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#67683 - 03/17/08 05:48 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Hello psmith and all,

I think the mobile coop is ideal, especially for someone in a suburban backyard. At least you can move them to fresh ground frequently.

I am in full agreement with Joachim - chickens should be outdoors, with free access indoors whenever they want. Our birds, all types, come and go as they please, and mostly it pleases them to be outside. It is very important that they can retreat to some dry, draft-free area - just as important I think as giving them the option of fresh air, sunshine (or rain!) whenever they choose it.

We are also beginning mud season. This is what we did - we covered the path from our house to the coop in hay, the area inside the chicken run and their area outside the run is covered in hay as well. As more snow melts, as more birds poop on the hay, as we trample it into the ground, as it gets rained on, we just add more. It acts as a mulch and I figure over time it will actually raise the level of the ground where they live and walk and create more organic matter for better drainage - not the low lying, hard packed clayish mud we have now. One or two bales goes a long way, and in a month we'll add a couple more. It's keeping things dry, building soil slowly, and encouraging worms for next years chickens.

I think if we aim to keep our birds healthy and happy that they can, or should be able to, deal with a little seasonal stress because it's always something , right? Too cold in winter, too muddy and damp in spring, too hot in summer... All these things change and pass onto some other environmental stress and I really like that our birds just roll with the punches, comfortably.

ruffenuff,

Could you explain further why you would have to train chickens where their home is? We have never had to do this - Indian Games and all. I must say if I had to chase any chicken for three months just to get it to roost in the coop I might give up on chickens all together - I would definately give up on that particular chicken(s). It sounds like a huge pain. I'm really curious why you would stress over this, every evening, sometimes for up to three months. Please don't take offense, I just think there must be a better way, kinder and gentler to your impulses and psyche. Please elaborate, if you don't mind.

Amy

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#67684 - 03/17/08 06:23 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
Quote:
I am in full agreement with Joachim - chickens should be outdoors, with free access indoors whenever they want.
Unfortunately, not everyone can have the "ideal" situation for their chickens. Mine are confined because that's what works best for me, and it keeps them safe. Although there is a lease law in the county in which I live, not everyone obeys it. Many times I've look out my back door and seen dogs running loose. If my chickens were free ranged, I wouldn't have any chickens very long because the dogs would kill them.
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Rhea Dean

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#67685 - 03/17/08 06:51 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Sorry Rhea Dean, I didn't mean to offend or suggest that everyone's chickens run around willy-nilly. I don't think that's a good idea either. I just don't like the idea of near constant indoor confinement due to inclement weather.

Our birds have a large outdoor run to which they are confined for the summer, but that is to protect the gardens when seedlings are prevelant. If I were not home most of the time, I would not have our birds loose outside of the run like they usually are. But I would still be sure that they HAD a protected run so they had access to fresh air and sunshine whenever they wanted it - winter, spring, summer or fall. Safe from marauding dogs and such but able to get outdoors as well. That's all I'm saying. Not even chickens should be "cooped up" for long periods of time. I firmly believe that fresh air and natural light are two of the healthiest things we could give our birds (not to mention ourselves). Would you agree?

As soon as the snow melts, we are erecting 2 acres of electric poultry netting for our new pastured "run". This is not for everyone, but there is no denying that all sorts of variations could be easily done - small sections of fencing rotated to new ground frequently, portable coops or "tractors", and on and on. There are so many ways to keep birds safe while allowing them to be outside if they so choose. There are as many ways to do this as there are individual situations.

Respectfully,

Amy

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#67686 - 03/17/08 08:13 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Hopewell Offline
Feather

Registered: 01/29/08
Posts: 31
Loc: Georgia
I have a small coop and enclosed run. When rain is predicted, I cover the run with a tarp, and weight it down with rocks or bricks. This also helps keep the feed dry.

