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Hello! My family has had chickens for at least six years, but I still consider myself a beginner. I'm trying to educate myself, so that our chickens can have as good a life as we can give them.

I have a question, how often should I be cleaning their coop? They have perches. Eight chickens, in a pretty good-sized room ... wish I had taken measurements now ... but in general, what's a good rule to go by?

How can I prevent inward laying? I lost a few hens this year to that ... they are getting older and I've read that can contribute. We have started really getting on the ball about deworming them. They get oyster shells, good layer grain.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to learning on here, for sure! :D
 

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Hello and Welcome! Sorry I didn't see your post earlier.

As for your questions. Cleaning out the coop all depends on your litter method. I do deep litter which only get cleaned twice a year. Some people use sand and clean it up daily. Basically clean as you feel necessary. Coop size generally runs at about 3 sq ft per bird in the coop and about 10 sq ft per bird in the run unless you free range. As for being egg bound here is a link http://www.keepingchickensnewsletter.com/site/egg-bound-chicken-symptoms-and-treatment I personally have not come across this.
 

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How can I prevent inward laying? I lost a few hens this year to that ... they are getting older and I've read that can contribute. We have started really getting on the ball about deworming them. They get oyster shells, good layer grain.
I do deep litter also and I never clean out the coop..just add to it.

I've also never had egg bound issues in the flock but I attribute that to judicious culling once per year of all birds that are not laying consistently.

Birds with too much fat around reproductive organs, abnormal ovulation, age or fat related prolapse, etc. and certain breeds are prone to it more than others(Buff Orps are some of the most prone, from all the reports I've noted).

The wrong breeds, too little exercise and too much feed, keeping birds past their peak laying life, etc. can all lead to repeated occurrences in your flock of laying issues.
 

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So it is probably their age? They do have a pasture, they graze and roam so they do get exercise, and I don't think they're too fat ... :( Looks like it's time for a new flock. Knew it was coming as their eggs were starting to get strange.

Thank you all for your replies! What breed have you found to be hardiest/most pleasant to work with?
 

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So it is probably their age? They do have a pasture, they graze and roam so they do get exercise, and I don't think they're too fat ... :( Looks like it's time for a new flock. Knew it was coming as their eggs were starting to get strange.

Thank you all for your replies! What breed have you found to be hardiest/most pleasant to work with?
In my personal experience I found my Barred rocks to be the hardiest, lays the best, and have a decent amount of meat on them. I assume all Plymouth Rock colors will perform the same, I just like the barred best.
 

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Yep, got Barred and Partridge rocks here and I really like them for all the reasons stated above. I use straw in our coop and clean it out whenever it gets too wet to dry itself out. Usually this takes a month or so but in the spring we get a LOT of mud and I'm lucky to make it last a week. SIGH.
 

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I also do deep litter. I clean twice a year (or so) This spring I was late so I only am cleaning in the food and water areas. Some people do not put food and water in the coop, this can make the litter last longer. Te important thing with deep litter is to keep it stirred up and get a good bio-ecology going so it breaks down to compost. However, it must be kept dry and have a good air flow so you don't get mold or ammonia.

I have learned I do not like the "production" crosses they are putting out now. They "burn out" too quick and I don't think they are that hardy. I prefer Australorps and RIRs as good duel purpose birds. I have some Ameraucanas and many EEs. (I have 2 nice Ameraucana Roos and a EE roo) that I really like too. I have other breeds but I only have a couple at a time so I haven't seen allot of how they do as a breed in general.
Yes, older birds tend to have more laying issues.
Hope find the answers you need.
 

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So it is probably their age? They do have a pasture, they graze and roam so they do get exercise, and I don't think they're too fat ... :( Looks like it's time for a new flock. Knew it was coming as their eggs were starting to get strange.

Thank you all for your replies! What breed have you found to be hardiest/most pleasant to work with?
You simply cannot go wrong with Black Australorps. They will outlay Barred Rocks over the years and do not burn out as early. They carry the same amount of meat as the BRs when you get around to culling old hens for stewing. They are friendly, hardy and easy keepers. They really have no downside.

If you are looking for a true dual purpose, layer and meat chicken, you can't go wrong with a White Rock. They lay like their cousins the Barred Rocks, but weigh almost twice as much, while eating the same amounts. They are hardier than the BRs and having longer laying life also. These have no downside either.

BRs are okay...but I've not been impressed overall with their laying longevity and hardiness next to those breeds mentioned above.
 

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I've had Isa's that weren't very old that became egg bound. Love the breed because the ones I had were quite friendly. But.... all mine and my neighbors became egg bound. Don't think age is the only contributor. I've got hens that are 5 years old, who may have slowed down a bit but are still laying. A hen is born with all the eggs she will produce in her lifetime. So, if you add light during the winter months, she'll run out of eggs sooner. I prefer to let them have a break and not overwork them.
I use pine shavings in my coop and try and clean under the roosts every day. Add more shavings as needed. A good cleaning twice a year. Don't like straw, it doesn't absorb the moisture or smell. Don't really care for deep litter cuz all that poop drives me crazy! :eek:
 

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Isa's are notorious for very large eggs...many of them consistently lay double yolks. That level of production and the abnormal ovulation, plus the size of the eggs, can all lead to egg laying issues....in that breed a bird doesn't have to be old to have them.

Same with hatchery BOs...they usually don't even live to be "old" because of their early and frequent laying issues.
 

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LOL.... If you have BRs and add Australorps and white rocks..... you could have an all black and white flock!
 
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