1. McChick

    McChick In the Brooder

    Apr 30, 2007
    We are new "backyard chicken" owners. We received a rooster and 5 laying hens from a friend that doesn't have the time for them anymore. I actually have two questions:

    1) One of the hens had clumps of poop on her butt we cleaned her up. Do we need to do anything else for her or what should we watch for?

    2) Also, we're getting ALOT of different advice on feed, types, amounts, how often to feed. Is there a basic to go by.

    This flock was in a very tiny coop and free ranged during the day. We have moved them to a large coop with nesting boxes and a roost and have enclosed a yard for them. I know that they will go through stress from the move and we did much research and preparation before picking them up.

    Any help would be appreciated!

  2. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    True, they may be a bit stressd. My new ones usually dont lay for the first two weeks or so. I feed mine layers pellets, scratch feed as a treat here and there and kitchen scraps. Some people give them shells of eggs for Calcium, others do oyster shells. They love leftover lettuce and salads--but I believe if you are planning on letting them free range, they will get their grit from the dirt. Just be careful of predators---once our are our for a day or so in a row, I notice more hawks flying around. IMO, they will make off with a hen....

    see what everyone else says!
  3. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Some plain yogurt w/active cultures and crushed garlic in it will help their digestive systems. Keep an eye on any birds w/dirty vent feathers. Try to keep them clean but if that isn't possible, it might help to carefully trim the feathers. Remember that the poo on vent feathers of hens comes into contact with eggs being laid. If she is cleaner, the eggs will be cleaner. Remember that too much lettuce (which is mostly water) will cause diarrhea, which can make the dirty vent feather problem worse.

    If you're sure the girls have already been laying, then I would make sure they have 24/7 free choice access to layer feed, plenty of fresh water, grit and oyster shell. Make sure the feed is fresh, with no sour smell. (It won't hurt your roo to eat the layer feed and our fellow never goes near the oyster shell.) Fresh water and shade is critical in warm/hot weather or if the humidity is high.

    You could try putting egg-sized rocks or golf balls in the nests, so they can see that is where you want them to lay.

    Give them a couple of weeks to feel settled... and enjoy your new flock.


    if edited, probably for typos...
    Last edited: May 12, 2007

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