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#67687 - 03/17/08 08:14 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Fleta Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 10/24/06
Posts: 157
Loc: Arkansas
some people use saw dust in chicken runs. I get hay and throw in the pen and I don't have to spread it the chickens do it while scratching for seeds.
Not everyone can let the hens run free. Mine would not last a day because of neighbor hood dogs.
I have 2 dog pens attached to my hen house and I have to spread hay to stop mud from being a problem.
The chicken tractor is a good idea if you can use one but I can't lift any weight because of age and health.
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Fleta

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#67688 - 03/17/08 11:00 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Good Evening,

interesting sidenote on loose running dogs, this totally surprises me! Come on, you must be kidding. Youīre really saying you take away the possibility (Iīd prefere the term "right", Iīd say chickens have the right to forage, but unfortunatly chickens donīt have lawyers!;-) to forage/excercise/free range because of some ignorant neighbours dog??? Youīre really saying that people either donīt have chickens at all because itīs forbidden, or the few that have chickens must confine them because of neighbours dogs running loose, shouldnīt this also be forbidden, loose running dogs I mean? It sounds to me as if not rain and mud is a problem in these cases but rather some loose running dogs. There are several ways to "solve" such a "dog- problem", BTW;-)

Best greetings, hope I didnīt offend anybody! If I sounded rude or started a quarrel simply remove my posting;-)

Joachim

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#67689 - 03/17/08 01:17 PM Re: Rain/mud question
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
No quarrels here Joachim. My chickens have the choice of staying out in the rain or getting under cover. Most of the hens run for cover when it starts raining and stay dry but the roosters seem to like the rain and sometimes get soaked -- it's probably the only time the roosters get cleaned. The run dries fairly quickly, and the hens seem to especially love the wet dirt after a rain (more bugs & worms?).

I put quartz-sand in the run and fill the dust bath holes often to combat the mud or setting water. It is the cleaned "children's sandbox" sand. Also, my run is at a slight incline so water drains well (except for the new holes).

Chris

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#67690 - 03/17/08 01:41 PM Re: Rain/mud question
Fleta Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 10/24/06
Posts: 157
Loc: Arkansas
I live out side the city limits so we don't have laws about dogs running loose. I could shoot the dogs but I am so old I can't despose of the bodys . There are at least 15 dogs running here all the time.
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Fleta

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#67691 - 03/17/08 02:49 PM Re: Rain/mud question
Rogo16 Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 439
Loc: Arizona
I happen to believe it's not healthy to keep any critter in an enclosed building. If I were to obtain a property with a barn, the doors would be left open and if they choose to do so, the critters would use it as a shelter.

I don't have a coop. My poultry roam free. Perimeter of acreage has a fence. I wouldn't keep poultry if they had to be confined since their main job is to keep the insect population down around here.

I've only lost one bird to a predator and that was many years ago. It was a bantam. I quit keeping bantams!

The birds have shelters if they want to use them. It rarely rains here. The birds are out in all kinds of weather if they choose to be. They only head for shelter if it's a torrential downpour.

I only let the birds hatch eggs in the winter since summers are too hot for the hens to comfortably set. Haven't lost any babies. All healthy.

My large livestock also roam free; have shelters if they want to use them.

I have no sickness/diseases/vet bills.

My dog protects the livestock.

Just my opinion.
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Rogo

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#67692 - 03/17/08 03:35 PM Re: Rain/mud question
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Hi all, thanks for all the advice! We just bought this place, and put the run and the coop together so I think when we put in a garden and do some landscaping in the backyard, we're going to extend the run to give them a bit more room, and put in some drains and some sand. The mobile coop is exactly what I was thinking, with only 3 hens it wouldn't have to be huge and they could have fresh grass everyday. I would love to let them run loose, that's how I was raised, but then again we had 40 acres and lots of protective dogs. We lost more than a fair share to coyotes and mountain cats and other predators though, so I guess that's the price the chickens pay for having free run capabilities. Maybe the next place we get will have acres and I can have a few more smile But for now, I will be happy with my 3 little mutt hens. laugh

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