When we moved back to Oregon in 1995, we soon started raising free-range chickens. There was little information on free-range poultry back then, and most of it was wrong. I embarked on a literature survey of the past 100 years, to find out what ideas and techniques worked and what didn’t. We put the more likely ones into practice, and also wrote them up here on Plamondon.com.
Coccidiosis, also called “bloody diarrhea” (eww!) is one of the few poultry diseases that give most chicken owners trouble, at least once in a while. It’s caused by coccidia, protozoan parasites with a complex life cycle: part of their life is spent inside the chicken and part of it is spent outside. The infographic shows the cycle and the danger points.
Let’s quickly review the three basic types of containers used for collecting eggs: wire egg baskets, galvanized buckets, and plastic buckets, and why you’re probably using the wrong one.
You could probably find something worse than a plastic bucket, but I don’t know what it would be.
Sad to say, brooding baby chicks with heat lamps presents a fire hazard. How much of a fire hazard? That’s up to you. Here are tips for dialing down the risk.
1. Avoid self-disassembling clamp lights.
Cheap clamp lights are exactly wrong for brooder lights. The clamps are weak, the screw holding the swivel together tends to come undone, the sockets aren’t rated for 250-watt heat lamps, they don’t have heavy-duty cords … they’re an accident waiting to happen. Stay away.
You can read about chicken coop design in a lot of places, but what does everyone fail to mention? Here are three chicken coop design concepts that have been pretty much forgotten:
1. Accessibility: If the chicken coop not tall enough to walk around in, it needs to be small enough that you can reach everything from outside
Many chicken coops violate this rule. In some of them, such as the pasture pen designs of Joel Salatin, you end up crawling across chicken poop on your hands and knees if you need to get at things in the back corners. In others, there’s simply no access at all!