poo cleaning...a how to question??? oh, and another smaller question

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boybrown

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Maybe not the best time to be writing this as I have my breakfast in front on me. we got four lovely hybrids on Saturday and they are happily bedding in on the allotment in their coup. I've built an extension for the coup although have been advised to leave them solely in the coup for a week to 'imprint' that this is their home.

Poo is the most surprising thing so far.....how much!  I'm happy though as it will go in the compost and will probably also make some liquid feed from it.  Question is though (and this may seem obvious) but how often do people clean the runs out?  We went this morning and one of the darlings had poo'd in the next box so do people shut this off at night?  Do people use any handy little tools to clean up the poo (I was thinking a paint scraper but other people will have their own things), and any suggestions of the best way to lift it off the grass?  Sorry about so many poo questions. I did scan through but couldn't find any posts the same.

The other question is related to my first post (Friday) when we were 'pre-chooks'. They are on a moveable run on the allotment at the moment. I have been advised (very sensibly) by people on the forum not to try to 'free range' them due to growing plants and potential fox attacks...but, can I let them out when me and the family are over there?  Someone warned me that they are little houdini's and will escape and the boundaries of the allotment aren't exactly fort knox. It would be nice though having them around in a more physical way than just in the run.  I take it there is no such thing as a chicken lead???

I've got to say they are beautiful animals though and I know that my anticipated 'standoffishness' is melting quickly!

Tom  ;)

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Elcie

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Congratulations on getting your hens, they are quite addictive!  I use a plastic glove (I got a pack of disposable ones when I bought some other chicken stuff from Flytesofancy on the internet) and literally just pick it up and pop it into a bucket.  This then goes into my compost bin.  I also use a windscreen scraper for getting it off the wood.

As regards freerange, you would still need to be careful.  Both of the foxes and the chickens escaping - not sure your neighbours would be very pleased with this as the chickens will poo everywhere (as you have found out!) and will eat just about anything they can, including your neighbour's well prepared crops!

When I am at the allotment I would love to let my chickens roam around, especially on the weedy bits as they would clear it in no time.  However, I made the decision that if I did this then they may always feel that they were missing something when they were in their run and be waiting to get let out.  By keeping them in their run, where they have enough space and activities for their needs, they are happy and the neighbours are happy.

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Bonniebean

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Hello Tom - had to reply as the vision of chook leads had me in stitches!! :tongue2:
I can only speak from my own experiences of poo! I clean out my coop every morning when the chooks come out for breakfast - just a poo pick using rubber gloves which takes about 5 mins ( I have 4 girls). I poo pick the run about 3 times a day but they are in my back garden so it's after breakfast poos are deposited, after work and last thing in the evening. Once a week I turn the ground for them to get worms and insects and then add a sprinkle of Biodry to prevent disease and smells. I clean the coop thoroughly every weekend with Poultry shield and when dry I spray the joints with redmite spray. Bedding is completely changed and Diatom added.
When you say you are keeping them in the coop for a week - did you actually mean the run? I understand you would like to free-range but if you are only at the allotment for a couple of hours you might have problems getting them back before bedtime - also you would need to clip one wing on each bird to stop them flying too far. I think most allotment folk have large runs which may be moveable. There is always a high risk of foxes on allotments at any time of day, you only have to read some of the posts to see how easy it is to have a chook snatched from nearby.
Hope this helps a little and I'm sure there will be lots of other tips from those in the same situation. Good luck and enjoy!

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Casey76

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Welcome to the world of chooks (and their poo!)

I replace the whole bedding one a week at the weekend, and during the week I use a cat litter scoop with a wide grill pan and pick up the poo once a day when I come in from work. This whittles down the amount of bedding, so by Saturday I'm not chucking out buckets and buckets - though I suppose it's six and two threes really - what goes in comes out one way or another!

My chooks aren't in a run at the moment as they have free access to my entire garden - however in the near future they'll be fenced in and I will poo pick once a day also - this is easy for the "breakfast" poos, cecal poos are decidedly more difficult (and 10x smellier!) with these I tend to water them into the ground with a hosepipe that has a spray attachment.

I kept mine locked in the hen house for 48 hours before I let them out to wander.  for me this was enough to imprint the house with "home" on the chooks, and I didn't have any problems with the girls getting lost.  I don't think there is a need to keep them locked up for a week!

