Totally new to chickens in Lynnwood, WA, 98087 - please help!!

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by LynnwoodWa, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. LynnwoodWa

    LynnwoodWa Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2013
    Hi All!

    I posted over in New Members and was directed here. I'm in Lynnwood, WA, a suburb just north of Seattle. I inherited 5 chickens and a turkey, someone abandoned them on my property. There is a coop attached to a run about 8'x20'. It's not very well made but I think it can last one winter here. If anyone wants to help I can take a photo and attach tomorrow/daylight. I learned so far I probably don't need a light in the coop, even though there was one up to yesterday. No idea why he took the light.

    1) They have food for now, although mtngirl35 said I should feed them layer feed and offer oyster shell on the side for extra calcium. I will get the oyster shells soon. I have the layer feed and also have a bag of Grainland's Best "Natures Feed Grain". Is that ok too?

    2) I looked inside and there is only ONE box to lay eggs in. Isn't that not enough for 5 chickens? -- I mean shouldn't there be 3 or 4 nesting boxes? It was filthy in there so I cleaned it out and put plastic down so I can just pull it out next time and hose it into the garden.

    3) MountainPeeps suggested: ..."Bedding is another important thing to have in winter. If chickens are living on cold, damp or otherwise insufficient bedding they can get frostbite or can literally freeze. Straw is possibly the best bedding to use in winter. It acts as insualtion and is very good at trapping heat. Plus, chickens love to dig in and peck at straw. Pine shavings and shredded paper are another option. Avoid using sand, hay, pine needles, leaves and cedar shavings...."

    I can get straw near here. Please tell me how to place it. --- Inside the coop, for the floor, is a slot with a rack that holds chicken wire that they walk on. Under that is blank space where their poop falls. That is where I put the plastic so I can pull out their poop and throw in the garden easily. Do I put the straw on top, where they walk, or below--where the poop falls?

    4) The ramp leading from the ground up into the coop is broken. It's nearly 2 feet up to the door. They do get up inside, but should I fix that?

    5) Also, I have to walk through all the mud cuz of the rain, is there a low-cost solution to put over the mud and chicken poo?

    6) I have an unusual issue of having a Bantam chicken "Lulu" that was raised in a house (not mine) from birth. She does not roost like a normal chicken -- she sleeps in a corner of the floor of the coop in a box open on the side/front. It is covered so the roosting birds don't poop on her. She has never spent a winter outside. She will be 2 in Spring. She wore diapers in her early life and was a 10-year-old girls pet. The mother put the chicken on Craigslist where my friend got her and promised to give her a real chicken life. He tired to put her outside in late fall 2013 but the other chickens would not have it, so we kept her inside over Winter. She has a pretty nice wire cage he got her. So Spring 2014 we moved her outside and it took some time but she is living a chicken life now but she is very VERY tame and still wants to come in the house. Since she does not roost, is there any issues with that? When it gets super cold should I bring her inside? In the coop, her box is a solid-sided milk crate that she sleeps in, and she knows it is her home in the coop. Her eggs are always there. Would straw in her milk crate be enough?

    I am really low-income so please low-cost solutions..

    Thanks in advance,

    Cyndy
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Just the layer is usually enoouhg, though you want to offer some oyster shell separately if they start having soft shelled or thi shelled eggs.

    One nest in plenty.

    They would be more comfortable if you can cover the chicken wire with some pold boards, a scrap of plywood or vinl, etc., to make a solid floor. Then rake out the straw when it gets smelly or messy and replace. Probably the prior owners let the chickens live directly on the wire to make cleaning easier. This is cold, uncomfortable and often draft for them, never mind making foot problems more likely. The straw won't so any good unless you cover the wire floor; ir is meant for them to walk on, and to absorb some of the mosture of the poop. Also, with poop on straw, you can just stir things around some days and it will control odor pretty well. Adding some pelletized lime or Sweet PDZ to the straw just a handful at a time, will also help keep things dr and occntrol odors. A bag of pelletized lime is another expense, maybe $8, but it should pay for itself in making the hay last longer. (The cheapest way to manage the floor is have a large enough coop that ou can just stir the litter aveery few days or week, and onl clean it out and replace it once or twice a ear.)

    It might be better to fix the ramp to prevent their injuring their feet or legs Ifrom landing hard on them. You will not be happy if they get sores on the bottom of their feet.

    The best solution to the mud is a drainage ditch around the area so the water drains away. Check out this article: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-fix-a-muddy-run-chicken-coop Sand will also help. Can you collect some fairly clean sand from a riverside near you? Or, do you have some scrap lumber around that you can just lay over the mud that they can then walk on?

    If Lulu were mine, I would put straw or hay in her box, as you suggested.
     
  4. LynnwoodWa

    LynnwoodWa Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2013
    Wow, these answers are fabulous!

    Thanks to poster Judy above, I just put an old clear office 'chair mat' on the coop floor (the kind a chair rolls on).

    I also cut that blackberry branch trailing where the chicken get up to the coop.

    Since it was just an overtime paycheck, I am ordering:

    Chopped Straw, <--- is that ok? Or should I just get the regular straw?

    Organic Hen Supplement Kit (Diatomaceous Earth + Oyster Shell + Grit),
    and -- is this the Pelletized Lime (?)

    I am adding photos of the coop so you all can see my issues.I think I want to replace the run very late winter before those blackberries start growing again. I don't know if that tarp will stay up all winter. I hope so. I'm going to have a nightmare if that tarp falls.

    Should I cover that small hole in the third pic?

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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  5. LynnwoodWa

    LynnwoodWa Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2013
    duplicate post deleted
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014

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