Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Hen house clean up  (Read 4700 times)

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Hen house clean up
« on: July 11, 2015, 09:42:36 am »
We have inherited a wooden hen house. It is more of a hen complex! It has two wooden sheds with nesting boxes at each end with a securely fenced ( roofed area) area on concrete joining the two and the whole stands in a small paddock. Each shed has sliding ventilation doors and windows. It has not been used for about 18 months. It would hold 12 - 16 birds. It has poop hole access to the paddock. It is clean and well maintained.
My question. As a novice it is obvious that red mite would think this heaven. I could never afford anything  else so solid and fox proof and obviously want to use it. The vendor reassured me that there never was a mite problem but i want to blitz it before introducing any birds. The roof is felted so I may just be stuck with that until i can afford to replace it but what advice would you give for doing the best clean out I can?

clydesdaleclopper

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 09:47:30 am »
Start by pressure washing it, then treat with some form of mite killing solution. leave it for a week then repeat the mite killing solution. Maybe do it once more again and you should get all stages of the life cycle of the mites killed off. Personally I would pull off the felt to check as if it is crawling with mite underneath you will never be ale to kill them without taking it off.
Our holding has Anglo Nubian and British Toggenburg goats, Gotland sheep, Franconian Geese, Blue Swedish ducks, a whole load of mongrel hens and two semi-feral children.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 10:16:24 am »
I read recently that a coop unoccupied for over 32 weeks will not have red mite in it. In my experience mite only get under the felt of low roofed coops and then only if there is no space left anywhere else. They try to nest as close to their hosts as possible. So I would leave the felt in place and treat as Clydesdaleclopper suggests, but would simply use a solution of Poultry Shield disinfectant.


My preference now for red mite treatment is a steamer. It kills the mites but leaves no chemical residue which would stop ants from helping you. We do remove and check the perches of all the coops every morning to spot any problems before they can take hold. So it will help if you can remove the perches Ghdp, even if that means modification before chickens are introduced.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2015, 12:47:53 pm »
If there are still mites in there, then after 18 months they're going to be ravenous  :o.  Your hens would be eaten alive, so treating as you intend to do is a good idea.

Our tool of choice is the weed wand, which burns any mites from all the cracks and crevices, with a wonderful and satisfying sizzle.  I've not used my steamer in the henhouse yet, but it should work as well.  The steamer will leave the house wet, and the weed wand (or blow torch) has the risk of setting the place on fire - interesting  :tired:

To check there really are none left when your hens go in, at night run your hand along a perch, all sides, and see if it comes away red (from mites which have fed) or there are mites running up your arm - the hungry ones.

As a last resort we use Creosote, liberally applied and getting into every nook and cranny, but it's a chemical which has to dry for ages before you can put your hens in.  We have had no luck at all with anti-mite products in the house.
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chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2015, 01:39:19 pm »
We use a steamer with a very fine nozzle and run it along all the weatherboarding joints and the framework. It penetrates effectively, killing the eggs and mites that hide up inside the joint, a place that no amount of creosote will reach unless the coop is turned upside down- not easy unless it can be dismantled. We've just treated two coops with complete success and it doesn't leave the wood as wet as you would expect. It will be dry enough for the birds in a few hours with the doors and vents left open, but obviously you need to choose good weather. A steamer can't be used in a small coop because the steam obstructs all vision -either the coop is tall enough to stand in or the roof needs to come off.

Stereo

  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2015, 02:15:06 pm »
Any links to said steamer Chris? What is it? I need one I can use out in the field.

As it is I use Poultry Shield and Diatom. Keeps them back but doesn't obliterate them. I like the idea of steam as we aim to compost the litter in the house so don't really want too many chemicals dripping into it. I would imagine on a good hot day, it would dry out in no time?

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2015, 02:58:34 pm »
It's a Morphy Richards MR70455 Compact Steam Cleaner Stereo. Probably long since obsolete because we bought a factory reconditioned unit in 2011 for 29. The problem we have is the power consumption, which on startup is 2.15KW and too much for our generator. But if the water is pre-boiled in the kettle in the house the consumption is 1.8KW and our generator could deliver that (Honda EU2.0).


We now have our coops within 50 metres of a power socket. Does a 12 bird coop on one fill of a litre and just half a litre on the 4 bird units.

Kimbo

  • Joined Feb 2015
  • Anglezarke, Lancashire
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2015, 04:08:07 pm »
I love that idea. must get one
Is it time to retire yet?

mentalmilly

  • Joined Nov 2012
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2015, 05:09:43 pm »
Creosote the real stuff, not had mites for 2 years now.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2015, 05:52:45 pm »
We had red mite blowing in off commercial poultry shed muck left on an adjacent field ready for muckspreading.  Coop was pressure washed, dried, creosoted and left empty for nine months.  Still had red mite!  Raid works but you need to spray it everywhere and wear a mask.  I'd certainly remove the roof felt from your setup as it's red mite Heaven.  If the area is fairly sheltered creosoted ply or a tarpaulin would do for now.

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2015, 10:41:52 pm »
Thanks all. I have a steamer so that could be a good place to start and then try the three weeks of spraying with mite solution. I will keep you posted. :fc:

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2015, 05:46:23 pm »
Well i steamed, dismantled, sprayed and should have bought shares in Poultry sheild and now we have picked up our small flock of POL hybrids. A motley crew;  two black tails, a Warren, a barred something or other and a leghorn/ Aracuna ( is that how you spell it??) that is plug ugly - butseems to have lots of character with blue eggs as a bonus. Thanks for all the tips.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2015, 09:56:46 am »
It's Araucana.  Likely to be flighty if crossed with a Leghorn but a good layer.  Good luck but don't expect the Warren to live for very long - they lay their socks off for about 18 months but aren't noted for longevity.  I check for red mite by regularly giving the roosting pole, coop door and other bits a good hard knock - after a few seconds the mites will appear in a panic.  If the hens are reluctant to go in to roost as dusk falls red mite is probably the reason why.

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Hen house clean up
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2015, 12:54:31 pm »
Thanks MF. Door slamming and perch banging will be on the agenda then.

 

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