Tag Archives: Chicken coop

Fall Composting

This is the time of year when I do one final clean up before the weather starts to cool off. I clean the chicken coop, rake all the animal areas and any leaves that fell (not many here in Florida) and put everything into the compost pile.

This will probably be the last cleaning of the coop for a couple months. Unless it turns out to be a warm Fall. I leave the coop alone to create heat that helps keep the chicken warm during what few cold weeks we have.  More on “Winterizing Your Coop Florida Style” later.

For more on leaf composting and to see what a pile of leaves looks like, check out this post by City Girl Farming

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CW

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Lights In Your Coop?

Along with the excitement of cooler weather and all the preparations for the Holidays, come the shorter days of winter and slowing down of egg production.

CWLights

Hens need 12-17 hours of daylight per day to lay eggs depending on the breed. By the time Fall rolls around, our days are limited to 12 hours and continue decreasing throughout the winter.

Do you put supplemental lighting in your coop to encourage egg production?

There are arguments to both sides of this question. Those in favor of lights believe it’s just a way to fix the problem of not enough light. Those against lights believe this is a time God made for the hens to rest their bodies.

CWLonelyEgg

What do you think?

Personally, I’ll be putting lights up soon. My girls haven’t been doing enough laying to need to rest.

For more information check out this post on The Chicken Chick.

Have a great night!

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CW

Ducks 2.0

Ducks 101 was a nice start to gathering information for raising ducks.  I’m now 3 weeks into actually raising ducklings and I’ve been making a few adjustments. I read many articles telling me raising ducks is similar to raising chickens…not really.

CWDuck1Through experience, I’m learning how much ducks LOVE the water! Most, if not all the information I’ve read says ducks need water to drink and eat, but don’t “need” to swim. After seeing how my ducks respond in and out of the water, it seems cruel not to give them a place to swim. I would say ducks NEED to swim! Chickens on the other hand, prefer a nice dry dirt bath.

Ducks are messy! CWduck1.4 I looked through many pics of open duck houses with water containers in them, so that’s what I made. If you’re keeping water in your duck house, your bedding will be wet all the time. If you have open (netting of some kind) sides, plan for rain to get in. I built an open sided duck house with the bedding, food and water all inside. Mistake. I had to move the food and water to a “play pen” in the grass. So now every morning I have to move them from the house to the play pen. Then it rained. I am daily trying to plan ahead to build a bigger area so I don’t have to move them every morning, to include the pool and their house and keep all water away from the bedding. It looks like their house CWDuck1.1should be more like a chicken coop after all. I think I read that somewhere…

I have baby chicks in with my ducks because ducks are very nurturing. I am discovering two problems with this: 

CWDuck1.2

1. the chicks need space to learn to fly and roost. The roost isn’t hard, but that means my covered space needs to be tall enough for them to fly a little.  The other problem is that the baby chicks are starting to dig up the plants that the ducks like to forage through.

CWRoosting

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Chicken Emergency

We’ve had several mishaps on our backyard city farm. It’s always sad when a “pet” is injured or dies, but it is a part of life. An emergency this week has prompted this look at the sadder side of farming with a happy ending.

We lost our first hen to a heart attack. She flew over the 6′ fence while we were gone for a couple of hours. Our loyal guard dog (the mixed something from the SPCA) pinned her down until we got home. There wasn’t a single mark on her, but she was literally scared to death.

The next one was poisoned when we left a pool of cleaning water out. The chicken flew over the fence early in the morning, drank out of the pool and died. (I was cleaning tiles to recycle and ended up not even using them). Another reason to go chemical free.

We had two feather footed chicks that both only lasted about 6 weeks and then just died. I read later that they are susceptible to diseases and not very hardy.

We had three, at various times that were attacked by predators and died. I think it had to be possums.

The injuries are harder to deal with than the deaths. The deaths are over and that’s the circle of life. The injuries are ongoing and you hope the best for your girls. We had one that was attacked by a new puppy. She was shaken up and limped for a few days, but now she is completely healed.

CWChicken1.1

One week ago today, the same new puppy, attacked one of the girls that found a loose board in the fence and snuck out. By the time we heard the commotion and got the dog off the hen, she looked pretty bad. I really didn’t think she was going to make it. I brought her in the house and put her in a dog crate full of hay. I gave her water and food and left her alone for the night. I knew she was in shock and needed to calm down. The next morning I was expecting her to be dead, so I was surprised when she was standing up watching me. I took her out and looked at her injuries. It was pretty bad. Most of the feathers on her back from tail to head were gone and she had a hole in her back. The good news is it didn’t look too deep, but it was wide.

CWChicken1

I did a lot of reading about how to apply first aid to chickens. Some sites said use one thing another site said use something else. I know from my research on essential oils that tea tree oil is good for healing but too potent to use by itself. So I poured a mixture of olive oil and tea tree oil all over her back. I left her another day. For the next several days I let her walk around the house (yes cleaning up chicken poop, thank God for tile floors) and putting her in the garden when it wasn’t raining.

Last night while I was putting the animals up, she flew over the garden fence, walked across the yard, risking being seen by the dogs, to where the chicken coop is…so I let her in. This morning, I opened the chicken coop and sat in the cage for a while watching her interaction with the other girls. There was a little pecking back and forth, but not too bad. Another surprise. I was expecting them to peck her to death, she had been out of the cage for a week now and still has a big scab on her back. She looks like she’ll be alright and everyone seems to be back to “normal”, whatever that is. Thank God!

Now back to the new ducklings…and even newer baby chicks!

*Photos by Dena Speropulos