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For the Love of Chickens

Weebug: a.k.a. Rene Creasy (to people) and ‘She-Who-Feeds-Us’ (to our five cats, two dogs, an eastern mud turtle, and twelve Buckeye chickens). This is my blog about living, working and finally getting the chance to raise chickens in King and Queen County, one of the most rural counties in all of Virginia. For the Love of Chickens is why we moved to King and Queen! If you have questions find me on facebook, search "For the Love of Chickens" or email me.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010  Chicky Massage Hour

One of the folks from PetChickensOfVirginia.com shared some valuable information about this stuff call Diatomaceous Earth, DE for short. Believe me, DE is a heck of a lot easier to say than Diatomaceous Earth, it took three weeks of practice before those words could just roll off my tongue. This stuff is amazing. It comes from the earth, from about a billion years ago when little single celled diatoms died and started to become fossils. Now, it keeps bird mites at bay if you use it regularly, it helps to dry out damp bedding, it freshens the air, it keeps flies and other small insects from multiplying at alarming rates and they say it helps control internal parasites. I dust the coop, chicken run and the area surrounding the run as well as the dog house and its perimeter about twice a week using a turkey baster. DE has become part of my life! 
 
We were first introduced to the product when the chickens were still baby chicks. After holding Baby Gao I noticed teenie, tiny white dots moving across my wrist. The people at Pet Chickens of Va. said they were mites and for an organic and non-poisonous way to get rid of them to use the DE. It took longer to irradicate the mites than if I had of doused them in a flea bath (another recommendation) but now with regular use of DE I am able to keep mites from becoming epidemic, probably because I caught the problem early and nipped it in the bud. I bought one 4.4 pound bag two months ago at Southern States and I still have half a bag left even after using it at least twice a week since.
 
At first, when the mites were crawling on my baby birds, I dusted the chicks individually every few days to get rid of the mites on their bodies. I would put all the chicks in a big cat carrier, then one by one, massage a  handful of DE all over a chick before putting it back in the brooder. It came to be known as 'Chicky Massage Hour'. After a while most of them started to really enjoy it! I would also "puff" DE into the brooder litter with the turkey baster and all over the brooder room (after I completely changed and thouroughly cleaned the brooder once I discovered the mites). After a couple of weeks I no longer saw mites. I have only seen a mite once since then. When I did, I got more agressive with the treatments for about a week and then went back to my regular routine.
 
DE is tricky though. You must use only the FOOD GRADE DE. This part is VERY important. One of the Pet Chickens of Va. members is a bit of an expert on DE and was kind enough to share his knowlege with the forum group. Tim gave me permission to also share it with my blog readers to!
All about DE:

I hope to impart some knowledge regarding DE that I have amassed over the past 2 years, specifically, Perma-Guard Codex Food Grade DE or "Fossil Shell Flour". 

I have chosen Perma-Guard for various reasons;

Perma-Guard held the original patent for food grade DE jointly with the University of Arizona. This patent was issued in the 1960's and has since expired resulting in the market being flooded with many inferior products. DE is mined from the shells of prehistoric crustaceons called diatoms. These diatoms are found in both salt and freshwater dried up lake and ocean beds, the purest of which come from fresh water beds. 

It is important to know that there are two types of DE on the market. It is important in that one kind is food grade and the other kind can be lethal and is usually used in swimming pool filtration systems. DE contains silicon dioxide and crystalline silica. Silicon Dioxide is harmless while Crystalline Silica can be lethal. Good DE (food grade) contains about 80% silicon dioxide, a trace amount of crystalline silica and the remainder being varios harmless minerals. Filter grade DE on the other hand, contains about 75% Crystalline Silica and the remainder being Silicon Dioxide and various harmless minerals. 

In order to be considered food grade DE, there has to be less than 3% crystalline silica content. The crystalline silica content contained in Perma-Guard Codex food grade DE is less than one half of one percent, making it the purest

DE on the market, and is FDA approved.

Where the filter grade DE can wreak havoc with your lungs if inhaled, the food grade is likened to breathing "road dust" or common baking flour. If you are prone to breathing problems anyway, it is suggested that you wear a paper mask when dispensing it. 

The original useage of food grade DE was to keep insects out of grain products and feed. Chances are very good that you yourself have ingested DE already. Its presence is included in the dry cereals we eat and products such as Bisquick, instant mashed potatoes and the like. Since it is added to various grain before processing, it is not required to be listed in the table of contents. 

