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Dom T

Newbie Qs : Feeders/Daily tasks/Coop time/Hen pecking

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I could not get the book on chicken rearing that Omlet recommends in their online shop so I read another and have a host of newbie questions, sorry. To get perspective we have 3 bantams, an Eglu Go and a homemade run of about around 8m2. The book was not written for Omlet owners so .... 

  1. "As a rule-of-thumb, you'll need about half a cup of feed and two cups of water per chicken per day, plus a bit extra (just in case)." This amount would get lost in the Omlet provided containers am I better off buying others. I am worried the water/food would be too deep down for the Bantams to get to if I put that amount in the ones that came with the Eglu Go :)
  2. Daily tasks "clean up the worst of the droppings under the roost", how much of a clean should I be doing? Sweeping out the tray, dusting off the roosting bars and disinfecting/full wash down once a week? 
  3. I would say about 50% of the day maybe more the hens are in the coop, does this seem right? It is cold (we are in the French Alps and it is freezing every night unseasonably at the moment) and we have only had them a week so that is what I put it down to weather and settling in. Whenever we go out to see them, they come out. 
  4. We got 2 hens a week ago. Then introduced another. The new hen (also a bantum) is smaller, has previously been hen pecked a little - a few missing feathers on her head, looks like her comb has been pecked too almost to nothing (if that is even possible). When introduced to the other two they pecked her a bit too. Though it seems to be getting better, I figured I might as well ask for any advice to help stop her getting pecked since I am here :)
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Hi! @Ursula123 and @Beantree also live in France, but definitely not in the Alps!

1) I don’t think many here use the Omlet feeder. I also find it quite useless, certainly with bantams. You’d be better off with a ordinary chicken feeder. I have a feeder that I just top up.

2) I clean out my Go Up once a week. Mine is lined with newspaper.

3) as long as they come out to feed and drink, they’ll be fine.

4) there will be some of pecking. But as long as there is no blood, it should be fine. Maybe provide extra feeders and drinkers, so all get the opportunity to eat and drink. 
What type of bantams did you get? Some breed have very small rose combs.

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I agree with everything Cattails says.

I wouldn’t worry about the amounts of food and water though. Just fill up whatever feeders and drinker you have (obviously make sure your hens can reach them ok) and let them eat and drink as much as they want, then refill when empty. Bring the food and water in at night if you’re concerned about rats.

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It's very difficult to introduce a single hen without fighting, so you have been quite lucky.

The flooring on our coops is newspaper and we pick the poo (dustpan and brush) every day, because that gives a very early warning of anything not being right. Makes great compost when mixed with other materials as on its own it is far too strong, even when composted.

It may not just be the cold that's making them stay in the coop. No matter what the temperature, chickens hate draughts. Ruffled feathers means insulation is lost, so it's important they have some shelter from that. We use windbreak netting on the North and West sides of the run because the worst wind comes from those directions. In Summer they need some air so it is removed. They also need shade and for that we use bamboo, because the air gaps let any heat out.

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Was reading this with my wife and she said what a lovely forum thank you @Cat tails @mullethunter @Beantree for your advice and support.

@Cat tails @mullethunter nice to hear from you and thank you again for your support. Super reassuring to hear that as long as food and water are covered we are okay :) @Cat tails We have 3 Pekin Bantams 😀  My wife now reckons the newly introduced hen (Dotty) might be younger than the others as she is smaller and perhaps her comb has yet to grow).

@Beantree So interesting about the drafts, I had not seen that elsewhere, makes a lot of sense. Will pop up a windbreak and see if we get to see more of them.

Again all thank you so much for your time and learned advice. 


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Hi @Beantree just to check 😀  So dustpan and brush daily. Tip poo into compost. Deep clean once a week. As for the bedding .... We put straw just in the nesty bit of a coop (the divot), I think that is the right thing to do? They kick most of it down into the tray, so do we stick that in the compost too? I am sure I read somewhere folks put that into the run however once soiled I am not sure it was, though it would help soak up a bit of mud in the run.   

@mullethunter your Fluffy is a beaut! @Luvachicken @mullethunter can I ask do you have to clean Bantums feet from time to time? I am sure I read somewhere that was a thing? Maybe it was a lice thing? 

Thank you all, getting to be a more confident chicken parent daily! 

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1 hour ago, Dom T said:

do you have to clean Bantums feet from time to time?

Mine are on hardwood chip, and when free ranging my pekin doesn’t tend to do full on muddy digging, so the only time her feet get washed is when she’s coming indoors and they have poo on!

If they were to get really muddy though I would be keeping an eye on them and maybe washing them if I thought the mud was really stuck on there in clods. As long as they’re not terrible they’ll usually sort it out themselves.

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On 4/23/2021 at 5:44 PM, Dom T said:

 @Luvachicken @mullethunter can I ask do you have to clean Bantums feet from time to time? I am sure I read somewhere that was a thing? Maybe it was a lice thing? 

Sometimes they tread in poop and then tread in the woodchips, which sticks and they can't always get it off themselves.

My run is pretty well covered but they do still get mud balls between their toes every now and then.

I usually get them off as gently as I can.

It's also good just to check their feet in case they have any sores / bumblefoot that needs dealing with.

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