7.5 Weeks and Counting

7 and a half weeks.  We love our run, chasing bugs, and 'cucumber bites.'
7 and a half weeks. We love our run, chasing bugs, and ‘cucumber bites.’

Well, I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this because I was late with it (again) but then I decided ‘why not.’

Here are my chicks at 7 1/2 weeks.

They’ve been enjoying their run for the last two weeks.  Playing in the grass, chasing bugs, and pecking around in the dirt.  They even like going out in the rain, which is good because it’s all we’ve had for three days now.  Today was the first sun we’ve seen in a while.

I’ve finally got the old tire for the dirt bath, but no dirt in it yet.  That will be this weekend’s project.

The other project, or should I say, DH’s project, is going to be fixing up the coop a little more before we attempt moving the Reds into it.  He needs to split it off, into two separate parts.

At the same time, I’d like to try something new with our bedding arrangements.   Currently, I’m using a combination of pine shavings and straw.  The pine on the floor and the straw in the layer boxes.  The chickens pull the straw down so it’s on the floor anyway.

However, it’s time consuming to clean the straw out of the beds when it’s dirty and given that there’s twenty of them, it’s hard to keep it clean.  I constantly ask myself how often I should be cleaning it out?  How much should I use?  Am I spending too much?

A friend of my father’s raises chickens and he used sawdust.  He puts it on the floor of his coop, about 3 or 4 inches deep, and also in the laying boxes.  Then, he uses a cat scoop to clean out the clumps where they poop, about every couple of days, according to him.   He told Dad that he changes the sawdust maybe once a year.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  What type of bedding do you use in your coops?

 

6 thoughts on “7.5 Weeks and Counting

  1. I use a layer of hay (because we were given a few bales for free) and straw on top (because it’s softer). I find it a big job to clean out too. In winter we used a “deep litter” method where we just kept throwing it on top, since we didn’t really have anywhere to put the old bedding, or a way to get it to the compost pile through the snow. Now since the weather is way nicer, I’ve been putting a thinner layer in (maybe an inch or so deep), and removing it all and replacing it every few weeks. The chickens pile it up in spots where they like to lay around more, so my floor ends up bare in spots. They don’t seem to mind, but I have to scrape the poo off the wood floor then. A better system would be nice, so if I hear of one I may change to it.

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    1. Mine do like the straw better than the pine shavings. They pull it out of the laying boxes and spread it all over. But yes, it is a big job right now. I don’t mind the work but it will be harder once we split the coop and over the winter.

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  2. I use sawdust on the floor, hay where they lay their eggs and under the sticks they sleep on I have a plexiglass board with turf(don’t know if that’s what it’s called? Like soil but dry). Every week I scrape off the poop and add new turf. It is supposed to keep flies away and there are no flies in the henhouse so it seems to do the trick! Also it breaks down much faster than sawdust so it’s perfect if you keep it for compost.

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  3. I recently found some pine bedding that isn’t the fine shavings. It actually is larger and seems to stay cleaner than the shavings. The poop dries and I can easily scoop it. I don’t have to change the bedding quite as often.

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  4. Hi, I wanted to ask you a chicken question, since we are new to raising them. Ours are four weeks old. We live in Miami and it is hot here. The coop is under a big tree and the run is also. They are too big for the brooder, which is a dog crate. Do you think we can put them in the coop already as long as it is secure? Can we let them run around in the run yet? Should we keep them in the coop for a week so they learn that it is their space and that they will know to come home to it at night? When can we let them out in the yard? Sorry if this is so many questions, but we are not finding answers too easily. Thanks

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    1. I am fairly new to raising chickens, as well. Our sexlinks were babies in April, so my experience is only 3 months old. The ‘rule of thumb’ I learned was they had to be at least 6 weeks or have lost all their baby down to NOT need a brooder lamp. We moved our sexlinks into the coop at 4 weeks because sexlinks get big fast and they needed more room, but kept the brooder lamp in one corner of the coop with them until they hit the 6 week mark. Then, I not only removed the lamp, but allowed them to have access to the run during the day. The couple of weeks they spent inside the coop allowed them to become acclimated to it, and accept it as a place of safety and security. I’ve read that it’s best to introduce new things – a new coop, new run, etc – slowly, and spaced out, so that you don’t overwhelm them, because it can cause emotional distress, which isn’t good for them at all. But mostly it was because they still had baby down when I moved them into the coop, so going outside away from the lamp was a no-no anyway.

      I also kept the run closed for a couple weeks, so that they would get used to it as a safe haven, and now, they do know where to go to come home at night. 🙂

      I am not exactly sure how living in Florida and it being summer will effect young chicks, at all.

      There is a website and forum I follow, called Backyard Chickens, and that might be a good place to pose your question. I go there when I have questions I can’t answer (which is all the time!)

      http://www.backyardchickens.com/

      Good luck with your chicks. 🙂

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