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carolbriar

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Hi Tom, I also use disposable gloves and pick up the poo in the house every morning and put it in a bucket before it goes on the compost heap.  I also do the run every day, sometimes twice, depending on how many there seem to be.  I have five hens and there always seems to be so much to clear but it really doesn't take very long.  I hope you are talking of the hens being kept in the run for a week and not the coup itself :( I only kept mine in the coup for 24 hours and that was fine.  They really don't need to be in the coup for too long.
2 Springer Spaniels, 1 Speckled Sussex,  1 Cuckoo Maran, 1 Light Sussex, 1 Welsummer, 2 Barnvelders and 2 silver Pencil Wyandotes.

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Ribbit

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I use one of those metal scoop things. I only really scoop it when it's quite mucky. And give the coop a good clean. The nestboxes in our coop are removable internal ones, the chooks like to perch on them at night so I goes out after the pophole has closed and poke them off into the perches. This usually solves having to replace the straw in the nestboxes alot. Though one cheeky chook pops back after I've shut the door!
It's like America...But south!

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hillfooter

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Maybe not the best time to be writing this as I have my breakfast in front on me. we got four lovely hybrids on Saturday and they are happily bedding in on the allotment in their coup. I've built an extension for the coup although have been advised to leave them solely in the coup for a week to 'imprint' that this is their home.  They only need to be kept in the house one to two days max

Poo is the most surprising thing so far.....how much!  I'm happy though as it will go in the compost and will probably also make some liquid feed from it.  Question is though (and this may seem obvious) but how often do people clean the runs out?  Once a day pick up the worst

We went this morning and one of the darlings had poo'd in the next box so do people shut this off at night?  Yes I do and many people recommend it as it keeps things sanitary.  after a while they learn not to roost in the nestboxes.  If yours do I usually think it's because the roosts aren't suitable

Do people use any handy little tools to clean up the poo (I was thinking a paint scraper but other people will have their own things), and any suggestions of the best way to lift it off the grass?  Sorry about so many poo questions. I did scan through but couldn't find any posts the same. Use a hand draw hoe (rubber gloves are for girlies only) this has much better reach than a paint scraper and more capacity too.  Use it with a wide mouth hand shovel to poopick after awhile you'll get used to blooming it (this should read f l i ck ing but this website has a mind of its own and insists on saying blooming!!) into the shovel with the hoe and it holds much more than a little cat litter scoop (also for girlies only).  Don't try to dig it up with a shovel or scoop use the hoe to scrap it onto the shovel.  Carry a bucket with you though,  Clean the house at least every two weeks if it's designed properly and most aren't, the droppings are kept away from the birds and fall through a grill to a collection area where the birds haven't access.   If your house has just a single roosting bar it needs to be modified so that there's at least 3 or better four parallel ones where they can roost and the droppings fall through to where they can't scrat around in.  Most eb*y and chinese import houses are poor in this respect

The other question is related to my first post (Friday) when we were 'pre-chooks'. They are on a moveable run on the allotment at the moment. I have been advised (very sensibly) by people on the forum not to try to 'free range' them due to growing plants and potential fox attacks...but, can I let them out when me and the family are over there?  You can but you will find it very difficult to get them back in when you want to leave.  A corn bribe thrown in there run would be the only way

Someone warned me that they are little houdini's This is nonsense once they know where home and security and food is they don't wander too far and a handfull of poultry corn will bring them back though they are almost impossible to round up if they have found something more interesting to scrat about in.  Be cautious though when letting them roam.

and will escape They only wander if they haven't what they want local to their run

and the boundaries of the allotment aren't exactly fort knox. It would be nice though having them around in a more physical way than just in the run.  I take it there is no such thing as a chicken lead???  You are right there isn't

I've got to say they are beautiful animals though and I know that my anticipated 'standoffishness' is melting quickly!

Tom  ;)

See my answers in red above.  Best of luck with the keeping and remember they are chx not baby dolls which need mollicoddling.  Keep the nutrition simple, layers pellets and no supplements unless there's a specific problem you are trying to address, and NO treats till evening and in moderation and you won't go wrong
« Last Edit: May 03, 2010, 14:58 by hillfooter »
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