Speckledhen's Ten Commandments of Good Flock Management

boskelli1571

Crowing
8 Years
Mar 7, 2011
3,469
1,158
361
Finger Lakes, NY
Chickens may be livestock or they may be pets, but they deserve and desire attention and care. If you are going to maintain a healthy backyard flock, there are certain rules that should be followed. For those of you who frequently PM me for advice, or for those of you who are new to chicken-keeping, here is the "Speckledhen Method" in a nutshell.

Speckledhen's Ten Commandments of Good Flock Management

1) Keep a clean, dry environment...change bedding as needed, watch out for leaky waterers/windows/roofs, etc.

2) Fresh air/ventilation is essential..poop and respiration add moisture in the air. Ventilation overhead, not at roost or floor level.

3) Provide fresh water, daily. Would you take a sip out of the waterer? If not, clean it.

4) Give fresh, nutritious food, formulated for the age/function of the birds

5) Provide a safe, predator-proofed, uncrowded coop and run...they depend on you for protection

6) Periodically, check over each bird in the flock for lice, mites, wounds, etc.

7) Practice good biosecurity..disinfect shoes before and after visting the feedstore and shows, quarantine new birds, etc Under no circumstances, sell, trade, or give away a bird that shows sign of infection or has contacted another bird who shows signs of infection, or comes from a flock that has shown signs of infection, now or in the past.

8) At the first sign of contagious respiratory illness, i.e., discharges from nose or eyes or bad smell, cull, cull, cull...birds don't get colds, per se; they contract diseases, many of which make them carriers for their lifetime. That means they are able to infect others even if they seem to recover themselves. See Rule #7.

9) Do not medicate unnecessarily, including wormers and antibiotics

10) DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are numerous books and articles profiling poultry management and poultry disease. Read, study and then formulate a plan of action, should the worst happen, before it happens.


Happy Chicken-Keeping!
Excellent! Especially #9 & 10. I get so angry at the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in livestock. Also the need to research stuff - the lives of these animals depend on you, educate yourself :)
 

Double Yolked

Songster
Nov 7, 2017
75
188
106
Pacific Northwest USA
One small and to me amusing problem with #3. Provide fresh water, daily. Would you take a sip out of the waterer? If not, clean it.
I have a fairly large run for the girls and I live in an area that gets a lot of rain. So, where do my hens prefer to drink? From the sparkling clean waterer? From the chicken nipplers hanging from the carefully sanitized buckets? Noooooo.
The little feather heads would much prefer the dirty mud puddle down at the far end of the run. Or the rain run off they can 'just' crane their necks and reach coming off the side of the coop roof.
 

janiedoe

Crowing
Premium member
May 7, 2017
943
2,431
407
East Texas
One small and to me amusing problem with #3. Provide fresh water, daily. Would you take a sip out of the waterer? If not, clean it.
I have a fairly large run for the girls and I live in an area that gets a lot of rain. So, where do my hens prefer to drink? From the sparkling clean waterer? From the chicken nipplers hanging from the carefully sanitized buckets? Noooooo.
The little feather heads would much prefer the dirty mud puddle down at the far end of the run. Or the rain run off they can 'just' crane their necks and reach coming off the side of the coop roof.
Likewise! Nothing excites my chickens like a mud puddle.
 

goldysgirl

Crowing
9 Years
May 1, 2010
367
757
252
Chickens may be livestock or they may be pets, but they deserve and desire attention and care. If you are going to maintain a healthy backyard flock, there are certain rules that should be followed. For those of you who frequently PM me for advice, or for those of you who are new to chicken-keeping, here is the "Speckledhen Method" in a nutshell.

Speckledhen's Ten Commandments of Good Flock Management

1) Keep a clean, dry environment...change bedding as needed, watch out for leaky waterers/windows/roofs, etc.

2) Fresh air/ventilation is essential..poop and respiration add moisture in the air. Ventilation overhead, not at roost or floor level.

3) Provide fresh water, daily. Would you take a sip out of the waterer? If not, clean it.

4) Give fresh, nutritious food, formulated for the age/function of the birds

5) Provide a safe, predator-proofed, uncrowded coop and run...they depend on you for protection

6) Periodically, check over each bird in the flock for lice, mites, wounds, etc.

7) Practice good biosecurity..disinfect shoes before and after visting the feedstore and shows, quarantine new birds, etc Under no circumstances, sell, trade, or give away a bird that shows sign of infection or has contacted another bird who shows signs of infection, or comes from a flock that has shown signs of infection, now or in the past.

8) At the first sign of contagious respiratory illness, i.e., discharges from nose or eyes or bad smell, cull, cull, cull...birds don't get colds, per se; they contract diseases, many of which make them carriers for their lifetime. That means they are able to infect others even if they seem to recover themselves. See Rule #7.

9) Do not medicate unnecessarily, including wormers and antibiotics

10) DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are numerous books and articles profiling poultry management and poultry disease. Read, study and then formulate a plan of action, should the worst happen, before it happens.


