Things I Learned My First Two Months..

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Davidisinaband, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Davidisinaband

    Davidisinaband Out Of The Brooder

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    Potential Flock Saving Advice

    When it comes to wanting your chickens to be happy, healthy, and productive egg layers, new poultry enthusiasts run the gambit of good info and faulty practices. We strive to do everything "right" and cross our fingers that we don't encounter a major disaster. We all however make mistakes. I post this so others can learn from mine. I've fallen into major pitfalls and only (so far) dodged major catastrophe through careful vigilance.

    1) When you buy maturing to mature birds, do so all at once. The threat of introducing disease is too great when getting birds from multiple sources. Figure out how many you're going to want and get them all at the same time, preferably from the same seller. That way, you know that if you have carriers, they're all carriers and you won't have a mystery disease pop up. This will keep you from getting attached to your chickens and only later realizing that you have killed them all by introducing that one bird you couldn't pass up at the flea market. If you can wait, hatching your own eggs is by far the best way to go, especially if you have a brand new coop. Some diseases will make you leave your coop dormant for months after sanitizing.

    2) Your chickens will not freeze to death. Keep them dry and get a compass to put the closed off side of the coop toward the west (and north if you have two enclosed sides - this keeps most of the bitter winds out). It's that simple.. Dry and out of the cold north and west winds. Now, I did this off the bat as I built the coop. Where I failed comes next. Wrapping your coop with plastic and putting in a heat light does more harm than good. You get about a 5 degree difference between inside and out. That's not enough of a difference to make them more comfortable, but it is enough of a temperature difference to produce condensation on the inside of the plastic. The humidity spikes inside, ventilation is non existent, and your chickens WILL most likely get "sick." The same goes for the deep litter method. It sounded good in principle, so I tried it. Between poor ventilation, condensation, and the chickens scratching, you have a ticking time bomb. The temperature gain is not worth the risk.

    3) This one is probably just for me, but vinyl siding does not work the same as corrugated roofing. lol It will leak on a flat roof because it will sag. The same goes for tarps. Tarping your roof does not equal a dry environment. No matter how tight you stretch it, it will sag and eventually you'll end up with a duck pond hanging over your chickens heads. All this I didn't just figure out, but the level of inadequacy was far greater than I initially thought it would be.

    4) Tylan, Chlortetracycline, Sulmet.. None of them have been sufficiently tested for egg layers. Their not as broad spectrum as you would like either. Self diagnose at your own risk! Rule out environmental factors first, and if it's just a runny nose with no other symptoms, check your ventilation, change out the litter and nest boxes, check your feed, and start them on electrolytes to see if that clears it up.

    5) Feeders and waterers on the ground equals coming in and finding a foot tall pile of straw where the dispensers should be! It took mine ten minutes to completely foul up their water before I finally hung mine up. I was worried about how high off the ground I could get away with and still effectively keep the scratchings out. Turns out it only takes about 2-3 inches off the ground to keep them totally free of all debris.

    6) Build an isolation area before you buy your second chicken. You will need it. When this snow gets gone, that's the first thing on my to do list. I've had two circumstances where I needed one in the past week. I've had to use an old rabbit cage as a temporary cull pen.

    I hope this helps all the newbies. If I've gotten anything wrong, please feel free to correct me. Add to the list if you'd like. I put this in this section because it all really has to do with keeping your flock healthy as a new poultry raiser!

    God Bless
     
  2. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    great advice. A don't think a trap roof is predator proof either. you are so correct on the water bowl issue
     
  3. Davidisinaband

    Davidisinaband Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 2, 2011
    Upstate, SC
    Quote:Yeah, it's not.. What we did though is we covered the top with chicken wire as well, covered half with the vinyl siding and were going to leave the other half of the top exposed. We decided though that it was best to just cover the whole thing and add an open run later on.

    Oh yeah, I forgot to add too my new catch phrase since we added a rooster finally.. "If blood is drawn, she sleeps alone!" lol
     
  4. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, you learned all that in two months! Good advice, especially on keeping them dry, not warm. Here's to hoping that the rest of your chicken keeping goes smoothly!
     
  5. Davidisinaband

    Davidisinaband Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 2, 2011
    Upstate, SC
    Quote:Thanks!! [​IMG]

    I also learned early this morning not to crow at my rooster.. He took great offense to that, squared up to me, and started puffing up.. lol Poor thing's been crowing out there for 2 hours now.. -_-
     

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