Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Data Collection III: Interview with Mrs. Fox

24 Hour Collection: Live Streaming- Chicken interaction/ Koi Fish ain't got nuttin' on my Hens!

A camera with 24 hour surveillance of the chickens has been set up. The equipment is located on the North Side of the coop.  Attached are 2 pictures  1: The computer displaying the live streaming  2. The camera and it's location. For security purposes I am not able to attach the link, user name and password to the blog- it's attached to my computer and all my information can be stolen. If you would like to view the 24 hour chicken video please e-mail me: and I will give you the link information. Best Regards!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lice, Mites and Worms... OH MY!!! Collection I- A

Off with their Heads! Collection I- B

Since this is the first time I have raised chickens the idea of lice, mites and worms did not occur to me until this summer '11.  I volunteered at Los Poblanos Lavender Farm at the end of May and June. LP has many livestock animals (Goats, Cow, 100 chickens, dogs, cats). The lady that runs the Livestock area was placing a powder on the ground for the chickens. She said its necessary to place DE (Diatomaceous earth) on the ground 1 time a month for the PREVENTION of Lice, Mites and Worms.

I placed the DE on the ground and thought that was enough Oh, how I was wrong!! I did not know that I had lice until finding the small grain like creatures on the eggs about 2 weeks ago (Discovered In the Sleeping Quarters, hence the reason for wanting the Hens to lay in the Nesting Boxes). Again DE is for the Prevention, if you have noticeable lice or mites a different action is required- Poultry Dusting. Once I noticed the lice I then started noticing the hens were scratching like crazy and also Sweetie's neck was almost bald. I originally thought the baldness was from molting; however I was then starting to piece it all together the reason she was bald on the neck was due to scratching. This is also I believe the main reason her egg production came to a hault. This also could have been the reason Cha Cha died. 

The steps below are as follows: I repeated the steps again yesterday to make sure the hens are safe and healthy.

Step 1: Throw out all bedding (cedar chips, feces)
Step 2: Rake all debris and feces from the ground
Step 3: Fill up a bucket with warm water, a small dose of soap, you will need a sponge to scrub the wood floor of the coop and nesting boxes
Step 4: Allow the nesting area and coop area to dry about 30 minutes
Step 5: Replace all the bedding with fresh cedar chips. Sprinkle DE all over the bedding area, not the nesting boxes and on the ground.
Step 6: Put on old clothing, place a mask over your mouth, put on gloves- you will need all this on in order to dust the hens. The dusting powder is toxic and harmful to humans.
Step 7: In the evening once the Hens become the Poultry Dusting powder in a sock about 1/4 cup will be fine. Lightly dust the hen from head to toe. Also place the powder under the wings and around the vent area. The hens will not like the dusting powder and  might try to fly away but it's absolutely necessary to dust the entire flock. If 1 hen has lice, mites or worms chances are they all will become infected.

-I did notice a difference in the hens the following day. They were not scratching or plucking at their feathers.

-In the 2 weeks following the treatment I have also noticed the feathers on Sweetie's neck is starting to grow back. Last week I noticed an enormous amount of red feathers on the ground. I don't know if she is now molting like I had thought before or this is from the lice and mites.  She has  lost her tail feathers however, she has gained at least a couple of pounds and looks better than she has looked in months!  I am hoping in the next few weeks she lays and egg. I noticed yesterday she was sitting in the nesting box. Have never noticed her in the boxes before now.

**I am going to post pictures of all the items you will need in order to dust the hens.

Peek A boo, I don't see you! Collection II- A

Stop Clucking and Start Layin'! Collection II-B

We created nesting boxes shortly after finishing the coop back in November '10. Sweetie started laying eggs the day after her sister Cha Cha died in January '11, weird right? Sweetie has never used the nesting boxes, always laid in the main sleeping quarters. Sweetie hasn't laid in quite sometime (3.5 months I have a theory- the subject of  Lice which will also be my next post!!)   Monkey see, monkey do- did not adhere to the principal of egg laying. So it's determined it was instinctual/ survival more than mimicking behavior.

About 1.5 months ago when Peanut and Billie Holiday started laying they did exactly as Sweetie had done- in the main coop/sleeping quarters!   I researched on how to  encourage your hens to lay in the nesting boxes, they suggested golf balls. I did as the article stated, nope did not work gave the golf ball idea 2 weeks.

 Last week Rock and I decided to enclose the nesting boxes by placing coyote fencing around the side of the nesting box that is exposed to the yard and along the front of the nesting boxes.. perhaps they have been scared to lay because the dogs are in sight- Natural Selection?? We also placed a board on the top of the coop so they hens very enclosed and safe like the sleeping quarter environment . During the day I have been boarding up the sleeping quarters to distract the hens and to encourage the girls to start laying in the boxes instead.  I remove the boards at night so the hens can rest peacefully by either roosting or sitting inside the coop. I am pleased to say the idea of enclosing the nesting boxes Worked!!! The chickens have been laying for the past 5 days!! This morning I decided to leave the main coop open as an experiment to see which one they choose.. came home today and there were 2 eggs in the nesting box zero in the main sleeping quarters!!! I know it all sounds silly, but in terms of sanitation hens tend to keep the nesting boxes much cleaner than the sleeping quarters.  Therefore less chances of eggs getting exposed to toxins and also the eggs were getting stepped on and  Hens can become more broody if they lay and sleep in the same area.  Mission Nesting Boxes Accomplished!