Cooped up chickens. Do they have to come out?

Every chicken owner I know has had at least one day when they just couldn't let the chickens out for some reason. Life happens. Is it a problem if the chickens are in their coop all day? Or will something bad happen to them? Well, that answer depends on the coop.

Chickens coming out of a coop on a ladder

I'm sure you've noticed that in bad weather your chickens choose to stay in their coop all day anyway. Of course making a choice and not giving an option are two different things completely, right? Especially if the feed or water are outside! 

So the question is, is it safe to not let the chickens out? The answer is: if your coop has light, space and food/water then you're good to go.

How to quarantine new chickens

I'm sure by now you've heard to quarantine new chickens before adding them to your existing flock, but what does that mean? How do you quarantine a chicken? Well, it's not unlike the stuff we've been doing with ourselves lately! lol You need to keep them away from the other chickens for a few weeks to make sure they don't have anything contagious.

Chicken in quarantine

Why quarantine chickens?

There are many diseases and parasites that chickens can have that aren't always visible immediately. Plus if you bought your new chickens at a poultry swap or farmers auction you have no way of knowing what they were exposed to at their previous home, or while out in public!

Because of the uncertainty of them being infected with anything, they'll need quarantined to protect your flock...and to give you time to get them healthy before moving them into the chicken coop.

Luckily the quarantine area doesn't have to be anything elaborate. A simple dog crate or large pet carrier will often do, or even a small bathroom that's rarely used. If you use a cage make sure it is somewhere the other chickens can't get inside a garage or shed. 

You'll can use a small coop if it's far enough away from your current flock of chickens.

What does Freezer Camp mean?

I was discussing chickens with a friend other day and I made a comment about a few extra roosters that need to go to freezer camp. Well, even though this person has been around chickens quite a while, she was baffled by what I had said and she asked me...

Chicken going to freezer camp

What is freezer camp?

That's a legitimate question. I mean, I hadn't heard of it for most of my life! I think we sometimes use certain phrases to either be funny or to soften the blow of what they really mean. In this case freezer camp sounds a whole lot better than what I had to tell her I was going to do with these chickens.

Dried grass as coop bedding

I often experiment with various types of bedding in my chicken coops. I prefer wood shavings simply because they're convenient to buy and easy to store before use, but I have been known to use leaves, hay, straw and even shredded newspaper in my coops. Three years ago I decided to find uses for grass clippings and chicken coop bedding was one of the options I discovered. 

Dried grass on floor of chicken coop

Unfortunately you can't just cut the grass and dump it in the coop. It'll get moldy. You can dump fresh cut grass in the run for the chickens to dig through and they will love it! It needs to be outside where it's exposed to good air flow to help it dry out though. 

There's not enough air flow inside a chicken coop, so to use it as bedding it needs dried out first. It's not like it's a difficult process, it just takes time and a dry, hot day.

Grapes, chocolate and chickens

Earlier this week I was discussing chickens with a friend of mine and foods that chickens can't eat came up. Chocolate was mentioned and she said 'Oh just like dogs?' and then I said "Yes but unlike dogs, chickens can have grapes". Which led to quite the in-depth conversation about: Why?

Chicken eating grapes

It seems rather weird that some things that we know are poisonous to dogs and cats, like grapes and raisins, are not poisonous to chickens. Other things that are poisonous to dogs, like chocolate, are poisonous to chickens.

So I thought I'd break it down for you exactly how that works and why?