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My introduction, chicken owner resume, and questions about 7 week old chicks

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!  First time poster here, but not my first experience with chickens.

Wow, what a forum you have going on! Lots of information is available – almost too much. Glad I found you all!

 

My introduction:

15 years ago I got my first chickens. They were about 6 months old given to me from a neighbor. They were “tools” for insect control on my wooded lot (eradicated the tick/spider population). Egg production did not matter to me. Had them for 13 of the last 15 years. Just before my 2 year hiatus, over a 6 month period I lost 7 of my older birds all due to seemingly old age. 7 of my 18-20 birds over that 12 year period lived over 10 years, so I guess that is not too bad. Not sure…  All the “old” birds died peacefully in the coop, and all but one was at nighttime.  Once I got down to my last two, I gave them away to a local woman who is an animal lover as I was going away for a 1 month vacation who never had more than 4 birds at a time.

 

Compared to all the information here, I did things much more simple. They always had a supply of pellet food, they all got any and all table scraps and “expired” food I had around. I only had simple waters which I kept from freezing in the winter by a IR heat lamp when nighttime temps dropped below 20-25F.  They free ranged when I got home from work and on weekends, and had access to an enclosed run of 2” chicken wire. Only had two raccoon break-ins, and only lost one bird one of those times. I did lose a few to red-tail hawks when they were free ranging.  I had the best rooster ever (based on what I have read here) who was trained to fly into a cat carrier where he was put in the garage for the night to avoid annoying the neighbors in the morning. He would hop on my lap and eat any treats I would give him. He never charged me or for that matter even pecked at me. I guess I did it the “old school” way. No apple cider vinegar or garlic in the water, no electric fences, I did not supply grit, oyster shell, or incorporate hardware cloth in the run or use water nipples…..   “Water nipples???“ Really???

 

I missed my birds, and decided to get birds again. Over the last 2 months, I have rebuilt my two run areas and enlarged my “open run” from 4x16 to 15X20. They are fully enclosed (overhead as well) by 1x2” nylon coated 14 gauge wire, stapled to 2x10” which are buried 8” into the ground and have a 24” skirt of the same wire extending out from it. It was a labor of love, and it was fantastic building it side by side with my father. I would post a picture, but have to get my post count up first. This weekend, I am going to trick the place out with branches, rocks and some decking that they will be able to hide under and play around. Oh… and I now have water nipples ready to go. Yep – water nipples.

 

My current situation:

I never had chicks. I always had mature birds and “new birds” learned from the “old birds” in the flock. This time, I started with 12 chicks. What an experience. I think the most amusing is when they play “keep away” with something. Very entertaining…..  I got them the Friday before  Easter, so that makes them 7 weeks old this week. They have been out in the coop/run for about 2 weeks now.

 

My questions:

1)      1) They are still sleeping in a big pile. They are not roosting. I have the roost only about 18”  off the floor, and I know they can get on it because I have seen them get on it, but they choose to sleep in a pile on the floor. Do they have to be taught to roost? If not, when is the normal age for them to start roosting? I do not think they are cold. I am in SE PA and it is only going into the 50’s at night. The few times I did put the heat lamp on, they were on the other side of the coop from the red heat lamp far away from the heat – yep – in a pile. Seems odd to me. But again.. I am new to chicks

2)2) I have come across somewhat conflicting information on feed. I am giving them the purina Start and Grow” right now. Do I really feed them this to week 16? They have also been free ranging when I am right there with them. As you can image, they are eating everything, which brings us to ….

3)3)       Grit – since they are free ranging, they are getting it as needed and I do not need to supply anything additional. They are close to and regularly scratch and are pecking at my crushed limestone driveway, so I am assuming they are eating all the grit they need.  I am assuming that since my previously mature birds never got anything, the chicks will be fine as well

4) 4) Finally, are Cookoo Morans a ….ummm… a “not to intelligent” breed? I have two, and except for a black silky that had a vision problem and I think was too inbred, these are the two dumbest birds I have ever seen. They are the only two who can not find their way into the coop, are the last two out, never get treats because they are too slow, and they are well… just dumb compared to my other breeds. Not to mention, I made a point to handle each bird the same each day so they would be friendly. The other 10 birds are super friendly and approach me readily. The morans refuse to be handled and have disliked it from day one. Even if I have treats in hand, the morans are morons and will not eat them because they want to get away.

