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More chicken question
August 29, 2013
1:27 pm
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Newtothefarm
Hatchling
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August 29, 2013
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Good afternoon.  I am taking over a small farm with 12 grown chickens and two horses in September.  The family and I are very excited.  I’ve always wanted chickens and plan to get some chicks next spring but in the meantime have some questions about the ladies we currently have.  The chickens are kept in the barn, in a room on the main level that has a single pane window in it.  In the summer the window is left open for ventalation but I don’t think these chickens have ever left this room.  If I let them out of that room, would they go back there at night?  Also, the current owner says she cleans out the room once every two months but I read that you should do it once a month, with smaller cleanings of their roost in between.  What is your recommendation?  Also, when cleaning out the room, should I wear a mask?  Is all the poop and straw I’m stirring up harmful to the chickens – i.e. should I put them somewhere else while I clean it out?  And lastly, if I get chicks next spring, should I keep them in a separate coop or will they naturally integrate into the brood?  I realize that is a log of questions, thanks in advance!

August 29, 2013
3:17 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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I’ll try to take these in order New-to!   First, if you let them out, they most likely WILL return.  Chickens are very much creatures of habit, and that’s been their homeand they’ll return to their roosts, probably by late afternoon, as soon as the light starts to change.  Especially if they have some light in there which will attract them as the sun lowers.

Then, you can clean the coop room out as often as you want to.  Every day if you want to, but it’s probably not that necessary.  I have what I call a “poop board” underneath my roosts, which is easy to scrape clean once a week or so.  It keeps the bedding drier, and I use the ‘deep litter’ method for my coop, so it’s not actually ever really completely cleaned out.  Thereare many choices with chickens, they aren’t terribly picky and as long as they have plenty of clean water, dry feed, dry bedding, good ventilation, they’ll thrive. 

You don’t need to move them when you clean, they’ll welcome the chance to “help” you though, by scratching around and digging for treats, so you may want to because they love to get in the way.  If you start letting them out of their coop area, they’ll be wandering around looking for spiders and other bugs outside though so they’ll probably be busy elsewhere!

Unless new chicks are hatched in the coop by a mother hen who will protect them, new chicks need to be kept separate till they’re nearly the same size as adult chickens or they will get picked on mercilessly.  And I DO mean mercilessly.  The real meaning of the term “pecking order” will be demonstrated to you if you don’t watch out.

Glad to have you aboard New-to!  wave  Congrats on your coming move, and I hope you enjoy it as much as most of us would!!!  (that’s a lot!  happy-feet )  Feel free to ask whatever else because everytime folks do that, more of us learn.  Also, feel free to reply to and answer any questions other folks ask because the more knowledge we all share, the better off everyone is!   chicken chicken

Located in N.E. Ohio

August 30, 2013
10:00 am
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Newtothefarm
Hatchling
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August 29, 2013
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happy-flower

Thanks Buckeye, I’m so glad I found this forum.  I will probably have more questions once we move in and begin living our new farm life.  I’m glad to hear that if I let them out they will automatically come back.  I’d like them to have a nicer life then just living in one room. sun  how far will they wander? 

August 30, 2013
1:07 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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mmmmm….   that depends on what the land around is like.  Probably not too far at first, then as they get more comfortable, they’ll form little groups and spread out looking for bugs and good greenery to eat.  It’ll depend on the terrain and how easy it is to poke around, and how safe they feel.  They won’t go too far or too fast though, you’ll be ok.  You’ll find your eggs getting darker yellow and most people think, more tasty.  Free range eggs do look and taste different, but they may start finding strange places to lay their eggs too.  It can get to be an Easter Egg hunt all year long! 

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