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Questions that my books cannot answer.....

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I have now had my three hens for a week, and we have a nice routine. However, I have a query; currently i weigh out my layers pellets and put them out in the 'grub' just before I open the door to let the hens out.  By about 4pm the hens have eaten all of the pellets. I then give one handful of corn per chicken to tide them overnight. they are in the coop by 6pm. I currently open up at about 6.40am after feeding my cats etc. With the day light getting longer, they will be without 'food' (other than what they can dig up in the run)for longer. The simple solution appears to be to feed them more, and just bring in what is left over at night (I bring in the feeders overnight).  Is that what other people do?


Also, with the sun rising earlier should I be opening up much earlier? I am loathe to open up too early as my cats stay in overnight to keep them and the wildlife in my garden safe.(and I'd need to run the gauntlet of them to get to the hens)  I cannot attach a door opener ( I don't think) as I have a classic, and even if they did come out earlier, their food and drink would still be inside. The hens are 'chattering' when i go out to let them out too.


And finally..... my 4 m run is currently completely covered with a transparent tarp, although i have lifted a corner near the coop to allow the prevailing wind to blow through and out the open end at the door end.  We are only having weak sun at the moment if any at all, so i am not worried about it getting too warm yet, but eventually i will pull back the end piece and replace it with a shade.  How do other owners with tarps cope with the changing weather?  I am on heavy clay soil with a covering of wood chip from my garden and horse bedding.


Thank you!!

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You don't need to weight heir feed out - each bird will eat the amount that they need. I would also cut back on the corn it has very little nutritional content.

If you have an Omlet run and you feel confident that it is safe, then you may want to leave their coop door open. My mark 1 cube runs are on slabs and I almost never close the door at night, that way they can come out into the run and start to eat as soon as they want.

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No, I don’t weigh.  Just keep it topped up.  In fact I have two grubs in the run to stop squabbling.  They’ll eat what they need. 

You ask about tarps.   I have the top and two sides fully covered in the WIR.   The back is also covered to the top of the attached cube.  The one long side I have three Wickes wavy plastic sheets on, held in by bungees.  I only have all of these  in rain or wind.  Mostly, it’s only one, and I take them off entirely in hot weather, plus raising the sides to let air through. 

Edited by Patricia W
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Thanks for the replies Dogmother and Patricia.  I've stopped weighing the food now.  I will remove the tarpaulin once the weather improves. The hens seem happy; I have just finished a week of feeding them with Flubevent pellets and I didn't see a single worm. 

Hopefully when the weather gets a bit drier, i can move my run fencing for them to do a bit of pest control before I get my seeds in the ground.

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