Looking after Chooks in the Wet
With a wet Spring over here on the East Coast and still more to come…. we face flock challenges!
A clean dry coop and run = happy, healthy chooks
A wet soggy run is both difficult for our chooks and us to move around in but more importantly can lead to health problems, harbor parasites and mould.
- Chooks like to be outside though not in the rain. It is important to have an open shelter that chooks can hang around in when it is raining. Make it big enough to fit all of your flock, a feeder as well as a dust bath, a hanging basket for greens and space for a cabbage ball.
- It is not good for chooks to spend all day in their night coop.
- They may spend a bit more time there than usual so managing your ‘Deep Litter’, maintaining a good biome or removing poop on a regular basis is important.
UP & OUT OF THE MUD
- Wooden packing pallets are a great way to get chooks off the ground and out of the mud. Have one or two of these in their ‘open shelter’.
- Wood chips are terrific to put down in high traffic wet areas. They are cheep! and often free. We have a stash of dry wood chips in feed bags in the shed to drag out as needed. They make it easier for both our chooks and us to move around safely. Wood chips are preferable to straw because they drain and dry faster and are less likely to go mouldy.
- Watch for mould in wet areas – sprinkle ground with Ag lime then cover with wood shavings or other dry material
MAKE A DUST BATH
- Because there are no natural dry areas for chooks to dust bath you will need to make one. Use a large shallow tub, a child’s shell pool, or anything large enough for them to fluff around in. Pop some dry dirt, dry sand and Diatomaceous Earth in there. Top up and replace as needed.
- Mites can really get a hold quickly in warm, wet weather. Do weekly checks on each bird for mites, lice and scaly leg and treat accordingly.
- If you have birds with feathered feet you may need to wash their feet to remove mud.
- Wet coops and dirty waterers pose a huge threat to young chicks. They are at high risk of coccidiosis, an intestinal parasite passed on through poop. It is very important to keep their area dry, avoid poop getting into their food and water and regularly clean containers.
FEED & WATER
- Keep feed fresh, dry and out of the rain. It is very important that there is no mouldy feed around. Hang greens so that they don’t get trampled into the mud and poop. A wire hanging planter basket is ideal!
- Like all creatures, chooks can get a bit stir-crazy on long wet days. Dangle a cabbage ball for green pick and to alleviate boredom.
- Clean waterers regularly
- Maintain a high quality feed of around 17-18% protein, grit and calcium. Remember to dry and crush your eggshells to feed back to your chooks. Let your flock self select from a separate feed tin.
- Keep Super Mash up to your flock on a regular basis to help prevent parasites and provide nutrients to boost and vitalise your chooks.
As a chicken mites treatment sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on the coop floor, in nesting boxes and dust bathing areas.
Care should be taken to avoid getting DE dust into your lungs or eyes. When handling protect yourself with goggles and a face mask.
More info on DE here
Provide your flock with a monthly supplement of Super Mash containing garlic and sulphur as a chicken mites treatment. It is a great preventative because mites are repelled by the garlic and sulphur.
More info on SUPER MASH here
So keep Super Mash up to your chooks because prevention is the best medicine!
Find out more, order online and check for a Super Mash outlet near you at https://naturalchickenhealth.com.au/
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