3 old hens coming today

Teresa Lundquis

In the Brooder
Jul 23, 2016
My organic garden has been decimated by grasshoppers and I have had enough. I said yes to 3 hens, about 3 yrs old. They don't lay much but I figured between the flies and grasshoppers the hens might be helpful. I have heard Guineas would be the best breed but I already said yes to these 3. The rest of the flock went to the processing place as their time had come. It will be a chance to start slow with chickens anyway. There isn't much left to any of the greens growing in the garden so the chickens can't do much damage. They might however eat the grass hoppers and maybe prevent the buggers from leaving grasshopper eggs for next year. I tried NOLO bait but I think it was out of date. My farm tends to be a rescue farm so the hens will have a good life. We have 4 goats who have never seen chickens. 2 Labs and 2 kittens and a rescue rabbit.

I lived on a farm for 6 mos with hens so I have some experience caring for chickens. I have a lot to learn.

I have a section in my barn for the hens that has a sturdy fence ( 6 ft x 12 ft 17 ft high ish). I was cleaning it out yesterday for the girls. I hope to let the hens out late day when it cools and try to entice them back to the roost with their grain. The garden is fenced in so if all else fails I will have to catch the girls.

The hens are used to organic soyless grain and the owner grew some type of green grass for them. They will get similar grain but I only have prairie grass and lots and lots of grasshoppers and some flies

We have spotted coyotes chasing the lab in a back field. The neighbor farmer was out shooting at them-I don't know if he got them or not. The neighbor has chickens too.

Do I need to prevent sparrows from being in the hens night time area? The sparrows seem to use the barn in the winter and nesting in spring.

Thanks all!
The barn sounds nice!
If you don't watch the chickens, the coyotes might get them. If the sparrows are not bothering the chickens, I guess they could share the barn. You can use your own judgement, although the sparrows might eat the chickens feed. Glad you joined the flock!! Hope you have a wonderful time on here!
The hens are Plymouth Barred Rock. My old lab did fine with the hens before. The one year old rabbit has made friends with the old lab too. It's the young lab who could be a problem as she is more of a pointer than a calm lab. At least these hens weigh 5 lbs and are quite feisty. So far the young lab is good with the rabbit too so there is potential for her to obey. If I have to get a shock collar for the dog I will.

The hens were quite noisy when I checked on them in the barn. Noise travels easily here. I made it darker and fed them hoping they will calm down. It's their regular food too. The hens have never seen goats and the goats are starring at them, lol. I set up a perch in several places and a nesting box with straw with a blanket covering it a bit.

We have a gentle rain storm come through and cool the barn down.
Sometimes when the chickens are very noisy it's because there is something creeping around that is alarming them - mice, rats, snakes, etc. It's usually good to check it out - at least the first time.
Welcome to BYC
Glad you joined us! It sounds like those hens found a heavenly new home. All those grasshoppers and a very caring owner, from the sounds of things. Wonderful stuff. They are very likely a little alarmed by the goats. My birds get a bit noisy when the neighbourhood cats jump on the back wall here, or when they spot something unfamiliar and to them, potentially threatening. They should settle down and get used to the goats and their new home soon.

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