Guest Post: Dan (part 6)

Well week six was a washout for the most part.  Rain, rain and more rain.  I was tempted to borrow Glory’s Duck Boots

Before I get to this past week I have to report we got our chicken operating manual Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens.  Now that doesn’t mean I won’t have any questions in the future but it may prevent me from asking ignorant ones.  (Don’t count on it though.)

We also received our first two chicken farming catalogs in the mail.  After looking through them I found there is over four pages of chicken medications and was alarmed at all the treatments they may need.  Do chickens become hypochondriacs?   I sure hope not.

We also received a bi-monthly magazine about chickens and from one article I learned that besides eating, chickens favorite pastime is pooping;  that there will be no grass left in their yard after I increase my flock; and that their playpen will become a muddy quagmire that will in no time become a layer of wet poop.  My wife said her friend who is selling us the chickens puts down a layer of straw in the chicken yard and then changes it out when it starts to get messy.  The only good thing I learned about this is that the chicken poop is excellent to add to my future mulch bins.   If anyone knows a better way to keep the chicken yard clean please let me know.

I also learned that chickens like people food and leftovers.   If Termite finds this out he might not be so keen on protecting them.

So let’s go over what I got done last week.  As you can see in the photo below I did get the cover to the chicken’s playpen done.  I used chicken wire and then Beth was kind enough to clip all the fence lengths together using cage clips.  I also managed to figure out how to put an awning over the window that is above the yard.  As you can tell I used scrap pieces of wood I had under the shed.

Inside the yard I put two roosts and they are both about 4 feet wide so the little ladies can fight over who gets to use them.  Maybe I’ll add a third section in the middle if it’s necessary.    In the photo they look a little low but that is because of the angle the photo was taken.  It’s about 42 inches from the ground to the top of the perch.   I’m also going to box in an area in the yard to create an area for their dust baths.

 Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get the fencing in around the base of the shed.  On the high side I’ll have to figure out how to put fencing in that can be removed so when  I need to get under the shed to clean it, it will be easier then crawling under it.

Well, that’s it for this week.  Any ideas on how to keep the yard clean outside of using straw would be appreciated.  Also, what is the most common ailment I can expect the chickens to develop?

__________________

Dan Shaw, future chicken farmer and entrepreneur.  http://www.diyyardandhome.com

See related posts at:

Dan: Part 5

Dan:Part 4

Dan:Part 3

Dan:Part 2

Dan:Part 1

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5 Responses to Guest Post: Dan (part 6)

  1. Julie Helms says:

    Hey Dan,
    Don’t fret on the diseases. In the 20+ years I have had chickens I have had to deal with only a few conditions:
    1.I inherited my first flock and they were covered in leg mites–easy fix with diatomaceous earth.
    2.Once I had an egg-bound hen. She died in spite of treatment.
    3. Respiratory problem killed about 1/3 of my flock one spring–this was my worst disaster–fast and silent.

    Mechanical injury (horse stepping on feet) and predation is a MUCH bigger concern on our farm. If you do decide to get peeps at some point I absolutely recommend Mareks vaccine and Coccidiosis medicated food. Other than that, don’t borrow trouble!

    I love the awning–what a homey touch!

  2. Trish says:

    Food grade diatomaceous earth is great for much. Add it into the hole they will excavate for dusting with some sand and wood ash for a pleasurable dusting bath that will help kill lice and mites which seem to be always present. In the winter you can give them a large pan of the mix for dusting inside their coop. I keep a box of the diatomaceous earth as a foot bath just inside the coop hatch that forces them to walk through it daily as they enter and exit to the yard.
    Add a tablespoon full of vinegar/per gallon of water for their water FRESH daily helps in disease reduction. The acid helps reduce harmful bacteria. And letting them free roam daily will keep your yard free of destructive insects. They love ticks and crickets! Even an hour in the afternoon before roost will improve their well being.
    One more thing, make sure that their night roosts are ROUND! Square roosts cut off the circulation in toes and will cause foot problems.
    Have fun!

  3. Glory Lennon says:

    So, now I have to worry about you stealing my duck boots??? LOL! You have a spiffy place there. Your chicken will be the envy of the neighborhood.

    • Dan says:

      Aw, I just wanted to borrow them a bit. You don’t have to worry though, they won’t fit on my size 11 feet. At least I don’t reckon they would.

  4. Dan says:

    Wow, some great advice. I copied it all and printed it out and put it in the back of my Chicken Operating Manual for future reference. So in addition to midwife and nanny I also have to play Doctor. Well we are going to skip the midwife and nanny part and let the hens do her jobs. If anyone want’s to come over and help dig the ditch around the 14×16 shed they are more than welcome.

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