Healthy Chickens

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Since I’ve had my chickens a little over a year ago, June 2008, I have not had any health issues.  They all eat, drink and poop as they should. 

I am using the deep litter method for the coops which is great.  There has been no smell and everything decomposes.  Every so often, maybe every 3 months or so, I shovel out maybe a third of the litter and put back in the same amount of new litter and mix it all together.  The reason is, if you remove it all, you remove the little ecosystem of microbes decomposing the wastes.

 I was worried about the floor becoming wet or damaged.  Has never been an issue with the deep litter method.  The top layer has the droppings and wetness and I just mix the top layer around down into about the middle, which then absorbs any wetness.  The wet never makes it down to the floor which is just plywood.  This litter is about six inches deep or more. Just add a top dress of more litter as it needs freshening up.

I use Stall Dry which is a great product for anyone to use with an animal odor issue.  I top dress the litter with this every so often, maybe every couple months or when I perceive odors needing to be contained.  The Stall Dry has Diatomaceous Earth to take care of bugs, and also a deoderizer.  It does not harm the chickens or any animal, if they should ingest it. 

I also mix Stall Dry on the alpaca poop piles and fluff it like making a salad, wait a few minutes for it to absorb moisture,  then scooping and cleaning up the pile.  I sprinkle a little more  to deoderize the remaining ground and also the DE will take care of flies. Then I use the poop to fill any holes or depressions in my yard and/or work the poop into my flower gardens or around trees or bushes.  It will not burn the plants. Sometimes the alpacas poop and pee in the barn if the weather stays crummy for a few days, so Stall Dry cleans up and   also “clears the air” in there.  I just don’t like a smelly barn or coops if I can help it.

So, the books I recommend again for chicken info are “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens”, and Carla Emery’s “The Encyclopedia of Country Living”. These kept getting mention and recommendation from others in my research.  I found both on Amazon.com and you can watch for them to go on sale. Various bookseller’s will have different prices and shipping, so shop for the very best deal.  They are worth their price, even if not on sale.

Read up on the deep litter method and make your life easier.  You can find Stall Dry and the pine shavings (get the fine shavings so they decompose faster) at the local co-op usually or Tractor Supply or any ag store.   My coops are designed so I don’t have to walk into them and that is also a huge plus.

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