Chickens Fresh manure and Bad dog

citytransplantJanuary 31, 2010

Finally got our 6 chickens and 1 rooster. Next day our very gentle, loving dog attacked a loose chicken and made us realize that our dreams of free ranging our chickens were over (at least for the forseeable future).

We also want to try (on our new, unplanted, plain ground) to grow vegetable and chickens as organically as possible.

My questions:

1) If I get fresh cow manure from my neighbor as well as the chicken coop by products, can we just put it in the chicken yard for the chickens to scratch through, eat flys and just plain party in... or is that just too nasty? Then after the chickens and nature are finished, scoop up the ah..er...compost for our future vegetable and flower gardens?

2) Since the dog rabidly goes after the chickens, who for now are kept inside a shed,not going outside at all ..boo hoo, until spring when we can (try to ) secure their yards... is there hope for the dog to settle down? Should we use an electric collar to keep him away from the fences I feel he would tear down or dig under? We really like the dog, but are seriously fearful as to what he would do with Charlie and the remaining 5 angels.

Please help

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calliope(6)

I put manures in their own pile to age, then on the garden at appropriate times. Not in their exercise area. The idea is to get it out of their territory to let nature do its thing with the area and bacteria. What you want in their area is grass if you have it. Cow poop and chicken poo with bedding will get rank and vile when it gets wet. They'll pick through it alright, and then you'll have it on your clean eggs from their feet.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 5:14PM
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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

If they were in a field with the cow, the ratio of poop to grass would be much greater and you could let them scratch it. But putting a pile in with them, as Calliope said, could get nasty.

As for the dog and the chickens, you didn't mention what kind of dog it is. I have two Briards, which are herding dogs. One of them has very very high prey drive and has killed two hens. She's done a lot of schooling, and I asked our trainer what she thought. Her advice was "never let her see a chicken again." So that dog is no longer allowed outside loose when the chickens are out. It's not too tricky, I have a strong outdoor line I can hook her to if I want to bring her outside when the chickens are out. I should also mention that the chickens' fenced run is on the other side of the barn, so the dog cannot see the chickens when she's tied out.

Sorry not to be more positive, but I know how awful it is to watch your dog grab a chicken. It's something I will do just about anything to avoid seeing again.

--Johanna

Here is a link that might be useful: My place: Busy Solitude Farm

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 6:55PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)
  1. If I get fresh cow manure from my neighbor as well as the chicken coop by products, can we just put it in the chicken yard for the chickens to scratch through, eat flys and just plain party in... or is that just too nasty? Then after the chickens and nature are finished, scoop up the ah..er...compost for our future vegetable and flower gardens?

Text generator

That's what my brother does. He a landscaper, so he's constantly bring home weeds, plants, branches. He runs it all through a 6" capacity chipper. Last week he added about 4 yards of fresh horse manure to the pile. The chickens love it.

If you keep their house clean and maybe some clean bedding outside the door, dirty feet is not an issue.

Eric

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 9:12PM
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calliope(6)

There is a big difference between leafy material (I am a horticulturist, so I have organic litter too) and manures. The pictures you just posted are of desireable material and is much the same as strawing their coop. It's what you WANT TO DO. It's not the same as old bedding and poop. This is vegetative waste. It's CLEAN. It does not contain animal waste.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 9:07AM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Why are you yelling?

How about the 4 yards of horse manure?

citytransplant,

Sorry about your chicken lose.

I put 42 wheelbarrow loads of horse manure on my raised beds. You can see in the photos, my ducks are tilling through it for bugs, grubs, worms and seed. Like I posted above, I think with clean bedding soiled feet is not an issue.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 5:06PM
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calliope(6)

I'm not yelling, eric and sorry if it came out sounding that way. It wasn't meant that way. I just looked at the OP's screen name, and realised that anyone who is very new to animals might not pick up on chicken keeping unless we were very specific in what we were saying.

My hens love, love love to pick around in poo too. It's natural for them, and I don't try to stop them and don't see a thing wrong with it. If.......you can let them out where they're not existing in it. If I move cages inside their coop and they find piles of it, mine do the same thing. Cow and horse manure is pretty clean stuff anyway. But that's a nice sized area and I had just assumed that a new chicken keeper who is going to get a very small number of them wouldn't have a set-up quite that size and having soiled bedding and manures where they don't have an area to work it off isn't not only necessary, but would be an overwhelmingly messy situation very quickly.

Nice set-up, btw.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 9:12PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

calliope,

Sorry and Thank you.
I agree, if citytrasnplant sets it up like a CAFO system it could become overwhelmingly messy.

citytransplant,
Try a deep bedding system. When ever the chicken run gets a little messy add straw, leaves, wood chips.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 1:32PM
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citytransplant

I guess I should have had a bit more detail to my plans. We have 5 chickens and one rooster, and about 3/4 of an acre of land that was corn/bean fields. The only landscaping was done by the builder and his bulldozer LOL. The soil is pure clay in spite of the many years of farming it.

I want to landscape and since I cannot free range the chickens as originally planned, I though a large sized chicken yard..maybe 12' X 25' or so with a few huge tree limbs for the gals to perch on. I figured that if I put somewhere around 5 to 10 pails of manure with the straw and dropping from the shed the chickens are in now, in a part of the yard, it would keep them busy and perhaps make some compost for the flowers.

Eric, I love your yards, but no way do I have the opportunity for yard waste like that. We are doing the deep bedding system with straw now in shed they are in, but would want to clean it out in the spring when we transfer them to the newly planned chicken home that I hope we get to build.

Calliope, I would not have the whole yard filled with poop, just a portion in the corner or middle.

I really appreciate the input, it has given me something to think about.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 6:49PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

You might look at chicken tractors. They are like a traveling chicken pen, so the chickens work over an area, then get moved to a new area when grass and dirt is worked up. Chickens get the benefit of being protected from predators, yet are out gaining the benefits of grazing, bugs, able to scratch about. You could put the tractor over the nice vegatation pile or small heaps of manure, then move the chickens on to another place when they have thoroughly worked the piles clean.

With your small number of birds, a small chicken tractor should be workable.

Sorry about the dog. Some just can't leave birds alone, so dog or birds must be protected from each other. Not sure how well built the tractor would need to be to keep the dog out.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 10:15PM
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