Happy Chicken-Keeping!
I know this is an old post, but love it! So nicely said: "Would you take a sip out of the waterer...if not, clean it". My biggest pet peeve is dirty water. Animals deserve sparkling clean water and they notice if it isn't, just like we do!
 

goldysgirl

Crowing
9 Years
May 1, 2010
367
757
252
One small and to me amusing problem with #3. Provide fresh water, daily. Would you take a sip out of the waterer? If not, clean it.
I have a fairly large run for the girls and I live in an area that gets a lot of rain. So, where do my hens prefer to drink? From the sparkling clean waterer? From the chicken nipplers hanging from the carefully sanitized buckets? Noooooo.
The little feather heads would much prefer the dirty mud puddle down at the far end of the run. Or the rain run off they can 'just' crane their necks and reach coming off the side of the coop roof.
Haha, I just read this. My birds and dog delight in clean water. I take care of animals at my job and surprisingly the pigs appear to delight in a clean waterer more than any other animal, but maybe that's because they get it so dirty. My chickens actually prefer the runoff stream in my yard, but I think that it is because we live in the country on top of a hill, and it runs fresh cool and clear. They love to drink water as it is pouring out of a jug to...again cool and clear.
 

speckledhen

Intentional Solitude
Premium member
13 Years
Feb 3, 2007
78,439
11,639
936
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
I know this is an old post, but love it! So nicely said: "Would you take a sip out of the waterer...if not, clean it". My biggest pet peeve is dirty water. Animals deserve sparkling clean water and they notice if it isn't, just like we do!
Thanks! I get razzed about that one, but if you've ever watched chickens flock to a freshly filled clean waterer, you'll know that they really crave clean water. Sure, they'll drink out of puddles and wherever they can get it, but they truly love fresh, cool, clean water.
 

Double Yolked

Songster
Nov 7, 2017
75
188
106
Pacific Northwest USA
Thanks! I get razzed about that one, but if you've ever watched chickens flock to a freshly filled clean waterer, you'll know that they really crave clean water. Sure, they'll drink out of puddles and wherever they can get it, but they truly love fresh, cool, clean water.
Except for my stupid featherheads. Yesterday I spent a good 45 minutes taking down waterers and cleaning them all with brushes and cloths. Water clean enough to sip... so, where did the hens go to get their first drink? From the puddle caused from my accidently over filling one of the waterers. :barnie
 

Uncle Rhino

Chirping
Premium member
Aug 9, 2019
26
89
57
Port Orchard, WA
Chickens may be livestock or they may be pets, but they deserve and desire attention and care. If you are going to maintain a healthy backyard flock, there are certain rules that should be followed. For those of you who frequently PM me for advice, or for those of you who are new to chicken-keeping, here is the "Speckledhen Method" in a nutshell.

Speckledhen's Ten Commandments of Good Flock Management

1) Keep a clean, dry environment...change bedding as needed, watch out for leaky waterers/windows/roofs, etc.

2) Fresh air/ventilation is essential..poop and respiration add moisture in the air. Ventilation overhead, not at roost or floor level.

3) Provide fresh water, daily. Would you take a sip out of the waterer? If not, clean it.

4) Give fresh, nutritious food, formulated for the age/function of the birds

5) Provide a safe, predator-proofed, uncrowded coop and run...they depend on you for protection

6) Periodically, check over each bird in the flock for lice, mites, wounds, etc.

7) Practice good biosecurity..disinfect shoes before and after visting the feedstore and shows, quarantine new birds, etc Under no circumstances, sell, trade, or give away a bird that shows sign of infection or has contacted another bird who shows signs of infection, or comes from a flock that has shown signs of infection, now or in the past.

8) At the first sign of contagious respiratory illness, i.e., discharges from nose or eyes or bad smell, cull, cull, cull...birds don't get colds, per se; they contract diseases, many of which make them carriers for their lifetime. That means they are able to infect others even if they seem to recover themselves. See Rule #7.

9) Do not medicate unnecessarily, including wormers and antibiotics

10) DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are numerous books and articles profiling poultry management and poultry disease. Read, study and then formulate a plan of action, should the worst happen, before it happens.


Happy Chicken-Keeping!
Thank you these are great, never thought about going to the feed store before. I always buy my chicks from Jenks Hatchery and have them inoculated for Salmonella, Coccidiosis, and Mareks vaccination. I do use 1/2" rebar to make their roosts. After 2 years no problems, I did coat them first. Is this OK, easier to clean, does cost more but will last longer.
 

speckledhen

Intentional Solitude
Premium member
13 Years
Feb 3, 2007
78,439
11,639
936
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
I do use 1/2" rebar to make their roosts.
You mean they are literally roosting on a 1/2" iron pole? No, that is not great because chickens do not grip with their toes like wild birds. I think you're setting yourself up for bumblefoot eventually, I'm afraid. I use 2x4s on their wide side as roosts for the large fowl and either 2x2s or 2x3s for the bantams. Rebar also gets pretty cold in winter, I'd think, though you didn't say what you coated it with. You can oil wooden roosts, of course, to keep them lasting longer, or paint them though paint does wear off eventually. If roosts are not painted here, I periodically sand the surface and re-oil mine, keeps poop from sticking so badly. I just use a bowl with plain veg oil with a couple of drops of tea tree oil in there for anti-bug properties (only a couple drops to a bowl since tea tree is very aromatic) and an old rag to dip and wipe and let it soak in way before they go to roost so it is not slippery by the time they use them.

You really innoculate yours. I've never vaccinated mine for anything.
 

Double Yolked

Songster
Nov 7, 2017
75
188
106
Pacific Northwest USA
Thank you these are great, never thought about going to the feed store before. I always buy my chicks from Jenks Hatchery and have them inoculated for Salmonella, Coccidiosis, and Mareks vaccination. I do use 1/2" rebar to make their roosts. After 2 years no problems, I did coat them first. Is this OK, easier to clean, does cost more but will last longer.
Ouch, no I wouldn't ever use rebar. You will eventually have foot problems. I use sanded 2x4's, I sand them to get the rough slivers off but not slick/smooth. Pick up a hen and feel of her feet, the skin of her feet, on the bottom. It's soft, more like human skin. She needs a larger easier to stand on to roost, also hens don't stand the whole time while on a roost they will lower themselves and rest their breasts on the roost, so a 4 inch wide roost allows them a more comfortable and safer place to settle.
 
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