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Bark or grass?

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Hi again, just wanted to know if its necessary to put grass in the chickens enclosure? because we where thinking about just putting bark in it but then we realised we wouldnt be able to let them free range as our gardens too big and we would probably loose them or something.

 

what has everyone else done?

also what can you use for dust bathes?

 

any answers would be greatly appreciated.

xx

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If you put the Eglu on grass, it will be bare earth within a matter of days - they will scratch it all up. That's why a lot of people make a permanent place for the run, usually in a corner of the garden or to one side, surround it with some edging and put chippings down.

 

I believe that if you've got a big enough lawn, you can just keep the Eglu on grass but move it around every few days - that just sounded like too much work, to me!

 

Instead of bark/wood chips, I really recommend finding some aubiose or hemcore. This is like straw, and it gives the chooks something to scratch around in, and it soaks up poo! You need to change it every month or so but I think it's cheaper than bark. Search on this forum against those words and you'll find threads which tell you all about it, and where to find it - it's used for horses, so farm/equestrian suppliers should stock it.

 

Your hens will appreciate a bit of free-ranging if you're there to supervise them, it's worth getting something like the Omlet netting to keep them in - then you won't lose them, and they won't destroy your mum's favourite plants, but remember it's not foxproof!

 

When are you getting your chickens? have you got names yet?

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I have a permanent run, with sand as the flooring. The whole floor is a giant dustbath, although i have to rake it over every couple of days to break down the poo. We did have bark but, no matter what we did, they kicked it to the door so we couldn't get in and filled up their glugs with it. At least with sand, it sinks to the bottom and doesn't make the water dirty.

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hiya, thanks for the replies, i would let my chickens on the lawn and move the run around every few days but we are making a big enlosure cemented in to the ground so it would be a bit difficult!

i suppose i could just let them out and be on watch but i get distracted very easly so i wouldnt trust my self!

The aubiose or hemcore sounds good to me so i'll see what my family says

thanks very much

xx

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I am following this thread with interest. I have not even had my chickens for a week, but I have moved the eglu a bit around on the lawn every couple of days to let them eat the grass etc... Today I let them out of the run for the first time. Around 4 pm or so. They stayed in the undergrowth very close to their eglu and by 7.30 they were back in the run. So I closed the door and waited another 2 hours before closing the door and saying goodnight. I was a bit scared of losing them. My garden hasn't got ANY fences at all and I thought that if they should choose to go to sleep in a tree I couldn't climb up and collect them and definitely not leave them there overnight. As they came home by themselves, can I then just assume that they know where they live and will do this from now on? When I'm around to watch out for any foxes of course...

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Since I had family to help yesterday we moved the cube to the back of the house where the veggie beds are going to be (I have a cunning plan for using the hens to do the digging but more of that if it works!)

 

One hen was quite happy to be picked up and carried round but the other was happy to be petted but not to be picked up... however she followed us round and just walked back into the cube enclosure with no problems at all. I may let them out for a few minutes this afternoon but we have no fences either (just new hedges) and my neighbour has just planted out lettuce plants.

 

The girls came out at 8 this morning but one has just gone back in - maybe to lay????

 

The man we got the chickens from also came round yesterday to check everything was okay - he said they are being spoilt rotten :!:

 

Helen in Hume

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Next doors lettuces could prove a distraction. At least until they have eaten them!!! :lol:

 

They didn't venture that far (phew!) but today was a two egg day and it got rather noisy as they both used the nesting box at the same time.

 

I took eggs to the neighbours to apologise for the noise but Elizabeth said she hadn't heard anything. She still accepted the eggs though :lol:

 

They had a few minutes free ranging which actually consisted of one bird following me and the other following my daughter - then once they realised we had no food (except what I had brought to brobe them back into the run if necessary) the hens just went back into the run..... so I gave them the bribe anyway. THey have spread hemcore all over the front of the run but have left the section under the cube to dust bathe in. Clever girls.

 

Helen in Hume.

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