chooks are coming! Newbie questions

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
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sheridand
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chooks are coming! Newbie questions

Post: # 204388Post sheridand »

Well, I've found a nice nearby supplier and we will be getting our 3 maran hybrids in the next fortnight. I've been reading up a LOT and hammering that coops together. But, there are a few things that I am pondering and wondered if you could help me out......

My coop has a double length run, so they've got plenty of spce, but the run itself stands ON the ground, and I am wondering if I should sink some wire under the ground to make it foxproof? It's secured with looped metal pegs otherwise.

I am worried that my coop is wooden. I wouldn't have worried but I made the mistake of reading a thread on another forum about red mite! I am wondering what a good cleaning schedule would be. My coop has a metal tray to pull out, I was going to do that once a week and also sweep the run and change shavings, scrub feed and water bowls etc, and deep clean twice a year. I wondered if I should spray every week too, and if so what a good organic/not too chemical cleaning spray would be? I have found some but they all look quite harsh!

If I let them out to roam when we are here, how do I get them back in again?

What hygiene procedures do you have in place? I am thinking of getting a sanitiser spray and keeping it by the coop as my 2 kids should get into good practice. Any recommendations?

Can I use newspaper as bedding? We get a lot of local freebies and it would be nice to recycle them.

The poo: If I clean once weekly, how quickly will a poo mountain build up? I am building a compost bin with pallets, should I build two?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: chooks are coming! Newbie questions

Post: # 204399Post President Bartlet »

Hi sheridand

I'm a newbie too. We've had ours for two weeks and I'd been reading up frantically before that. I'd recommend the Haynes Chicken Manual.

I think Poultry Guard is a good coop spray or the Barrier coop product (which I think is organic).

It's probably best to let your new chooks get used to going into their coop to roost at night from the run. Ours go into the coop to perch naturally as dusk falls (and we're there ready to lock up). If they've got the hang of coming in naturally to roost, then they'll probably make their own way back in if you let them out for a roam a couple of hours before dusk. Then hopefully you won't be chasing chickens around the garden. Other than that find out what type of 'treat' they like corn/tomatoes/lettuce/slugs/whatever and leave a little trail.

Hygiene wise we all wash our hands and often use hand sanitiser after every contact. However I just found something on me (yuk! see my recent thread) so maybe I'm not the best to give advice on this one.

Bedding wise we use newspaper topped with either sawdust or shredded paper which needs to be cross shredded and not just cut into long lengths. We've just started to do this as it's a great way to recycle paper; and after the chickens have finished with it, it goes into the compost. We get rid of any paper dust (by shaking it) before we put it in the coop. This is because chickens can be prone to respiratory problems. So far the switch from sawdust to paper seems to be going ok but will let you know. Also if you go with sawdust, best to get the 'dust extracted' stuff.

Ah the poo, the poo..... we've got four bantams and they produce a huge amount of poo (chickens are meant to poo around 25 times a day). I clear up the obvious poos once a day and put them in the compost. Then once a week big clear up and clean. By the way, don't be alarmed if they sometimes do a runny looking brown poo, it's normal for them to do it from time to time.

I definitely think you should build two compost bins. You can never have too many compost bins. With pallet compost bins and a chicken run you're likely to attract rats so if you haven't thought of some form of control, now may be the time.

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Re: chooks are coming! Newbie questions

Post: # 204478Post Millymollymandy »

The President has said it all. :salute: :salute: :salute: :iconbiggrin:

Before letting them out of the run to free range give them a few weeks to get used to you and their new home and if you get into the routine of giving them some treats and some wheat or other grain which you can shake in a bowl when you go up to them, then you should be fine for getting them back home by just appearing with 'treats' - it doesn't take them long to suss it out. Mine start queuing up at the gate from lunchtime waiting for their afternoon treats! And they do take themselves off to bed of their own accord, although when they are new they often need a bit of a helping hand (a gentle shooing in towards the coop) as they haven't yet learnt the routine.

Good luck and I'm sure you'll have loads of fun! :thumbright:
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Re: chooks are coming! Newbie questions

Post: # 204529Post Big Al »

If you lock the birds in the coup for 24 - 48 hours they will automatically assume that it is a safe place to roost and thus go back there at dusk.
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Re: chooks are coming! Newbie questions

Post: # 204530Post Thomzo »

Hi
What great news. I bet you're really excited.

Some time ago, I typed up some of my experiences on chook bedding. I think the thread is entitled 'long notes on chook bedding' or similar if you feel like searching. My personal preference is cross cut shredded paper mixed with grass clippings. The grass helps the paper to compost down and vice versa. The chooks love the grass while the paper helps it to stay dry.

For red spider mite, you can either spray the house or the chickens (or both). If you spray the house first thing when the hens go out, then it'll be dried off by the time they go back in. The worst affected place will be near where they roost as the mites only come out in the dark. If you spray this area regularly then you should be ok.

I only clean my hen house out when it gets really smelly. If the hen house is well ventilated then the poo will dry into the paper and shouldn't be a problem. A quick flick around of louse powder when you put fresh bedding down, will help to keep any pests at bay. I think the one I bought is suitable for organic chickens.

Finally get yourself some worming formula. I've got some verm-X. It's quite expensive but lasts for years and you can carry on using the eggs. Not sure if it's organic but there'll be an organic alternative.

Have fun with your new birds

Zoe
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sheridand
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Re: chooks are coming! Newbie questions

Post: # 204533Post sheridand »

Thanks guys, this has all been very helpful! I am not a bug person, this is what worries me the most. When the kids got nits I was beside myself............

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