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A beginners few questions :)

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by fuzz, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. fuzz

    fuzz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2007
    Ohio
    I have read your FAQ sections but I still have a few of my own.

    Grit- What is it, I understand its purpose to help crush food in the gizzard but should it be store bought or is grit basically sand and tiny rocks? Would dirt work? Large rocks? If I do end up getting grit for my chickens how much should I give them and how often?

    Oyster Shells- What is their purpose? Should it be fed daily?

    What are some good treats for chickens and what are the most common and deadly treats/foods?

    Can you give your chickens toys?

    How exactally do you hold a chicken- (Now this may seem like a stupid question but I just want to make sure, sometimes I feel as if I may hurt a baby chick. Though I have been raising rabbits for over a decade now and I am pretty gentle when it comes to any small animals or whatnot)

    I have a fence with a few rabbit hutches in it, its fairly large, perfect for chickens and their coop. The only problem is that the rabbit poo will be on the ground. It wouldnt be in piles but yea I cant stop all the rabbit poo. We only have 3 rabbits out there as the other 40 or so are in the barn and the barn is full. Is it safe to keep chickens in there esp. at night? Its not like the ground is covered in it either. Most of its nice green grass but the outer edges are mostly rabbit hutches. I am actually converting a rabbit hutch into a coop [​IMG]

    When do roosters fight and start getting noisy? Do roo's or hens make better pets?

    What are the must have supplies before getting baby chicks? I have

    Chick Starter Feed, Feeders, Waterers, Duramycin, Heat Lamp/Light, and sawdust.

    I figured I should keep any chicks in the heated garage protected from the weather until they get old enough. Its starting to warm up here in ohio but just incase the weather isnt in the 70's and it still gets colder at night. How will that work out?

    What are the best hatchery's to buy from?

    I know most of these may seem like DUH questions but I want to make sure I am doing everything right.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Grit- What is it, I understand its purpose to help crush food in the gizzard but should it be store bought or is grit basically sand and tiny rocks? Would dirt work? Large rocks? If I do end up getting grit for my chickens how much should I give them and how often?

    Basically sand and small rocks. The "grit" you get at the store is granite which is very hard and lasts longer than some other rocks, but you do not need to buy anything if they have access to sand and small rocks. Offer grit free choice. They will eat what they need.

    Oyster Shells- What is their purpose? Should it be fed daily?

    Oyster shells provide extra calcium for the egg shells. They can get calcium from hard shelled bugs, limestone, any other shells such as snails, crawfish, lobster. It should only be provided when the hens start laying or around week 20, whichever occurs first. Offer it free choice.

    What are some good treats for chickens and what are the most common and deadly treats/foods?

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-Treats_Chart

    Can you give your chickens toys?

    Many people do. You would probably get many hits on a search for chicken toys.

    How exactally do you hold a chicken- (Now this may seem like a stupid question but I just want to make sure, sometimes I feel as if I may hurt a baby chick. Though I have been raising rabbits for over a decade now and I am pretty gentle when it comes to any small animals or whatnot)

    Again a search is probably best for good details. I'll let others address this.

    I have a fence with a few rabbit hutches in it, its fairly large, perfect for chickens and their coop. The only problem is that the rabbit poo will be on the ground. It wouldnt be in piles but yea I cant stop all the rabbit poo. We only have 3 rabbits out there as the other 40 or so are in the barn and the barn is full. Is it safe to keep chickens in there esp. at night? Its not like the ground is covered in it either. Most of its nice green grass but the outer edges are mostly rabbit hutches. I am actually converting a rabbit hutch into a coop [​IMG]

    I really don't have the experience to answer this one.

    When do roosters fight and start getting noisy? Do roo's or hens make better pets?

    All chickens will peck and fight some to establish a pecking order. Pecking order is established quite young and will often change as they mature. As long as no blood is drawn and no real injury, it is not a cause for concern. The personalities of the chickens will vary a lot so my answers will be general. Everybody has different experiences.

    If roosters are kept by themselves (no hens) they normally get along OK. If you only have one rooster with your hens, no big problems from fighting. If you have more than one rooster, there will be dominace fights. Normally, one will dominate and the other becomes his able assistant. They work well as a team to protect the hens and each gets his share of the sexual favors. Of course the dominant gets first choice. Occasionally, two roosters will be matched in spirit and neither will accept the assistant position. That may be a fight to the death. That is somewhat breed dependent but very much individual dependent.

    Some people like hens better. Some like roosters. Depends on what you want in a chicken pet.


    What are the must have supplies before getting baby chicks? I have

    Chick Starter Feed, Feeders, Waterers, Duramycin, Heat Lamp/Light, and sawdust.

    Add a safe, dry, draft-free place and you should be OK. I personally offer grit from day 3 but it is certainly not required.

    I figured I should keep any chicks in the heated garage protected from the weather until they get old enough. Its starting to warm up here in ohio but just incase the weather isnt in the 70's and it still gets colder at night. How will that work out?

