few questions!!

girls and guineas

8 Years
Nov 30, 2011
northern GA
I have several questions, and comments!!
Does anyone keep your eggshells and crush them and feed them back to your chickens?? If so, what's the procedure?? I have heard to boil them and then crush them up?? Also, I have been marking the fresh eggs with the date, with a perm marker! They are brown eggs and I didn't think a pencil would show up, and an ink pen didn't seem to work! What is the best way to mark the date on them, and will it be harmful if I feed the crushed shells back to the hens???

Do hens "come in heat" like dogs, cats and other animals??? And what do you call it?? I had a NH Red that would take a few steps and then just sit! She even limped a little. She liked me to pet her back! I was afraid something was wrong with her!!! The next day she was better, and the next day she was back to normal!!! This is different than "broodie" isn't it?? She didn't try to peck me!! Isn't "broodie" when the hens want to sit on eggs to hatch them???

I was thinking about getting a plastic toolshed for a chicken house 7X7 or 8X10! Only I couldn't figure out how to cut a little chicken door in it. I wanted to put it outside a chain link 10X10 dog run. I hadn't figured out how to cut a small chicken door in the chain link fence either?? I wanted a regular door available in the fenced in area and also the plastic house! Maybe this idea isn't do-able!!! The plastic toolsheds would be warm, and have the plastic floor which would be easier to clean!! Is plastic housing not good???

Right now I have my 6 guineas and 5 pullet hens in a covered 10X10 dog run--sitting on the ground, with tarps on all sides for warmth and to keep the rain out. It has gaps at the corners where the tarps are tied. I left the bottom 2 ft. bungie corded, so I could raise it up when the weather was nice outside. I cover the 2 large dog kennels that the chickens sleep in at night with tarps (grill covers) to keep them warm. I have the two kennels with doors on them so I can lock the chickens in at night to keep them safe!! I am covering the door with another tarp!! In the daytime I take the grill covers off and put smaller pieces of tarp on the top to keep the poo off the kennels!! I was trying not to spend alot of money, but have spent alot more than I planned!!!

I do let them free range most days, unless it's rainy and cold! My guineas have been wandering away to the neighbors, which I don't like!! I have to go get them--call them home!! I don't know if there is any way to prevent this??? They are so curious and like to follow people or animals or cars around, but I'm afraid the neighbors' dogs will get them or they will be a nusiance!!!

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!! It's been a learning experience and alot more work than I thought!!!
1)Use a non toxic childrens marker and you should be fine.
2) I have heard the boil, bake but I just wash and crush.
3)No chickens dont go in heat they are fertile everyday.
4)Yes broody is when they want to set on eggs some will even growl and they will stay in the nestbox.
5)you can use the plastic tool shed. I would use the 8x10 if you are going with the 10x10 chainlink dog kennel. You could leave the back panel off the chainlink and secure it to the tool sheds front using metal straps(like ones that secure heat and air ducts). Leave the doors open in the day time and close at night but you will have to cut ventilation into it though.
6)If you use my suggestion in 5) then you could purchase an extra panel for the Chainlink and end up with a 10X20 run.

The links below are what I plan on adding this summer to mine( mine is an arrow metal building from Lowes). The second link is how you can do this for a plastic building you could use the same method for installing ventilation on top or on the sides. I have floor heating/cooling register vents on the front and back of mine. That way I can fully open or close them.
I'll respond to two!!

We feed the shells back! An easy way to do it is not bother washing and microwave them for a few minutes on high! They crush easy and are sterilized that way!!!

Secondly I'd advise not to cover your dog houses with tarps as your currently doing. They need good ventilation for good health. Besides the poor quality of air, your inviting high humidity which in itself will cause frostbite to your birds at only 32 degrees F. Good ventilation allows your birds more comfort even at lower temperatures. With your current kennel fence covering the two primary windward sides and top will create a wind and element shelter that protects your birds. The dog houses, if with flooring, protect them from predators.
Thanks for the info!!! I leave the tarps up a little in the front (about 1/4 of the cage door) so there is ventilation. I had 2 guineas die when they were younger, from rainy, colder night air (we think) so I'm concerned about keeping them warm enough!!! It is supposed to get down to 20 degrees in a couple of nights. I have a 75w light bulb hanging on a steel pole in the coop to use when it gets down to freezing. There are gaps in the outside tarps at the corners and at the top where the tarps meet the top covering, where they are attached with plastic ties or bungie cords, so it's not draft-free! Also, I cover the chain-link door at night with a tarp.

Do you wash your eggs? I am concerned about e-coli or other bacteria getting on your hands when you are using the eggs!

Thanks again for your comments!! The water bottle light was interesting!!

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