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Do you change your straw in the nesting area every day?

(20 Posts)
Janus Tue 15-Sep-09 17:09:09

I have a cube which house 3 chickens. They seem to poo quite a bit in their actual straw sleeping area, I thought they did this in the roosting area? What is the roosting area for, do they use it more in the wet? Also, do you change your straw every day, I hate the thought of them sleeping in their own poo!
I so surprised how attached I have become to them already, had them about a month, talk to them every day and look forward to going out with their treats! Also, what do you give yours as treats? I seem to do lots of crusts and bread, is their other things to I can give?
thanks!

bramblebooks Tue 15-Sep-09 18:12:14

Bless em. I've got four in a cube and change the straw weekly. More often if they've slept in it and pooed. I hoick them out onto the roosting bars at night if they do start sleeping in the nesting box as it can encourage them to go broody otherwise, and there's the poo on the eggs thing too!

Don't give too many treats in the morning, they need to eat their layer pellets in order to make good eggs. Treats in the afternoon - small amounts of grapes, little bit of corn, not too much bread as it can fill their crop up. They love cooked pasta, especially spaghetti!!! They are so funny with that. When it gets cold they get warm porridge made with water just before they go off to roost - hand hot only. I think it lines their tummies!!

Janus Tue 15-Sep-09 20:46:20

ah bramble, now I'm way confused! So they're not supposed to sleep on the straw then, they are meant to sleep in the roosting bars? Mine are always in the straw! So I should shove them over to the bars, it seems so uncomfortable!! Are they just meant to go in the straw to lay eggs? I haven't had any yet so wonder if they will budge over once they start laying. Guess I should read my cube guide more closely!
Porridge, how lucky are yours??!!

ABetaDad Tue 15-Sep-09 20:52:45

Change ours about once a month. They only poo in the roosting area.

ABetaDad Tue 15-Sep-09 20:53:08

We use wood shavings not straw.

Janus Tue 15-Sep-09 22:03:38

So abeadad, did you 'teach' them to sleep in roosting area by putting them in there then or should they just do this? I literally have to change at least every 3 days but it's bad enough to change every day really. Not sure why mine have decided to go in straw but assume I can 'train' them??

bramblebooks Tue 15-Sep-09 22:26:31

Janus, I peek in after they've gone to bed and hoick the offenders back into the main house (or just shove em through the hole from the nest box door!). They soon get the hang of it and just need a check now and again - especially my broody girl!!

ABetaDad Tue 15-Sep-09 22:35:56

No they just do it. The laying area in our hen house is is very very small (bg enough for 1 hen only) and so they have to sleep in the perching compartment. I don't think they like being alone.

LittleB Wed 16-Sep-09 11:01:21

Mine are in a wooden hen house, but still have a roosting area and nest box, I did keep moving mine onto the perch in the roosting area, but now they've settled into a routine where 4 of them sleep on the perch and the other 3 in the nestbox. I clear the droppings out of the nestbox every morning when I do their food and water and before they lay any eggs, to keep their eggs clean. I clean droppings out of the main house every 2-3 days and do a thorough clean out and top up bedding once a week. Mine are on aubiose though which is a dust free bedding used for horses - I find it much softer than woodchip and very low maintenance, very easy to just remove droppings and damp bedding and leave the clean behind, cheap too - costs £9.50 for a huge sack.
For treats, mine get lots of veg scraps in the morning (I give them anything except peppers mushrooms and potatoes which you're not supposed to give them). They get v. excited about grapes, sweetcorn and tomatoes, but also eat anything like cabbage leaves, dd collects dandelion leaves for them etc. They also have mixed corn later in the afternoon when I put them back in their run, and they get crushed dried maize as a special treat. Occaisionally they get other scraps like rice or pasta or cheese.
They're great fun, I love having chickens!

Ripeberry Wed 16-Sep-09 11:07:42

If you use straw it's best to clear it regularly 2-3 times a week as fungus can grow in it when it gets damp.
Best to use woodshavings smile

ABetaDad Wed 16-Sep-09 12:59:08

We put louse powder inside the house to keep fleas, lice, etc down as well.

Just seen a damn rat popping in to eat the food though. I thought I had teterminated them but they are back. angry

Janus Wed 16-Sep-09 20:43:08

Well I've chucked them on the roosting racks twice so far tonight, not sure if I have enough energy to go and check them again having just put 3 children to bed!
Abetadad, rats are my biggest fear. I haven't seen and hoping that is because if the chickens leave any scraps my greedy labrador hoovers up after them! I'm so worried about rats though as we have 2 cats and I just know the stupid things would bring one in alive. Are they easy to spot or the signs that you have them easy to spot?

ABetaDad Thu 17-Sep-09 08:57:04

Holes in the floor of the chicken run, holes dug under the wire are a sure sign.

I am about to dig a trench round my run and bury the wire at least 30 cm down and concrete into the trench to stop them digging under. Put your chicken food sacks in a steel dustbin.

With two cats and a labrador rats will be discouraged anyway.

Madsometimes Thu 17-Sep-09 10:53:39

We put an upturned flower pot in our nesting area at bedtime so they have to roost on the bars.

Janus Thu 17-Sep-09 13:20:11

OK, I'll keep telling myself we won't get rats!
Mad, what if they want to lay an egg though? We haven't had any yet so I've assumed they do this overnight but am I wrong? Also, I let them out when I'm at home and we have quite a big garden with lots of trees that they disappear into, wondering if they could maybe lay somewhere we don't see? They are only just at the right age though but the anticipation of going out to the cube each morning hoping for our first egg is driving us all nuts!!

becklespeckle Thu 17-Sep-09 16:27:00

Mine all try and sleep in the nest box too, I have a little eglu but all 3 of them try and get in the one nesting area! I check the straw every day and change it if it is pooey although most evenings I do go in and gently shunt them out onto the roosting bars, they now see the torchlight and quite often scoot off anyway! I have tried flowerpot in the nesting area but one roosted on top of it and so there was poo on the flowerpot which got into the straw when I lifted it out. Someone else suggested a football...

Hens will usually lay in the daytime (mine usually lay between 9am and 2ish although I have let them out once to find an egg already laid) so it is quite possible they could be laying somewhere you can't see, do you have a run for your cube which you could keep them in for a few days? I'm sure once they know where to lay they will do it instinctively!

Ripeberry Thu 17-Sep-09 17:28:06

My chickens have a coop with nesting boxes.
But will they use them....no way. They lay eggs deep under a bush in the corner of their run and it's quite sweet as they've collected lots of little sticks and dry grass and they all lay in the same one.

bramblebooks Thu 17-Sep-09 18:11:37

aw that's so cute!

Madsometimes Fri 18-Sep-09 12:49:52

We took the flower pot out when we let them out at 6 am. Our chickens lay their eggs mid-morning normally.

We only had to do the flower pot trick for a week or so for the chocks to understand that they were supposed to roost overnight on the bars.

Janus Fri 18-Sep-09 13:29:07

OK, I had 3 flowerpots in there last night and they still managed to squeeze in!! Going to go for 3 big ones tonight and see how we get on!

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