    If you don't have a brooder, you need to confine them to the heated area for a while. Many people use cardboard 12" to 18" high. This also cuts down on drafts. Give them an area where the temperature is in the age-appropriate range but also some room to get where it is a few degrees cooler so they can find their comfort zone. It is better to be a tad too cool than too hot. They will let you know if they are comfortable.

    What are the best hatchery's to buy from?

    You will get loads of different opinions as people have had issues with any of them, but any hatchery that has been around a while should be good. If a hatchery ships 100,000 chicks a week, there are bound to be occasional issues.
     
  3. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    Lots of guestions, some I can answer.

    I dont think it matters where you get your chickens, farm or hatchery. It is up to you on what breed you want or if you just want a few chickens. I started my flock with some free eggs from friends.

    Your chickens will need grit. You can buy it or just use the gravel from your driveway; rocky dirt or sand. Throw in a shovel full and when it disappears toss in another.

    Oyster shells are a source of calcium. If your chickens lay thin shelled or shelless eggs, then they need a calcium supplement. Oyster shells are very cheap to buy. i bought a bag last year and have barely used a 1/3 of it. I also crumble up the used egg shells and feed back to my hens..another source of calcium.

    Treats: Chickens are garbage disposals [​IMG] . They will eat anything. Mine love cat food as a treat and will come from all over the yard when I have some. Mine also love watermelon, pumpkin, squash, corn, worms...etc. A friend has a huge garden and I took alot of melons and things that didnt get picked before the first frost. The birds went nuts.

    Holding a chicken..I dont get to do much of this. I hold mine w/the feathers close to the body and not too tight.

    Looks like you have the supplies covered. I would use a heatlamp or hi wattage light bulb until the chicks are feathering out. Just get a thermometer and put in the brooder w/your chicks. Mine are comfy around 80. They start to lay farther apart and away from the heat source if it gets warmer. My brooder is also a large cardboard box that I removed the top & bottom from. It has worked for many guinea keats and chicks. I use pine chips.

    Someone else on here can give you more info.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
  4. fuzz

    fuzz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2007
    Ohio
    Thanks for the help, I will definately get some grit and oyster shells soon.

    ONEE more question..i think haha

    Is it like rabbits when you have a rooster and hens? Do the eggs get fertalized because..well, I really dont plan on hatching my own chicks [​IMG]

    And for the heat light, I have a heat light/lamp I just bought a new light for it from Tractor Supply Company. How do you change the temperature? Do you get different lights? The one I have is 250 heat light, clear. The red ones were like 3$ more and I didnt see the difference but the color.
     
  5. soctippy

    soctippy Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2007
    yea the roosters are pros at fertalizing eggs.
    The temperature for the chicks can be ajusted by raising or lowering the lamp its self. I have never used a thermometer; cold chicks will pile onto one another in a mass to stay warm therfore ajust the lamp colser to them, if they are to hot they will stay around the edges of the pen so raise the lamp up. you are looking for a happy medium with chicks sleeping in random places all throughout the pen and willing to go right under the lamp instead of avoiding it.
     
  6. fuzz

    fuzz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2007
    Ohio
    Uh oh..thats not so good news, i'll be getting rid of any roo's probally then. Once they hit the "age" which brings me to my next question.

    How old to they have to be before they start to produce eggs? Then how old does the boy have to be?


    Thanks for all the help!!
     
  7. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    They start to lay eggs around 21-25 weeks.
     
  8. kenman

    kenman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    I have my rabbits and chickens in the same shed. I two problems that I have encountered have nothing to do with poo. The first is dust. Chickens make a bunch, rabbits are easily choked up with it. I have had a couple of my rabbits have sneezing fits, etc. Outside, though, it shouldn't be a problem. The second problem is that rabbits do not handle excitement well. When my roosters would fight, my rabbits would get agitated. I have had an agitated doe running around in her cage stomp a baby in the nest box because a couple of roosters got intense. So, I now have only one rooster. However, with all that stated, my does still produce more bunnies than I can shake a stick at and I plan to continue as is. Hope this helps.
     
  9. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2009
    To answer your questions I will go thru and number the questions

    I have read your FAQ sections but I still have a few of my own.

    QUESTION
    Grit- What is it, I understand its purpose to help crush food in the gizzard but should it be store bought or is grit basically sand and tiny rocks? Would dirt work? Large rocks? If I do end up getting grit for my chickens how much should I give them and how often?
    (1. ANSWER
    Grit= it is made from granite and is the size the chickens need. It is such that it takes a lot of grinding in the gizzard to use up grit
    (B NO DIRT does not grind
    C. there may be enough rocks the right size BUT why chance it as grit is rather inexpensive
    D. keep on feeder of small size full of grit at all times.
    E. thus if the chickens eat rains unground theey can grind it in their gizzard
    It will keep their system running smooth
    F. I DO NOT approve of sand as it is not big enough to grind the grains. Sand packs and doesn't have the size to do the grinding.
    QUESTION

