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Roosting bars, treats and other things . . .

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One week of hen keeping and a few new questions. My three girls have settled down very well, pecking order established and everyone knows their place. :lol: I cleaned the eglu out this morning in between heavy rain showers. I wanted to know whether to wash the roosting bars or just brush them off. I scrubbed them but they were still wet this evening. Also I moved the eglu and ended up picking up a bag full of droppings, YUK! :( My grass is looking dreadful. They free range but I am alarmed by how many droppings they do I'd hate the kids to run through it. What do others do? Do you pick it all up daily? Give them their own space away from kids?

 

I then cleaned out the guinealu and the girls were very interested in the guinea pig food which they ate. i assumed this was OK as it is all vegetarian. Although they come to see me when i am out in garden they run away if I try to pick them up. They will not eat any treats at all, I've tried all sorts, so enticing them with treats is useless. They will allow me to stroke them when they have settled for the evening. Will they become friendlier or not? :?

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A spare set of roosting bars is useful! Don't worry too much though. My chickens have been going to bed wet themselves this week so damp bars won't hurt them too much.

 

Treats - don't worry about that either. They will learn soon enough that treats are yummy and will run to greet you as soon as they hear the back door, in the hope that you have something for them.

 

Mine have their own area, within omlet netting, so I don't have to worry about daily poo picking. With kids around you don't always have time. Although it is nice to be out with the chickens, even if it is only picking up their poo - much nicer task in dry weather though!

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I also got a spare set of bars but as Tina says they wont mind them being a bit damp - it's all so much easier when the sun is shining though!

 

When I first got my two they were just 18 weeks old, nervous and reluctant to come to me for treats, even if I threw stuff on the ground they didn't seem that bothered.

 

This WILL all change :lol:

 

As they mature they will get more used to you being there and get their taste for all things nice (try grapes or sweetcorn :roll: ). Also they should start to "crouch" as you approach them - this makes picking them up easy peasy :lol:

 

For now just keep giving them a cuddle when they've gone to bed, they'll soon get to know what a wonderful person you are to have around - then they'll be following you everywhere ( trying to trip you up etc etc) :roll::lol:

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I would say get a spare set of roosting bars before the winter. There is nothing more miserable in bitterly cold weather than trying to clean and dry the bars quickly because they have to go straight back into the Eglu again. This is not an extravagance, because the roosting bars don't last for ever anyway. And obviously if you have a chance to dry them out properly they will survive longer, so it is a win-win situation.

 

As for cleaning, I am of the school that thinks (1) roosting bars will wear out faster if scrubbed too much and (2) hens don't deserve sparkly clean ones anyway. I keep a plastic scoop (from the Early Learning Centre) next to the Eglu and s"Ooops, word censored!"e off what I can whenever I look in the egg port. I only clean the bars properly once a fortnight, unless there is a shell-less egg, in which case that precipitates me into doing my more thorough clean.

 

I put newspaper in the droppings tray and tip it into my compost heap regularly. It's best not to put much newspaper (just two page layers) and empty it often, as a great wadge of paper won't rot. This saves having to clean the tray too often, but makes you empty it regularly: again, a win-win situation.

 

I would get a winter shade, but not yet: there is a new improved design going to be launched soon. Or you may like to make your own.

 

Unless you have a lawn at least half the size of a football pitch, the idea that you can move the Eglu around regularly without doing damage is a myth. It needs a permanent site. You can then let your hens out into a netted area on the grass.

 

I made my hens tame by sitting on the grass in this netting area wearing old clothes and holding a bowl of something delicious. It is fun watching them come nearer and nearer until they eventually are brave enough to climb on your lap.

 

But if you have very young children, beware of their eyes getting near hen level. Young hens are very stupid and will try you out too to see if you are edible. This doesn't hurt, but an accidental poke in the eye could be nasty.

