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default We are getting chickens!

Post by TamaraNicole on 11th March 2015, 1:12 pm

Yay we are getting 2 dwarf silkies! We have thought it through and are quite ready. This Will be kind of a test drive. If everything goes Well we Will make it a permanent fix before winter comes.

To you chicken keepers out there, any advice?
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Post by freebird on 11th March 2015, 2:27 pm

Oooh, how exciting Tamara. I have had chickens before, but not for a long time. So I will leave the advising to Ploshkin, who has lots, and Dandelion (I can't remember if she still has some, but she did not that long ago). I hope you enjoy them.
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Post by Ploshkin on 11th March 2015, 7:49 pm

That's exciting Tamara. Have you already got a house for them? My first advice would be that most small houses you can buy have really rubbish perches that don't do the birds any good. A perch should be about 4 or 5cm wide so that their feet aren't curled up when they perch which can deform them. They also rest their breastbone on the perch and a thin perch can damage the bone. I mostly make my chicken houses but when I have bought one I have changed the perch.
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Post by FloBear on 11th March 2015, 8:44 pm

That is exciting, Tamara.
I only started about 3.5 years ago and adopted 4 ex farm birds that were due for slaughter. I named them after my sisters!! I am on my second flock now, which is down to three 'girls'. Named after plants this time.
My advice is to have a good quality plastic house as they are very easy to disassemble and clean and make the job of keeping red mites at bay much easier than in a wooden house with its very many crevices.
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Post by Dandelion on 11th March 2015, 10:32 pm

I do still have two girls (Marigolds, called Ginger and Nutmeg) and I too have a plastic hen house, which I've had for a good few years now and am very happy with.

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by TamaraNicole on 12th March 2015, 6:23 am

I know the Eglu (which looks fab) and Green frog, but both far too expensive. Are there others i haven't seen?

We were kind of planning to build our own a-frame out of Wood because we have what we need left over from another project but plastic does sound interesting!
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Post by freebird on 12th March 2015, 8:32 am

We built our own house from wood. I'm sure that Flobear is quite right about being easy to keep it clean, but I have to say that I don't remember having any trouble with red mites.
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Post by FloBear on 12th March 2015, 9:47 am

You're right, Tamara, the plastic houses are a lot pricier. Mine's a Doodlehouse but I think they may have gone out of business now.
If you are aware of red mites and constantly vigilant and treat the house regularly then I'm sure all will be well. One of my neighbours wasn't and got such a bad infestation that all the chickens had to be destroyed and all their housing etc burnt Sad
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Post by Chilli-head on 12th March 2015, 10:08 am

I'm starting to feel a bit left out here Sad I sort of like the idea of chickens, or bees. I'm not very good at caring for things though.
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Post by freebird on 12th March 2015, 3:47 pm

Chilli-head wrote: I'm not very good at caring for things though.

That's precisely why I don't have any now, CH. I was very tempted to have bees, but again, I find the commitment more than I want at the moment. Inside creatures (ie pets) are not such a problem - it's having to traipse down the garden when the weather is filthy, at least three times a day for chickens.

I do miss them, and I certainly miss the eggs. But I don't miss the work.
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Post by Dandelion on 12th March 2015, 6:08 pm

We have an eglu, which was bought with some redundancy money as a kind of gesture (not sure what sort of gesture - defiant, I think...!) Best thing we could have bought - yes it was pricey, but we've never had an infestation, and it's so easy to look after and clean. It took about ten minutes tops tonight after school to clean out the droppings tray and the nest box, and I do this a couple of times a week, so it's a good choice for someone who has to work but wants to keep hens.I have never tried wooden chicken houses, but my mother says that her aunt kept hens in a wooden garden shed during the war, and didn't seem to have any problems. She alternated between hens, budgies and garden tools in this shed!!

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by TamaraNicole on 12th March 2015, 6:17 pm

I think we are going to have an eglu. The coop itself is within budget, and we can make the run ourselves. We have timber and chicken wire. Thanks everyone for your advice.

What do you feed them?
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Post by FloBear on 13th March 2015, 1:44 pm

I feed mine something called 'layers pellets'. The ones I use are the Smallholder range from Allen and Page and the local stables gets them in for me. I know there are cheaper options than this but I am not looking to be a viable business or anything and just over £10 a sack is fine with me.
They also have poultry corn or dried mealworms for an afternoon snack and I chuck in leaves from various veg when I have them.
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Post by TamaraNicole on 13th March 2015, 3:20 pm

Ok i am getting it now! I've read so much about it but never managed to figure it out till now. I will look into what is available around here.

Dandelion, do you use litter in the Eglu? It feels kind of strange not having hay in a chicken coop.
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Post by Ploshkin on 13th March 2015, 4:00 pm

Actually, Tamara, hay is not good for chickens as it can get too hot & harbour lice & other beasties. Wood shavings or straw is best in their nest box. I also use layers pellets for my birds - depending on where you get your birds from the seller should be able to advise you of the best place to get food.
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Post by Chilli-head on 13th March 2015, 5:47 pm

Nooo ! I'm trying to resist the temptation to take on another time consuming pastime, and now you go an tell me it is a good use for all my waste wood shavings !
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Post by freebird on 13th March 2015, 6:18 pm

Bag them up and sell them to local chicken keepers, CH.
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Post by Dandelion on 13th March 2015, 10:06 pm

I use paper in mine - newspaper to line the tray for the droppings, and shredded school documents for the nesting box! I've never had a problem with it, and it composts beautifully. Another option is Aubiose which is animal bedding made from hemp.

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird on 14th March 2015, 7:46 am

Oh yes, I forgot I used to line the floor of the hen house with newspaper. Makes for quick and easy cleaning. The chickens soon denuded the soil in the run, so I would put straw down in the run. They loved it when I topped it up or put fresh straw down, and would spend hours scratching for the fallen seeds.

I used hay in my nest boxes - homegrown hay, I might add. I would cut the long grass in the neglected wild part of my garden with a scythe, and dry it in the summer sun. Once dry I would bag it and use it just for replenishing the nest box litter.
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Post by FloBear on 14th March 2015, 4:45 pm

I also use newspaper in the chicken coop and nest boxes with a layer of Aubiose on top and, in the nest boxes, shredded paper as well. Trying to get OH to remember to create short shreds rather than full length A4 is a bit of a task!
I have used a straw bale spread over the ground in the big run and they do like it. This time I left the bale intact and the chickens entertain themselves pulling out the straw and scattering it about.
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Post by TamaraNicole on 16th March 2015, 12:03 pm

Thanks everyone for your input. We are going to work on things this weekend. The hens will arrive in may.
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Post by Ploshkin on 16th March 2015, 12:15 pm

We will be expecting pictures!
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Post by TamaraNicole on 27th April 2015, 12:29 pm

If i can remember, here are pics of the freshly finished chicken Coop!
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Post by TamaraNicole on 27th April 2015, 12:33 pm

Ok i am not being able to copy the link for my pics. Is it my iPad or something else? Am going to Check the instructions.
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Post by TamaraNicole on 27th April 2015, 12:38 pm

Ok i will try again later..
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