i thought i'd include my current "chicken chronicles" article. i write a monthly chicken article in our small home town paper-that also comes out once a month:
Well, it seems like spring is more than just "upon" us. My winter lettuce bed has already bolted! Now that we are having warm sunny days- (I know, I know we always get some wild weather in April.)But it is time for YOU KNOW WHAT. What? You don’t know? Well, I’m here to tell you-Spring Cleaning! It’s time for that major once a year deep clean of your chicken coop-house and yard.
Normally you should be cleaning your hen house once a week, but this is different. It’s time to empty the house completely and wash it down with a 10% bleach solution. If your house is unpainted inside it’s a good idea to either paint it with enamel glossy kitchen paint or linseed oil it. This helps prevent fleas and mites from laying eggs in the wood. It’s a good idea to maintain this every spring. Do this early in the morning so the coop has time to air out and dry thoroughly. Now, I installed a linoleum floor when I built the coop so I could easily mop it with the 10% bleach solution every spring.
If you think you have a bug infestation- one can put food grade diatomaceous
earth(NOT the kind for swimming pools) in your coop-be sure to dust the roosts and nesting boxes too. Carefully dusting your birds with it will help too. Be sure to get under the wings and the vent area. You can buy this from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley. You can also put in on your cats and dogs for fleas. Dust your yard for fleas too! -Although I believe once it’s wet it is not effective anymore. Be careful not to breathe it in. You can also get products from the feed store made from pyrethrum flowers to spray your coop and birds.
Don’t forget to rake out the old poop from the chicken yard and do any repairs that need to be tended to. If you have an area where you can grow some poultry pasture –also available at peaceful valley farm supply. It is a wonderful way to add omega 3s to your chicken’s diet. Which in turn produce eggs with a higher omega 3 content. The chickens love it. You need to keep the chickens away from it for a couple weeks so it can grow.
It’s going to be baby chick season soon. Learn from my mistakes- have your coop ready BEFORE you get them. Read up on chicken care. Here’s a few books I like- some are even at the Nevada City Public Library.
Keep Chickens! By Barbara Kilarski
Chickens In Your Backyard-a beginner’s Guide by Rick and Gail Luttman
The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow
I could go on forever-so many good chicken books so little time-but this is a good place to start. If you have never had chickens before and feel a bit nervous about the whole thing or if you have chickens already and just want more information Lisa Mathews lives on an off-grid farm near Edwards Crossing and offers awesome chicken care classes beginning in April. She is the chicken lady extrordinaire! In fact she formulated the poultry pasture mix from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. Her classes are very informative and she is full of knowledge she is willing to share with you. Lisa’s number is 530-470-0744.
the gurls are very curious about the house-if the door is open, they love investigating. but chicken poop in the house is not a pleasant thing. so i have to shoo them constantly-i know, i could just keep my door closed-but i'm an open door kinda gal. i went to the feed store today to special order some baby chicks. gulp! i've been debating. we get 2-3 eggs a day and it would be nice to have extra for barter and gifts. i am experiencing chicken harmony right now-do i want to upset this balance? plus, i will need to do a coop addition and have the babies living in my bathroom for a month or two till they are fully feathered. am i ready? will hubby be ready to deal with this when i'm on our homeschool trip to yosemite? but i went ahead and did it-6 chicks due to come april 25th. look at these beauties! hazel lays the lite one, ruth lays the brown rounder eggs and lucie-our daily layer, lays the brown longer eggs. thanks for the eggs ladies!!!!!
oh yea-i forgot to mention-lucie loves neil young-she dances to "harvest moon"-i kid you not!