A word of caution here! Perma-Guard also sells DE that have added insecticides for pest control. To get the right DE, the package has to state the following: "Perma-Guard Codex Food Grade Fossil Shell Flour". Any other wording and you are taking your chances so be careful. 

Food grade as worded above is safe for human consumption. The advantages and testimonials from individuals that ingest it would be too lengthly to list here. At the end of this post I will list websites where this info can be obtained and read at your leisure. And yes, I have taken it myself! 

A few items that have impressed me in articles I have read written by farm management individuals are: increased milk production in dairy cows by 5 to 7%. Vet bills dropped 70% when DE was added to livestock feed; fly population decreased by 90%; less incidence of Scours in piglets and calves when added to feed. I personally use it in my coops to keep them dry and odor free, in the feed to control worms and I dust my chickens with it to control external parasites.

Following are the recommended dosages from various websites: 

Humans - 1-2 TBLS Daily (1 in AM and 1 in PM recommended)

Horses - 1/2 - 1 cup daily

Kittens - 1/2-1 Tsp twice daily

Cats - 2 Tsp twice daily

Puppies under 10# - 1/2-1 Tsp twice daily

Pups 10-19# - 2 Tsp daily

Dogs 20-50# - 1 to 1 1/2 TBLS daily

Dogs 50+# - 2 TBLS daily

Dogs 100+# - 3 to 4 TBLS daily

Cattle, dairy cows and hogs - 2% of dry feed weight

Poultry - 5% of dry feed weight(2# per hundred or 1# per 50# bag etc

Goats and Sheep - 2 to 3 TBLS per 100# body weight 

The following sites have a great deal more info and I recommend you check them out for info not contained here.

http://www.freshwaterorganics.com/what_is_de.htm

perma-guard.com


Monday, August 9, 2010   (To Love the Chicken is To Protect the Chicken)
 
Chickens must be protected from predators. EVERYHING wants to kill and eat your chickens. There are predators from the forest, from the field, from the skies and even from under the surface of the earth; ALL looking for an easy tasty meal. Your neighbors' dogs and even your neighbors are not to be trusted with your chickens. Lock those birds up at night and keep them as safe as you can during the day, if you love your chickens. Today I learned that you even need to protect the chickens from themselves! Holy Moly!
 
Probably the only perfect predator proof housing for your chickens is to keep them inside your home or to build a zoo quality enclosure for them. Two things not likely to happen, so you just do the best you can with what you've got and you learn to shoot a gun. This is what I have been learning from my friends at Pet Chickens Of Virginia http://petchickensofvirginia.com/group/index.php and I think I have the perfect inner workings for the job of protecting chickens. Safety has been a big factor in my decision making process since before the time I became a legal adult. I think it started when a rescued robin fell in a bucket of water that I had left in the room and it drowned. Then my obsession with safety was all about keeping rescued robins and other small rescued animals safe until they could go out on their own, then it was all about keeping my cats and parrots safe, then it was all about keeping the children safe, now it is all about keeping the chickens and guineas safe. After all those years of safe-keeping I have become "rather O.C.D." about it, according to Paige ... But that is another story, let me get back to protecting chickens!
 
Here are just a few pointers I have learned from the kind folks at Pet Chickens of Virginia:
 
For more tips on keeping your chickens safe, join a good forum dedicated to chickens. I especially enjoy Pet Chickens of Virginia because of all the fun "chicken folks" that are local to me. There is also the Backyard Chickens  group http://www.backyardchickens.com/  for good advise from fellow chicken enthusiasts from all over our great nation.

Thursday, July 29 2010    I've Had To Get Over Janet Leigh
 
HItchcock's Psycho. 'Nuf said.

Tuesday, July 27 2010 I Am A Dirty Girl
 
I AM! (Read it again slowly.....with a southern, slightly breathy and feminine voice................o.k.! Good. Now go on.)
 
But really, I get very dirty working in the garden and even dirtier working for the chickens. Building a fence is dirty work! Today Chris and I laid seven four-by-four posts into holes dug 25 to 27 inches deep. The holes have to be flanged at the bottom so it is shaped kind of like a light bulb. That helps to keep the concrete plug stable and buried. Otherwise it is like a peg that can be lifted from the earth by the slow force of tree roots or by the sudden force of hurricane force winds. Living in the Middle Neck of Virginia, right on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, you really need to think about hurricanes and what they can do to anything you build.
 