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An Omleteer made their own roosting bars, here is the link.

http://club.omlet.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7877

I keep meaning to have a go. At the moment I use a wallpaper s"Ooops, word censored!"er ( as advised on this forum!) to clean off the worst from the roosting bars. I think people advise not to get the bars too wet, or they are prone to splitting.

Welcome to Chicken World :D:D:D

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Thank you for that advice. I'll order a new set of roosting bars and some netting tomorrow. I put newspaper in the droppings tray this morning too. I have moved the eglu into a place that may be a good permanent place. I read with interest how to put them on wood chippings. i think this may be the thing to do. Until then I'll make myself feel sick by picking up all their droppings daily so the children can play until the netting arrives.

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thanks for the link to the homemade roosting bars. Its something I've been meaning to do for ages, so that might just spur me on ...

 

I scrub my bars once a week (Sunday), when I clean all the Eglu. I tip out the tray (newspaper and po into the compost heap). I change the shredded paper I put into the nest box whenever it has any po in it - and every sunday whatever. I put the whole lot back together wet because I can never wait for it to dry!

 

Sunflower seeds and pasta are my girls favorite treats.

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Week 1 you think "what have I gone and got myself into". Don't worry it settles down and you will develop your own routine on cleaning, moving eglu and treats etc.

 

Mine free range a lot and I have 3 kids out in my garden too. I started daily poo collecting in a bucket, which turned into twice daily collecting. I have now progressed to a late afternoon hosepipe patrol before the kids come in from school (a quick squirt disintegrates fresh poos).

 

Definately get some spare roosting bars. I have progressed from newspaper in the poo tray to newspaper plus auboise (much better). Your grass will recover. Even the bits that are scratched up. I move my eglu along a bit every few days. After a few weeks you'll look out at your garden and see a visible darker green strip of grass where the eglu was a few weeks ago (all that natural fertilizer greens up the lawn).

 

Your chooks will get more used to you in time too. Soon you wont be able to open the back door without the chooks hearing and coming over like lightening to trip you up.

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Aubiose is a bedding material which is made from hemp.

 

It is super absorbent, and compostable.

 

It is a horse bedding but has caught on with chicken keepers.

 

It comes in large bales which cost about £7 and last for ages.

 

It is similar to Hemcore, which is a bit chunkier and scented with Citronella.

 

Its fab.

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Hi Richard.

Just as Egluntine says above. I saw posts on this forum advocating Hemcore and Auboise. My local horsey shop sells both so eeny meeny miny mo and I plumped for Auboise to try first. It's good stuff. Aubiose bale cost me £8.25 and fits into a car boot easily. Soaks up moisture whereas straw could get soggy in the nest box, and great for poop tray.

 

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i couldnt find Hemcore and Auboise in my local pet shop they do sell BLISS which is similar and comes in citronella and eucalyptus. it was recommended by the lady in the shop who uses it in her run and hutch. it was £5.50 for a large bail (the same as in the photo from henwatch - just has bliss written on the side) i have put it in the run and in the droppings tray, i have only had the eglu since wednesday but it is great. i jet wash the poos in the run every day and they disapear.

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we have spare roosting bars and rotate when cleaning once a week.

 

We have hemcore in the run which is a godsend and literally absorbs all the wet and the poo's magically disappear.

 

We have a permanent site for our eglu which we have made to look quite pretty with chippings and potted plants around the run to make a feature, we have chipping on top of the run skirt to hold it down and in the winter makes it nice and clean to walk around the eglu. Our chickens free range all day every day and we have a medium garden that is a combination of small area of grass with pebbles and 2 decked areas, we blast the poo's with hosepipe daily to get rid of it.

 

Top tip - we put a piece of kitchen roll with citronella oil in the droppings tray - and hey presto - no flies :D

 

Also slip a piece under the summer/winter shades to keep flies down in the run too!

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thanks - I'll go and see what I can find! - as I think I said, at the moment I just use shredded paper (gets rid of the confidential waste) then it goes in the compost with the lawn clippings etc. Sounds like I might find some of the other materials useful

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