    Oyster Shells- What is their purpose? Should it be fed daily?
    ANSWER
    the oyster shell is for the calcium the hens need
    85% of the shells is taken from the body of the hens. If not oyster shell then the hens own bones have to furnish the calcium
    Much to her demise.
    Also to use the calcium rightly
    you need to use apple cider vinegar in the water
    using 2 tbsp per gallon at least 3-5 days a week. Thus the body gets more calcium and Vit D. ACV is very good for chickens and helps keep their gut flora in good standing so as to fight diseases

    QUESTION
    What are some good treats for chickens and what are the most common and deadly treats/foods?
    ANSWER
    well this board has the answer to these questions
    Several people have answered many times
    And I posted the poisonous plants yesterday
    So go to the SEARCH and enter your questions and get the answer

    QUESTION
    Can you give your chickens toys?
    ANSWER
    I never had chickens play with toys
    1. wrap a head of cabbage(with all dark leaves left on) wrapped in a piece of chicken wire and hung from ceiling to 12-18 inches from floor
    2. you can use a piece of baled alfalfa hay hung and wrapped the same way
    3. when these are empty hang more. It gives them something to do and feed at same tine.

    QUESTION
    How exactally do you hold a chicken- (Now this may seem like a stupid question but I just want to make sure, sometimes I feel as if I may hurt a baby chick. Though I have been raising rabbits for over a decade now and I am pretty gentle when it comes to any small animals or whatnot)

    ANSWER
    you would simply hold the chick secure in the hand as you would a baby rabbit
    also besure you don't allow it to retch free and fall and hurt its self.

    QUESTION
    I have a fence with a few rabbit hutches in it, its fairly large, perfect for chickens and their coop. The only problem is that the rabbit poo will be on the ground. It wouldnt be in piles but yea I cant stop all the rabbit poo. We only have 3 rabbits out there as the other 40 or so are in the barn and the barn is full. Is it safe to keep chickens in there esp. at night? Its not like the ground is covered in it either. Most of its nice green grass but the outer edges are mostly rabbit hutches. I am actually converting a rabbit hutch into a coop
    ANSWER
    sounds okay to me
    they will eat the grass which probably came up from the grains fed the rabbits
    Chickens do eat and scratch in manure. Getting the grain out of the manure

    QUESTIONS
    When do roosters fight and start getting noisy? Do roo's or hens make better pets?

    ANSWER
    probably around 4-6 months old on the rooster fighting
    Hens actually make better pets as they are more docile
    Langshan large fowl are very docile birds

    QUESTION
    What are the must have supplies before getting baby chicks? I have

    Chick Starter Feed, Feeders, Waterers, Duramycin, Heat Lamp/Light, and sawdust.

    ANSWER

    there isn't much more you will need so go for it
    The poultry supplies can be viewed at
    Smith Poultry & Game Bird Supply

    14000 W. 215th St., Bucyrus, KS 66013-9519

    Ph. 913-879-2587 Fax. 913-533-2497

    Prices do not include shipping.

    Smith Poultry & Game Bird Supply Home A family-owned business that offers poultry and game bird books, supplies, vitamins and medication. Located in Kansas, US.
    www.poultrysupplies.com/ - 164k - Cached - Similar pages
    They are very competitive priced and not over priced

    QUESTION
    I figured I should keep any chicks in the heated garage protected from the weather until they get old enough. Its starting to warm up here in ohio but just incase the weather isnt in the 70's and it still gets colder at night. How will that work out?
    ANSWER
    this is very true and do so

    QUESTION
    What are the best hatchery's to buy from?
    ANSWER
    This could prove to be a problem as I read Neil Grassbaugh's thoughts that most of the hatcheries are very well loaded up on orders for the 2009 hatching season
    so you may have to try and find the hatcheries
    There is a good list of hatcheries in this url

    Brown Egg Blue Egg - Chicken Hatchery Links Guinea Farm Hatchery-World's largest guinea fowl hatchery. ... poultry shop for the sale and purchase of chicken equipment and poultry housing equipment. ...
    www.browneggblueegg.com/HatcheryLinks.html - 6k - Cached - Similar

    I know most of these may seem like DUH questions but I want to make sure I am doing everything right.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Megan, RCM's Rabbitry NE Ohio American Fuzzy Lops, Holland Lops, Polish
    Offline
     
  10. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I know you are getting lots of good feedback already, and if you do searches on this site for your other questions, you will find all your answers have been answered on here in multiple forms.

    However, I strongly suggest you get a book on raising chickens. There are many great options out there and they only cost a few dollars and they will answer all of your questions and a few more you didn't know to ask. I read three chicken books cover to cover before I got my chicks, and then I joined this site. All that together will make you very informed and your birds will get the best start possible. Good luck to you.

    Also, I didn't read through every response on here, but I strongly suggest against giving antibiotics without a known infection. Duramycin is an antibiotic and will only treat specific bacterial infections. Although it is popular to give it to young chicks, it doesn't solve anything and then if they get a true infection later on, they will be more resistant to the antibiotics when they need them.
     

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