Well, a few of the post holes we dug last week needed a bit more flanging and one of them just couldn't be gotten to with the post hole digger so I had to do it by hand.  The hole was 27 inches deep, about the entire length of the inside of my arm. As I lay on the ground in fresh dirt and wet grass with my arm completely extended into the post hole to hand carve the bottom of the hole into a bulbous shape I noticed ants crawling so close to my face I could hardly see them except for by their movements. My face was hovering smack dab right in the action of the ants and their little ant acitivites. My face was so close to those busy ants that later in the evening after I took take my shower and as I was cleaning out my nose with a tissue, I pulled out of my nose a tiny black ant. It was only about a quarter the size of a grain of brown rice but it was an ant. Belly up in my right nostril. If I was Keith Richards I probably would have found that rather exciting and may have even snorted it back up!
 

But I am not Keith Richards and will try to avoid letting bugs get up my nose again although because of my love for the chickens, I will continue to get dirty, I will continue to sweat outside in 106F degree weather and I will continue to try to make our chickens healthy, happy and safe. All the dirt in the world and all the ants up my nose that can fit are worth the joy of petting a sweet content chicken as she (or he!) coos and churtles on my lap. Yep. My beautiful Buckeye chickens deserve a devoted dirty girl to take care of them! So, for the love of chickens, I am proud to be a dirty girl!


Thursday, July 22, 2009  Serving Chickens
 
There are two more days of this heat wave left according to the weather man on the t.v. news. It has been 97F and above for nearly a week now with the heat index running from 100F to 107F. It is supposed to get hotter before the system moves away next Monday. All this heat means a lot of work keeping the animals and garden alive. I don't think I can take much more than two more days of it!
 
Most of the mammals (and turtle) are inside; nice and cool in the air conditioning and keeping company with Randy, Arin and Paige as they work, do chores and take care of all the things they need to take care of. The chickens, Squirt the Dog and the garden are all out in the blazing heat, willing to expire if not allowed some comfort. I give them comfort in the form of fresh cool water for drinking, wading and for cooling the air. The keets, although inside the new unfinished room addition, suffer the heat from the lack of air conditioning and mid-day shade. There are plenty of windows but it becomes a sauna in there by mid-afternoon. I've been changing their water fountain about three to four times a day. There is a fan blowing on them, I block the incoming sun from the south window with a makeshift curtain and I've been keeping small drink bottles of frozen water inside of a tuperware under their perches. The tuperware catches the drips from the condensation on the warming bottles. When I ran out of the frozen small bottles today after the first two completely melted, I found a couple of frozen containers of soups that had been hanging in the freezer a tad bit too long and used them. The last two days I started running a sprinkler outside the windows to cool the air coming in. by late afternoon, the themometer in the brooder room read 94F and the keets panted for about and hour. After it cooled down, Arin and I rearranged the room so the fan is more efficient and I froze more small bottles of water for the next day. I'll be putting a larger ice block in front of the fan so it can blow cooler air on them.
 
The chickens get three to four costco milk jugs filled with frozen water (they have nice screw on caps that don't leak!) placed around their favorite napping spots, two flower pot trays made into "wading pools" refilled with fresh cool water two to three times daily, their drinkers get refilled with cool water by mid-day AND they get nice cold watermelon, chilled corn on the cob and chilled tomatoes to munch on and a sprinkler spraying a light mist towards the run and coop all afternoon. I have to move the sprinklers every hour or two to prevent puddles. Puddles will attract snakes who are having a hard time finding food in this heat. I don't want to be introducing our Beautiful Birds to a passing by snake! Also, there are two large peices of T1-11 left over from building the coop that I lean up against the coop to provide additional shade. Those get moved twice each as the sun moves around the run. The trees only provide shade for a few hours a day in the morning and late after noon. In a few years the trees should be big enough to give shade throughout the day, especially the Hickory tree as it is starting to reach out it's branches since being given space to spread when they cleared to build the house five years ago.
 
Squirt has fashioned a nice cool "nest" in the dirt underneath the shed. I place a juice bottle filled with ice just at the entrance and keep a bucket of cool water in the sade of the shed for him to drink. The shed is close enough to the coop to enjoy some water cooled air as well.
 
