finally gave us a break today. Now I need tincture of time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  9. GinnyDudek

    GinnyDudek Just Hatched

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    Jun 4, 2016
    Durham, NC
    I heard rubber chips are bad for dogs, when they chew on them... and I have a dog so I won't use them.


    I have a big bag of seeds and only a 6x6 area for a wildflower garden. I sprinkled a little seed, and they avoided them, when they were covered with sand, so I'll give it a try..


    I created a raised bed vegetable garden, that the chickens have ignored. The compost pile at our new home had one worm in it... no surprise. I got compost from my old house and put hundreds of worms in my raised garden. I'm figuring out how to coexist with my new chickens.The garden bed has a center area for composting, so nutrients seep into the soil around it. The chickens have not shown any interest in this garden. It is layered with brown cardboard, rotted wood, compost mixed with NC clay, and topped off with 4 bags of miracle grow garden soil.

    The chicken are free range, but spend nights in the dog house in back of the garden.

    .[​IMG]
     

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