Some questions....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CarrieR77, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. CarrieR77

    CarrieR77 In the Brooder

    May 18, 2018
    Hello All!

    I have a flock of 8 chickens which will be 6 weeks old tomorrow. I believe we have 3 roosters and 5 hens. They are a white leghorn cross. We just moved them to their outdoor coop and they are loving it! The coop is elevated off the ground and has good sized run attached to it. We do plan on having them free range some of the days. I have a few questions. First, the flooring of the run is dirt. I've been reading about putting sand(not play sand) on the bottom of the run to help clean up the droppings better, Has anyone ever tried this? Second, when do I changed their feed from chick starter? Also, when should we introduce grit if necessary? Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
    staceyj likes this.
  2. staceyj

    staceyj Enabler

    Jan 1, 2017
    Coastal NC
    My Coop
    Hi there.
    Chicks eat “chick food” all the way up until someone lays an egg. Then you can switch over and start providing oyster shell on the side, which is not the same as grit. Which comes in two sizes.
    Chick grit and regular grit.
    Chick Grit is introduced as soon as you’re offering them anything other than their regular food.

    I have a sand and dirt mixture in my run.
    Lots and lots of course sand.
    I say mixed because their natural scratching behavior mixes it in.
    So far I’ve been pretty happy with it.
  3. CarrieR77

    CarrieR77 In the Brooder

    May 18, 2018
    Thank you so much!!
  4. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    My coop has a dirt floor, I use a shovel to clean it. Some folks are required to have a solid floor, which would benefit from a covering like sand.
    If they have access to the ground they dont need added grit.
    I would pick one cock to keep (if you can have a rooster) and find something to do with the others. Fry, give away, sell (right,,)
    I feed high protein to the hole flock with no calcium in it.
    Egg/oyster shell free access on the side.
  5. CarrieR77

    CarrieR77 In the Brooder

    May 18, 2018
    Thank you!
  6. Shelray

    Shelray In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2017
    I have six chicks that are about 10 weeks old. I have kept them separate from the older chickens (3 hens and 1 rooster) that are over a year old. When is a good age to allow them together.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I don't use sand, I just have a dirt run. There are a few things to consider in regard to bedding in the run. First off does it drain or hold water? If it holds water you are probably going to have issues no matter what you use. If it drains you can probably use about anything and be OK.

    A big issue is the chicken density, how many chickens and what size of run. Chickens are going to poop wherever they are. If they poop in a relatively small area the poop can build up to a point that it causes problems. If it is spread out enough you usually don't have to work very hard managing it. Most people in a suburban backyard don't have enough room to do this though.

    That leaves you with some options. You can go into the run (and coop) and regularly remove poop to keep it from building up. Sand usually works pretty well for this, as long as the sand can drain.

    Another option is to put some type of material in there as a bedding, to absorb the moisture and mix the poop. At some point you may have to remove that bedding and do something with it. You can get a lot of volume with that stuff.

    Another option is to try the deep litter method in your run. That's basically turning your run into a compost pile. The chickens will keep it turned for you with all their scratching.

    I don't know which method is best for you, there may be some trial and error involved to see what works best. Good luck!
    aart likes this.
  8. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    Can your birds all see and visit currently, but not touch? My hatch goes to an outdoor brood house at 2-3 days old. They stay here in site of the flock until 5 weeks. I turn off the heat at 4 weeks old (depending on weather, in very cold I may run it a few more days).
    I put my new hatches in the flock at 5 weeks old, if I have a broody hen she takes them into the flock at 2-3 days old. I would add my little ones to the flock sooner, but I have cats near by. At 5 weeks the chicks are fully feathered out, moma would have had them on the roost at 4 weeks (even in the winter), and my hatch by 5 weeks old are all roosting.
    You may need to help them in the first few nights, but they get the idea fast.
    They will learn the pecking order very fast as well, which hens they can be near and which ones to yield right of way to. I do watch the first morning, and I move them at night.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    I feed a 20% 'all flock' type feed to all my birds, with oyster shell in a separate container for the layers, simplifies things. Good for chicks to have appropriately sized grit from about 1 week on.

    I prefer a semi-deep litter of dry plant matter, mostly aged ramial wood chippings, in the run to keep the odors down, no need to clean just add more dry stuff as needed, it's basically a cold compost. As RR noted much can depend on the size of your run, the number of birds you have, and the drainage aspect of the site.

    Climate is almost always a factor.
    Knowing where in this world you are located can really help us help you.
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, then it's always there!


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