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Keeping Chickens Newsletter

Page 15

Keeping Chickens Newsletter

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January 2009

Chris Berni : I will be a rookie chicken guy this spring. I do plan on building a 4'x4' coop 4 foot high. Can I house 6 laying hens? I will have a fenced in run (top, too) that is 25' or 30'. Sound okay? Chris

My Reply : A general guide for floorspace of a coop house is a minimum of 2 square feet per bird and for run space if there is an attached run the minimum would be 3 square feet per bird, but you could easily double those figures for a more comfortable living area for them if you have the room (some people prefer the guidelines of 4 square feet per bird housing and 10 square feet per bird for run space). Although chickens enjoy perching they don't physically need a great deal of height, but it can greatly affect the comfort and convenience of the person caring for them and cleaning the coop etc. so access may be the main consideration when deciding on the height of the coop.

Charlotte : Gina, My peeps are able to free range on the weekends when we are home to watch them due to hawks, foxes and a bear that keeps trying to get in at them at night. When I walk up to them they will stomp their feet three or four times and then squat down so that we can "pet" them. They will stay like that until we stand up then they walk away. My question is, why do they stomp? I really enjoy your newsletter. We had chickens when I was growing up, but there are a lot of things I don't remember and you are a great help.

My Reply : I don't know if this is the same as your stomping but if they are kind of squatting down submissively to be petted (and especially if they ruffle their feathers and seem to enjoy it) then they are probably thinking of you as their rooster ;-)

Lee Gautier : I do have a big question. A few days ago we rescued 4 young hens (I think they are New Hampshire Reds). They are beautiful healthy birds and are blending nicely into our flock of 5 other rescued chickens. One of the new hens has deformed toes with extra long nails. Can these nails be clipped? We clip our dogs' nails so have an understanding of the process so as not to cause bleeding if clipped too close.

My Reply : You can clip their toenails in the same way as a dogs - if very new and timid it may be better to let her settle in a bit before too much handling though.

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Keeping Chickens Newsletter - Published January 2009 by