I move the two sprinklers around other parts of the garden to water the flowers, young trees, shrubs, fruits and vegetables in the morning hours. From 1 p.m. until about 6 p.m. the sprinklers are devoted to the birds and to Squirt.
 
Me? As I serve the chickens, I walk in the shade, move slowly, drink lots of water, "play" in the sprinklers (it is amazing how cool you feel just wetting your wrists and ankles!) and pop into the air conditioned house periodically to stay cool.

Monday, July 19, 2019   Give Keets a Chance 
 
We have had our baby keets for a week now. I haven't posted any photos of them on Facebook yet, they are very shy and hard to photograph. Also, I haven't goochied and goobered all over them like I did the baby chicks. The keets just don't like any of that stuff. They want to be given food, water, space and to be left the heck alone. It has take a week to get them to be calmish when I am in the room. It has also take them exactly a week to break a hole through the cardboard brooder wall that so efficiently held the baby chicks a couple of months prior. Yes. The little devils pecked a hole right through the Murry McMurrary corregated cardoard brooder wall. I have stepped up my efforts to finish a larger, stronger brooder box for the keets!
 
Keets are not like chicks. When ever anyone gets too close to the brooder they get all crazy nervous and try to morph themselves through the brooder wall by weaving in and out of each other as close to the farthest end of the wall they can reach. It has taken nearly a week for them to get comfortable enough with me to merely stand and stare at me with one black eye each when I come in the room and approach the brooder. They stretch their necks as tall as they can, kind of like Meercats, and just stare silently. If I lift the screen lid to change their water or food they go back into panic mode and weave in and out of each other and start peeping and "wheating". They ften sound like they are saying "wheat!" wheat!". 
 
The keets have a pretty and lyrical voice as a small young group. I love it when they carry on with their songs as I work in the brooder room. Finally after nearly a week they will whistle and "wheat" calmly amongst them selves as I gather cups of dog food or attend to some other animal related chore in the multifunctional room. They are not allowing me to pick them up and play with them like the baby chicks did. We were playing with the chicks the moment we brought them home! Keets, apparently, are shy and quite a bit wilder than chicks. They are much more like "real" birds. The chickens are more like spoiled rotten house cats!
 
One of the keets flew out of the brooder already. I was changing the food and water...a chore that, with keets, needs attending about four times daily BTW! Anyway, one of the older keets (four are three weeks old, four are two weeks old) flew out of the brooder! I hollered to Arin to bring me the fish net from the turtle's tank accessories. By the time Arin got half way to me, I had already hand picked the keet up and was holding the sweet little lovely in my hand. They will never be as friendly and cuddly with me as the chickens are but I believe that in due time we will have a certain respect and understanding. Especially after the dance I performed for them tonight.
 
Yes. I danced for the keets. It was after dark. I changed their radio station from a country station to the Williamsburg Public radio station. There was an expecially artful and classical song on. It seemed rather bird like so I tried to dance as if I were a guinea fowl digging the music. The keets watched with intense interest. I think we have reached a new level of understanding. Just give keets time to acclimate, give them a chance to get used to you and for you to get used to them...no matter how weird they AND you are!


 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010   Raising Chickens Improves the Body and Soul
 
When working around the chickens it is best to move slowly and gracefully, otherwise you startle them and cause them stress. Stressfull chickens, I hear, don't lay eggs as well. Besides, stressed out chickens are not as joyful to be around as are happy, content chickens. To sit quietly and hold a sleepy content chicken in your lap surely must lower the blood pressure and ease the heart. It is like petting a purring cat. Either activity will turn a frown upside down in a matter of seconds. Walking and working with graceful movements while with the chickens begins to spill over and before you know it, you are moving with grace while doing dishes, folding laundry and feeding the mammals. It is very zen.
 

Raising chickens is also helping me to acquire new skills. Now have to learn how to build a good fence. The chicks are getting rather large for their coop and run and are ready to explore more of the world. Randy and I spent the late afternoon yesterday mapping out the fencing for the first chicken yard by using potted garden plants as markers for the posts. Small black pots represent the T-posts, large pots full of gladiolas represent the gate posts, milk crates represent corners and any brown flower pot represent the support posts. Randy made some excellent suggestions for the configuration, even though I was reluctant to embrace them at first. "What do you mean make one fence wall diagonal?"  I thought it would be way to weird looking but after we mapped it out, it looks great! Now we just need to buy the supplies and then I can start installing it. I have given myself a goal of three weeks to complete the fence and I will have Arin and my ten year old buddy, Chris help me. I've found a few good "How To" websites to teach me the fundamentals of fence installation. The experience of actually installing it will teach me how to REALLY install a fence AND it will build more muscle!




