Hens, patios and dogs ???

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
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Elizabeth
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Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143384Post Elizabeth
Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:48 pm

Our garden is all stone slabs.

I would really like a couple of hens. We have an area of 6x8 foot which could be dedicated to the hens run with a hen house sitting on top.

We'd make the house and run fox proof.

It is only a small garden and we have two dogs. They would be able to 'sniff' through the fence! (I could double fence the run).

My questions are.....

Is 6x8ft too small?
Are they ok on stone slabs?
Would having two dogs close by be too stressful for the hens?
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Clara
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143386Post Clara
Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:29 pm

That is pretty small, but of course many hens spend their time in smaller spaces. However a hen's natural inclination is to scratch the earth for food and I think to deprive them of the ability to do that (even if they don't actually get food by doing it they are naturally programmed to scratch around), is not ethical. They also need to be able to dust bath.

Could you take up some of the slabs under the run?

I don't think having the dogs around would be stressful as long as you are very firm with the dogs that they are not to harass the ladies!
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143397Post Shirley
Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:37 pm

I'd say the same as Clara - we've got one dog and we often have friends come over with their dogs and they don't really take much notice of the chooks. I know of a lot of people with chooks and dogs and no problems. I guess it depends on the dogs, and how well trained they are. My dog is so obedient (as I'm sure anyone who has visited will testify HAHAHAHA) that she ignores my call if someone has come to visit, but will never chase after the chooks. She does like to wind the gander up though.
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143420Post red
Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:05 pm

given a chance - hens eat a lot of grass. so if you could get grass in there. that would be better
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143427Post contadina
Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:01 pm

We have three dogs and they happily live with the hens around. As others have suggested lifting the slabs for the run would be preferable - it wouldn't be fun scratching around on concrete. If you are feeling really bold I'd lift all the slabs up and then you could give them two areas to peck about in, giving the ground time to rest in whilst the other was in use.

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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143428Post oldfella
Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:05 pm

Our chooks at one time had full range of the garden and our 2 dogs and 2 cats with the Cock and 5 hens used to wander around and complete for the tidbits the grand kids had to offer and on some occasions the pigeons joined the group. It was not something we planned but just developed over time, the dogs came as pups and the cats came as kittens, so when they stalked the chooks, Mr Cock would soon put them in their place.
Why not put a few planks around the run and put down some earth and gravel for them to scratch in, 6ins would do the trick, and they would happy little chooks;
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143434Post moocher
Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:46 pm

put a armful of straw down to satisfy their scratching needs.

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Elizabeth
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143435Post Elizabeth
Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:49 pm

Why not put a few planks around the run and put down some earth and gravel for them to scratch in, 6ins would do the trick, and they would happy little chooks
We'd certainly give them things to scratch in. wooden floor/big deep crates. We couldn't give them grass as the area is just not big enough, the'yd scratch it up before it could re-grow.

Unfortunately we could't lift any of the slabs.
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143677Post jampot
Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:02 pm

Elizabeth wrote:

Would having two dogs close by be too stressful for the hens?
we have two jack russels (supposed to hate chucks) and the chickens beat them up on a regular basis :mrgreen: and hav seen of a neighbours cat once aswell, chucks are tuogher than people give them credit for :thumbleft:
AAARRGHH its behind you!!!

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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143699Post evelyn
Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:02 am

I am sorry if this makes me unpopular but i feel very strongly.

Chickens are a woodland bird and therefor there natural behaviour is to scrath for food, ok not many of us live in a wood and we feed our birds. But they still need to do natural behaviour otherwise what is the point.

Keeping chuks on flag stone, never! you may as well go buy batt eggs, for me it is the same thing, free range for me is not just having a bit of space it is living in as natural environment as possible.

Please rethink getting chuks untill you can give them a natural happy life.

Eve

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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143714Post Elizabeth
Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:34 pm

Do you eat your chickens Evelyn?
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143722Post evelyn
Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:43 pm

Elizabeth wrote:Do you eat your chickens Evelyn?
No, they are happly laying eggs for me, and roming round the garden.
When they go off lay finaly, they will spend the rest of there days as pets, i live on a housing estate and killing animals is not alowed.

Besides they will have looked after me so the least i can do is look after them in there retirment.

If i was planning on eating them i would still want to keep them in as natural environment as possible.

Eve

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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143867Post Thomzo
Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:23 pm

Well, I might make myself unpopular here but if they are ex-bats I'd say that they'll be alright. My two ex bats are in an area of about the same size. Free range birds need 2.5 sq metres each and you have about 4sqm so you are not far off.

Can you add some height in the run? If it's high enough try giving them some branches or planks to jump up on to and play around. A few large stones around the edge not only help to keep the dogs out but will also provide places for insects to live which will entertain your chooks. Finally, make sure they have some shade. Chooks like to sunbathe sometimes but are woodland birds so like to take shelter from the hottest sun.

My ordinary hens are in a shed with a concrete floor. They also have access to an outside run but, if the weather is bad, they quite happily chose to stay in. I put lots of bedding down for them. Everything from shredded paper, leaves in autumn, straw, wood shavings and all sorts of garden prunings. You probably ought to provide a box with earth in it for them to dust bath but be prepared to change it daily as it will get full of water and poo and they will spread it all around the run.

One of the good things about a solid floor is that you can shovel all the muck out really easily and give the area a good wash once in a while. If you keep the girls on the same piece of ground for a long time it can become a haven for pests and disease.

Finally, if they can't scratch in earth make sure you give them grit to eat. A mixed grit from your feed supplier will be ideal.

Go for it.

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Elizabeth
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143875Post Elizabeth
Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:03 pm

Thanks Zoe.
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Re: Hens, patios and dogs ???

Post: # 143935Post evelyn
Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:09 pm

Do i have the wrong end of the stick?

I to keep the coup on a hard standing for easy cleaning, if that is what you are planning on doing it is the best idea as it can be swept and washed down so your ladies have less risk of catching nasty bugs.

I thought you were saying that they would be on a hard serfice all the time.

Eve

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