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Early night chooks

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Is it normal for chooks to have an early night. One of mine went to bed at 5:30pm (i'm in the UK) so it's pretty light here. I only have two hens, the other followed her in to the hen house nd none have come back out. One is ex battery and the other is one i've had since chick. 

 

It's never happened before. Just wondering if this is normal behaviour? Thanks

post #2 of 9

That's what, about 2 hrs or so before sunset in your neck of the woods? I'd say that's pretty early. Mine sometimes go in early if it's exceptionally windy or bad weather but they're pretty consistent about going in just before dark on regular days. I'm pretty new at raising chickens so other than bad weather I don't know any other reason why they might do that. Maybe she was up late last night watching Benny Hill and was tired?  

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejcrist View Post
 

That's what, about 2 hrs or so before sunset in your neck of the woods? I'd say that's pretty early. Mine sometimes go in early if it's exceptionally windy or bad weather but they're pretty consistent about going in just before dark on regular days. I'm pretty new at raising chickens so other than bad weather I don't know any other reason why they might do that. Maybe she was up late last night watching Benny Hill and was tired?  

:-D

The weather suddenly went cold yesterday and snowed. Today it rained but nothing major. I was a little worried about about Dolly tonight (my ex battery). Normally she'd coming running for her tea but she didn't. She was a little slow, tired, tucking herself in to her chest then falling asleep instantly! Olive, my other mixed hen had a few nibbles but then off she went with Dolly to bed. She's absolutely fine though.

Maybe Olive sense something is wrong?

post #4 of 9

It's possible the weather could've been a factor. Since you only have the two I'd think the likelihood of disease or sickness would be low. Are your girls laying yet? It doesn't sound like any of the symptoms I've read about for being egg bound or anything. Like I said though I'm very limited in chickenin' experience so hopefully someone who's been doing it for a while can chime in. I'd just keep an eye on her and see how she's doing tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will clear up so you have an apples to apples comparison. When I used to live on the east coast bad weather would give me the aches and get me down too so hopefully that's all it is with your girls.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply.

 

Both my girls are laying. Dolly is ex battery but for the last 3days she has layed soft shelled eggs. I feed my girls layers pellets with the odd crushed shells in with their feed and spinach chopped 2 or 3 days a week.

post #6 of 9

Ok, gotcha. I had to look up what "ex-battery" meant. I thought maybe they ran on a treadmill or something to charge a battery - goes to show how much  know about chickens, huh? Drawing from my book-only knowledge, soft shelled eggs is a calcium issue but it sounds like you're taking care of that by including the crushed shells and giving her layer feed. I wonder if you made crushed oyster shell in a bowl available if that would help. I'm just guessing maybe she's not getting enough calcium. But since you're giving her layer feed I believe it should have enough calcium in it. I'm looking at my copy of the Chicken Health Handbook and it says thin shells happen due to excess magnesium or deficient potassium or vitamin D. For "soft" shells it says deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. I looked into the magnesium content of spinach and apparently it's very high. I also looked online about feeding spinach to chickens and found it's one of the things you might avoid or at least don't give them very much. Here's one article on it: http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2014/06/the-danger-of-feeding-too-much-spinach.html. It says oxalic acid in spinach can interfere with calcium absorption, so spinach should be only an occasional treat. Another article says if you mix it with vinegar it's minimize the calcium blocking (http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2014/06/the-danger-of-feeding-too-much-spinach.html). And I'm guessing the interference of calcium absorption might be what's causing the thin shelled eggs. As I said, I'm the farthest thing from an experienced chicken farmer so I don't know for sure if that's the case but I'd try cutting out the spinach for a day or so and see how she does. 

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well this morning Dolly is up and about doing fine. Maybe she was just tired yesterday...we all have those days ;-)

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelebek1977 View Post
 

Well this morning Dolly is up and about doing fine. Maybe she was just tired yesterday...we all have those days ;-)

Oh ok, good. That's good to hear. Glad to hear she's doing better. I'd still consider cutting back or cutting out the spinach though. I'm aware there's some things you should avoid feeding chickens such as onions but I didn't know spinach was on the list too. Apparently it's not an absolute no-no but if the books are correct it could be the cause of Dolly's soft egg shells so I'd probably switch to something else with less magnesium like cabbage. I hang a cabbage in my run about once a week and the gals absolutely love it. I also give them greens from the vegetable garden that have bolted and they love those too. I hope she continues to do well and I'm glad you posted on here about it or I never would've known the facts about spinach and the possible causes of thin shelled eggs. If you don't mind I'd like it if you could keep me posted via pm or here on the thread about Dolly's soft shelled egg issue. I'd like to know how that turns out and if there's anything you did to correct the issue.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejcrist View Post
 

Oh ok, good. That's good to hear. Glad to hear she's doing better. I'd still consider cutting back or cutting out the spinach though. I'm aware there's some things you should avoid feeding chickens such as onions but I didn't know spinach was on the list too. Apparently it's not an absolute no-no but if the books are correct it could be the cause of Dolly's soft egg shells so I'd probably switch to something else with less magnesium like cabbage. I hang a cabbage in my run about once a week and the gals absolutely love it. I also give them greens from the vegetable garden that have bolted and they love those too. I hope she continues to do well and I'm glad you posted on here about it or I never would've known the facts about spinach and the possible causes of thin shelled eggs. If you don't mind I'd like it if you could keep me posted via pm or here on the thread about Dolly's soft shelled egg issue. I'd like to know how that turns out and if there's anything you did to correct the issue.

Thank you, yes i'll keep you updated no problem. I didn't know about the spinach, I actually thought it was one of the best greens to supply. I've given it to all my hens and not had problems with soft shelled eggs previously but i'll stop providing it and see what happens to Dolly's eggs. I'll let you know.

I get most of the treat information from this link

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-treat-chart-the-best-treats-for-backyard-chickens

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