Monday, July 12, 2010   Chickens Made My Daddy Proud of Me
 
At 51 years old, FINALLY I have done something to make my Dad proud of me. Forget about the three College Associate's degrees, the Bachelor in Arts degree and the year in a Master of Arts program. Forget about having owned several businesses. Forget about giving my dad a gorgeous, talented, exceptionally smart and kind-hearted granddaughter. Forget about all the awards won at art exhibits. Forget about working as a model during my teen years. None of THOSE things ever gave my Dad much special notice. But now that I have chickens he is so proud of me, he is bringing his friends and their grandchildren over to our house to see them. He even called me on the telephone the other day during the first rain we've had since we got the chickens. He was concerned how they we reacting to the sudden down pour! This is a man who use to telephone me about once every other year.
 
All these years I have yearned to hear my dad say just once: "I'm proud of you Bug". He may still never say the words but his actions toward me since we brought home those twleve little bitty baby fuzz-ball chicks have been screaming "I AM PROUD OF MY DAUGHTER" ever since.
 
Go figure!

Saturday July 10, 2020 Chicken Fever

This morning while googling some information about young chickens, I happened upon a company that specilizes in raising heritage livestock and produce. http://www.greenfirefarms.com/ Greenfire Farms feature some extremely rare (and very happy) chickens and I have fallen head over heels in love with one of the breeds. It is called East Frisian Gull and they are STUNNING! OMG! OMG! OMG! I want some! Here is their description of these extraodinary and EXTREMELY rare birds: With their ermine-white hackles and their black speckled bodies, these are birds that reflect a purity of purpose in their breeding that has yielded a breath-taking presence in the chicken yard. They are native to the northern coastal regions of Germany, and take their name from the feather quality of the chicks that resembles sea gulls. These chickens are severely endangered, limited to a few remaining flocks on small farms. One German expert on this breed told us that flocks other than his own produced a national total of 14 chicks in 2009. Think about that: 14 chicks in the entire world. These priceless genetic treasures teeter on the brink of extinction.



Looking through their website, I don't see where any of the East Frasian Gull chicks are offered for sale and I can't imagine what they will ask if they ever do offer them. Greenfire Farms birds are all rare and very expensive ranging from an order of 12 day old Marans chicks for $150.00 to an order of only 6 day old Light Sussex chicks for $150.00. Then there are the coronation and Sliver Sussex that you must inquire for the price. Shipping costs are as high as $60. And we thought paying $4.00 a chick for our 12 baby Buckeye chicks was a lot! Oh dear!....I just looked at photos of the Pumpkin Hulsey....♥ ♥ ♥
July 9, 2010  Keeping It Cool.
 
Man oh, MAN! Trying to keep the chickens cool, and the outside dog cool, and all the veggies, flowers, and grass alive these last few days has been constant WORK! The dog is the easiest, Squirt dug a nice cool hole for himself under the shed. I just add a strategically placed milk jug of frozen water and add ice to his drinking water now and then, and he's comfy enough. As for the garden, every couple of hours I move the sprinklers around. A 200 foot hose gets heavy after a while when it is 100F out there, let me tell you!

The chickens have been staying nice and comfy with four milk cartons of ice, several trays of water to stomp around in, and a sprinkler throwing a mist towards the tarp covered run. I have two large peices of T1-11 left over from building the coop that I've been leaning against the run to block the sun, I've been moving the boards around the coop as the sun moves around it. The combination of the shade and the sprinklers have been doing wonders in cooling down the air in the coop and run. I'm going to plant a Mimosa tree in the southwest corner of the run in the fall. They grow fast, provide nice shade only in the summer, and I hear chickens just LOVE all the bees and butterflies that are attracted to the Mimosa flowers. In fact, I remember my Grandaddy's chickens used to love to rest in the shade of his enormous and ancient Mimosa tree.

When we chose a spot for the coop and run it was late winter when the sun was lower and the trees on the south side cast shade on the area. We tried to account for the higher summer sun but missed. Right now the coop gets shade in the morning and and the very late afternoon but none in the middle of the day when it needs it the most! There is a Hickory tree near by that will eventually branch out more and shade the coop in a few years, but we need shade NOW!

