Perch, Deep Litter Method, Diatomaceous Earth, Salmonella.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nappy501, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. nappy501

    nappy501 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi,

    Just joined you all. I live in the UK. We got 4 rescue laying chickens at the beginning of August. I just found this site as I have been worry about salmonella in the eggs and stumbled upon the Deep Litter Method.

    The coop is a 4 foot by 4 foot old dog house, with a 4 foot by 6 foot run attached to it. This is on concrete slabs. The coop floor is wood, but I was worried about been able to clean the cracks so it has vinyl flooring on it.I have water and foot inside the house with a nesting box made out of a plastic planter. As you can see from the photos later the run has been a headache, so now it is covered in wood chippings (not sure what you call it in America, the sort of stuff you find in children's playgrounds)

    I have been using wood shavings on the floor of the coop and straw in the nesting box. Then every day or every other day, I go in with a trowel and pick out all the poo and throw it in the composter. At the end of the week I have been emptying the wood shavings and replacing it all. Once since the chickens arrived I have really cleaned it out and mopped the vinyl floor with a week bleach solution.

    From reading about the deep litter method, I feel I have been overzealous. I was really worrying about maintaining my present cleaning routine over the winter.

    So I would like to try the deep litter method, so I don't have to be picking out poo out of the litter? If I try this I would feel happier if I could sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on the litter. I asked at the local pet shop and they have checked with their supplies who had no idea what they were talking about. So where can I get food grade DE in the UK? I have seen it online, but I was hoping to buy at least a kg and that makes the postage around £10.00.

    I am hoping this link to my flickr account works:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2748800451/
    If I do the deep litter I think I will have to put a board across the doorway, but I will have to be careful that they can still get out of the hatch.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2749634340/in/photostream/

    Also what is the matter with my perch? You can see I am taking this personally. As far as I am aware the chickens are not using it. The chickens spend time in a cordon off area, on the grass in the garden. My children bring them back to the run in the evening, this evening it was about 7.30 pm. Most of the time I forget, so at 8.30 pm when it was virtually dark, I went out to shut the hatch on the coop. I could just make out the four chickens sitting underneath the perch. From what other people have said, because the perch is clean this also suggests they are not using it.

    I wonder if the perch is not stable enough, but the nesting box is very stable, see here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2749633626/in/photostream/
    but is spotlessly clean. So I don't think anyone is up on there either.

    We all love soft fried eggs, but I fear the risk of salmonella, so we will have to stop that. There are still omelettes, pancakes and scrambled eggs. I feel our other hygiene practices are adequate. Reading other peoples posts has reassured me in this regard.

    Any ideas welcome. I've rambled so will list main questions again:
    so I don't have to be picking out poo out of the wood shavings?
    So where can I get food grade DE in the UK?
    Also what is the matter with my perch?

    Regards

    Nappy
     
  2. mrsengeseth

    mrsengeseth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I don't know about the other questions, but this one I do know. Healthy hens = healthy eggs. So as long as that is ok, and your kitchen hygiene is good you can have soft fried eggs.

    [​IMG]

    I get my DE from a feed store...the kind that cater more towards farms of different sizes. I don't know what would be similar in the UK. The pet stores in my neighborhood look at me like i have two heads.

    good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  3. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    Nope, you don't have to pick up the poo out of the shavings. Every day or every few days just take a spade or a shovel and work the shavings around and sprinkle everything with DE.

    I have no idea where you can get DE in the UK. There are other UK members in the forum though, maybe you could send them a private message to ask if they use DE?

    I don't see anything wrong with the perch. Sometimes it just takes them a while to figure out that it's there and that they can actually use it. Try picking up one of your hens and setting her down on the perch at night.

    Oh, and I wouldn't worry about salmonella. I would worry about it from store bought eggs, but not from super fresh eggs from your own chickens.
     
  4. Psittizen Shikkin

    Psittizen Shikkin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you can do the deep litter method but you'd probably have to stay on top of things especially in the winter. The reason your hens aren't roosting I think has to do with the width of the roost. I've noticed they like a nice wide and flat roost much more than a narrow one. Don't over think it and have fun. [​IMG]
     
  5. Psittizen Shikkin

    Psittizen Shikkin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oroville, California
    As to the DE, I believe dlhunicorn would probably know where to get it if it's available in the UK so you may want to pm her.
     
  6. Dustoff79

    Dustoff79 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    San Antonio, Texas
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  7. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    South Puget Sound
    It's likely they don't use the perch/roost because they grew up without one. If they never use it, it won't affect their abilty to lay, their health, or their appreciation of you saving them!

    Welcome to BYC!!!
     
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    Quote:I don't know about the other questions, but this one I do know. Healthy hens = healthy eggs. So as long as that is ok, and your kitchen hygiene is good you can have soft fried eggs.

    [​IMG]

    I get my DE from a feed store...the kind that cater more towards farms of different sizes. I don't know what would be similar in the UK. The pet stores in my neighborhood look at me like i have two heads.

    good luck!

    When the chicken's lay their eggs they lay them with a protective coating called 'bloom'. The bloom is a natural barrier to keep bacteria out such as salmonella. We love soft fried eggs.

    Here is a thread on the subject:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=80723


    Quote:I agree with this post. You can try picking them up and putting them on the perch. Sometimes they will get the idea. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  10. lana

    lana Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 3, 2008
    Eureka, MO
    concerning the roost we just recently gotten our chickens and are still learning but from what we witnessed our chickens are 2 yr old and have never had access to a roost. we have had our chickens now 1 1/2 wks and they started out on an old shelf and then they discovered what the roosting poles were for and you can't get them off of them now. so it may just take showing them or putting a couple of the more dominate ones up there first and we have also noticed one of our smaller ladies needs a milk crate to reach the roost better but she is very happy and gets upset without her roost now.

    lana
     

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