 

 

It is good to have birds back on the property. Tonight they should learn that if they follow behind me as I cut the grass, there will be a feast available for them. But I have little confidence that the morans will get any….

post #2 of 9

Truly enjoyed reading your post!  Welcome to BYC!

 

We had to pick up our chicks and place them on the roost (2 days) and they got on roost by themselves after that.  Probably too early for pecking order but if you can tell who is at the top of pecking order maybe just put them on roost and others will follow ... probably not your morans.  LOL

post #3 of 9
I am new here too and I do not know how to do my own post so I'll tell my little story.
Well I had a first time mama trying to care for her eggs about 2 weeks in she got eaten I have saved her eggs (waiting for them to start hatching) I brought them in the house and put them under a heat lamp made sure they didn't get to hot I think there are 4 rolling around out of 11 when do they usually start hatching when they start rolling around
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by missSimon View Post

I am new here too and I do not know how to do my own post so I'll tell my little story.
Well I had a first time mama trying to care for her eggs about 2 weeks in she got eaten I have saved her eggs (waiting for them to start hatching) I brought them in the house and put them under a heat lamp made sure they didn't get to hot I think there are 4 rolling around out of 11 when do they usually start hatching when they start rolling around


Under Forum (at the top of page) click on  "Raising BackYard Chickens" then click on "Incubating & Hatching Eggs" and then click on "Start a new thread" on the left side of the screen.  Will need to post a title telling everyone that you are "Newbie and need help" or something along those lines, and put your post there.  I'd help but don't know how.

 

And, welcome to BYC.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by limited25 View Post

Truly enjoyed reading your post!  Welcome to BYC!

We had to pick up our chicks and place them on the roost (2 days) and they got on roost by themselves after that.  Probably too early for pecking order but if you can tell who is at the top of pecking order maybe just put them on roost and others will follow ... probably not your morans.  LOL
.
Thank you. I guess that is what I will do after it gets dark out, go out there and put them on the roost. Might be tough to get all 12 on without some jumping off, but will give it a go. If I can get a few to learn, I am sure the others will follow.

Thanks again for the welcome and response.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by limited25 View Post
 

Truly enjoyed reading your post!  Welcome to BYC!

X2

:welcome

post #7 of 9
Since you don't have an existing flock you can go ahead and feed the starter/grower until you start seeing eggs if you like. Then you can switch to a layer feed. Or you can go to an all flock diet and provide supplemental calcium. Up to you really.

The limestone may be a little high in calcium and magnesium for chicks. Maybe someone else has experience in this area...I just provide crushed granite.

I have Cuckoo Marans, but they're younger than yours. I haven't noticed outstanding stupidity yet, but they definitely aren't as curious or daring as some of the other breeds that I have.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone. I think I will remain on the on grower/started to week 16 or when they start laying.  Going to be interesting to find out who is laying when, as I would imagine there can be up to a month or so delay between the breeds although they were all supposedly 3 days old when I got them.

 

They are loving being out in the run.  They are devouring the tulip poplar flower petals as they fall. They are like candy to them. My other birds loved them to. I decided, hey - if they can eat them, I should give it a try. Kinda like a orchid, but a bit more bitter if you want to know.

 

The roosting instinct still has not kicked in. Placed them on the roost a few times, sometimes a couple times a night and they still prefer the pile. Frustrating only because the poop board is clean as can be, but the floor where they sleep is a mess despite being cleaned regularly.

 

Oh well, I guess they will start on their on schedule. Limited25, I can not tell the pecking order yet. I think they all think they are the queen right now.


Edited by Sea2Ski - 5/16/16 at 6:12am
post #9 of 9

Welcome! I have two Cuckoo Marans who don't seem the least bit dumb to me. I think my dumbest hen is probably my little Olive Egger. She's low hen on the totem pole and is never fast enough to get treats. Even when I throw something right at her feet someone else always snags it first! Poor girl! One of my Marans went broody last summer and we slipped four day old chicks under her. She was a fantastic mother! I think hens are just like people - some are smarter than others! :)

 

I always have oyster shells available in the run for my hens, but I don't provide them with any grit since they're constantly pecking in the dirt.

 

Good luck with your new flock! 

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