I guess, for the next few years, I'll be out there during the heat waves with buckets of cool water, moving sprinklers around, moving big boards around, and placing milk jugs of frozen water to keep our spoiled chickens happy. Why? Because I like it when the chickens are happy!








Sunday, July 04, 2010     Chickens are Like Cats
I am seeing how much alike cats and chickens are. We have five indoor cats. The largest male is the alpha cat. If any of the other cats have a tiff, Sherbert is there in an instant to smack the snot out them until they stop quarrelling. On the other hand, he always sits back and waits for all the other cats to eat their fill from the dry food bowls before he eats. Did I mention Sherbert’s “rooster tail”?  He insists on wearing a feather decoration on his collar. It comes attached by velcro to a fuzzy ball; the Velcro attaches easily to his Beastie Band collar. From what I've seen of roosters so far...Sherbert is a lot like a rooster!
The chickens seem to almost purr when they are content. I love it when one “purrs” while I am holding it in my lap, petting it! Some of them really love to be petted. Oh! and what about that cute little leg and wing stretch thing the chickens do? Cats strike a very similar pose when they are feeling snappy and ginger. And the most obvious similarity of all: if you are timid, you are either a 'chicken' or you are a 'scaredy cat'.
Here is Sherbert with his feather decoration. He has been wearing one continuously since 2006. We keep spares because he is not happy without his feathers. Now that we have Buckeye chickens, we will be able to make our own feather decorations for him out of the rooster tail feathers!



We used to think Sherbert was a Drag Queen until we got involved with Chickens. Now we see that actually Sherbert is, in his heart, a Rooster!


Saturday, July 3, 2010: The chicks made it through another night in the coop! All night long I kept visualizing this one little spot under the coop in the corner that is big enough for a large snake, a rat or maybe even a small opossum. The "hole" would allow access to the drawers under the coop, but I am certain none of those varmits would have enough strength to bust through the 1/2 inch hardware wire that makes up the coop floor. A varmit could terrorize the chicks though, and that would be just awful for the little squeakers.

I didn't want the drawers under the coop. I wanted to go with the 'deep litter' method of chicken care and that recquires a solid floor. Anthony and I argued about the floor design. He wanted to build the big drawers underneath a hardware wire cloth floor. That way the chicken poop will fall though the flooring into the drawers which can be pulled out from either side for cleaning. The 'deep litter' method uses the natural abilities of chicken poop and wood shavings to neutralize each other and act as a warm and fly free floor. They claim it actually helps to keep the fly population down and has anti-coccidiosis properties. Coccidiosis is what makes chickens sick from their own poop.

I let Anthony win the argument for several reasons. 1. He has had much more personal experience caring for chickens than I have. 2. He IS a professional builder, after all. And 3. I figure I can always put solid flooring in myself later on if I want. If the floor design continues to keep my up at night, I'll be looking for some flooring!

For a great article about the deep litter method see here: http://www.plamondon.com/faq_deep_litter.html


Thursday, July 1, 2010: The chicks were not happy to have to go to their new bedroom tonight. Randy had to help me get them up the ladder and into the coop imitation brooder. Then Horrors of Horrors!!!! The brooder wall fell over and their entire world turned upside down! They cried like big babies until I figured out what happened and fixed the wall.

Here they are finally all content and ready to go nite-nite:


Last night was the chicks first night sleeping in the coop. We tested the coop for two nights before letting them sleep in there. The first night we set a bowl of canned dogfood in the coop to see if anything would try to get to it. In the morning we found no trace of an animal trying to find a way into the coop. The second night we slept in the coop while the chicks slept in the run just outside of the open chicken door. No animals tried to eat us. The coop must be ready! LOL! Actually, it was fun! I cleaned the coop really good (even vacuumed it), we set a thick tarp on the wire floor, then our camp air matress on that. Threw in some sheets, pillows, a blanket and a bottle of wine and it was awesome camping time! The dogs stayed near by and the chicks didn't peep all night. They were funny though, they would not settle down until I lifted each bird and set him in the round wall I set in the run to imitate their brooder. Last night they finally got to sleep in the coop but they would not go into it on their own, even though I had put them in the coop earlier in the day to get them used to it. The birds all ran into their cat carrier, so I taook them in through the people door and set each on into the imitation brooder. I reckon I will just leave the imitation brooder in the coop until they all start to sleep outside of it.


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