First timer questions. egg color change, hatching, egg frequency?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by redring, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. redring

    redring Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2016
    LaPorte IN
    This is my first year with chickens. We have don this slowly and what most people would consider wrong. :) I have had tons of scoffs, funny looks and people telling me im not doing it right. Whatever. I am learning as we go. I have happy chickens that like me. So everything is good. But I keep running into things that confuse me. So I thought I would ask some questions here and see what you all say.

    First a bit about my flock. I started the season with 6 fluffy chicks. We had an old plastic dog house and my ex-employer was getting rid of a run he built and never got to use. This changed my coop ideas from a tractor to a stationary coop and run. We have been buying materials a bit at a time for the coop. The chicks finally went outside and have been living in the dog house inside the run. I attached a fabric flap to the door and spread wood chips on the floor. We know this will not work all year. its just to get them outside while we get the real coop built. There are tree limb roosts in the run for them and they all happily squeeze into the dog house at night. In fact I am glad the coop was started this weekend. The dog house has to be getting small with all of them getting so big.

    When we placed the chickens outside one of my chickens was making strange noises. Turns out she is a he. This last week another chicken walked up to me and crowed. " lady I would like you to know im a boy!". Oh my , now I have two. There has been excessive crowing and this must be the answer. My all white rooster has been lead up til now but I want to keep the americana rooster. I had hoped to pick out a fancy rooster. Will removing the dominant rooster cause any issues?


    I am down to 4 hens. .... I think. I hope I dont have any more roosters. My first hen started laying last week. a whole month earlier than expected. I cant tell for sure who but obviously an americana due to the gray/green eggs. But on day 4 the eggs was light beige. ....ummmm. I looked all over for a second egg and never found one. I thought the chicken would only lay one color? Am I wrong? What is happening here? are two laying and I missed an egg? They have been providing an easter egg hunt for me daily trying to hide the egg from me.



    Down to 4. Can I let one chicken keep an egg and hatch it? How dose that go? Will she still lay? will she sit on it? will the others attack the baby? Is it too late in the season to do that?


    Thanks for any answers.
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Is it correct that you have two cockerels and four pullets in your flock? Yes, you'll have to get rid of at least one rooster. And possibly a second one - either that or add more hens. One rooster to four hens is likely going to result in stressed hens with feather loss. The recommended ratio is 8-10 hens per cockerel. In some cases, a particularly gentle and calm rooster might be OK with less hens; however, due to the frequency of mating, even the gentlest rooster will likely wear and damage the hen's back feathers. This issue can be fixed with hen saddles. However, stressed hens cannot, so if you notice the hens becoming scared of him or spending a lot of time hiding in the coop, it's time for more hens or one fewer roosters.

    A chicken will only ever lay one color egg. You have two hens laying. Hens will not lay everyday. I would say one of your brown layers coincidentally started laying on a day your Easter Egger was not.

    First, you should never let a hen incubate a single egg. Even with a mother, a single chick isn't a good idea. And I always recommend incubating four times as many eggs as you want chicks; if you want two chicks, set eight eggs; two eggs won't hatch and four will be roosters. (This is of course just one example but basically, hatch a ton and you'll get a few survivors you actually want to keep). Secondly, broodiness (the inclination of a hen to sit on and hatch and egg) is incredibly variable. Most hens will not brood until they are much older, usually at least a year of age. Some breeds will never go broody; other may brood frequently. Even hens of breeds known for broodiness may not wish to brood. Certainly few hens will brood over a single egg. Yes, the others are liable to attack the chick, or attack the mother while she attempts to defend the chick. The mother should always be separated from the flock for the duration of hatching and brooding. It should be taken into account that not all hens are good mothers and some may kill or reject their offspring. Whenever a hen is brooding eggs you should always have a backup brooder ready in case it does not work out.
     
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  3. redring

    redring Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2016
    LaPorte IN
    Thanks! That answers a lot. Sounds like hatching our own will be a ton of hassle and wont solve my hen shortage issue. I want a total of 12 hens and will have coop space for 32. Was going to do 6 this year and if all goes well 6 more next. I wanted a rooster to help with this transition. Never expected to end up with two. I have no idea where to go to replace the hens im short. We bought ours through Big-R. If I would have known ....... well maybe I can still contact4-H. lots of people sold at fair. maybe I can still buy some? I put up our white rooster and hopefully can get him a good home. He is so sweet I dont really want to kill him just because. Takes good care of the hens and even gives them a tour of the coop if the hens are aggressive to me. Ive seen him break up fights too. I had my heart set on a fancy rooster though and the americana fits the bill more. As to stressing out the hens? Oh, im sure. caught them both holding down one hen the other day. I thought the chicken should only lay one color! But a guy that works with my husband said they lay daily. except winter and molting season. I figured since he has chickens he would know. So now two are laying. I have to get that coop finished. Its about half way. Thanks for all your help! looking forward to learning from everyone here.
     
  4. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

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    Before you get more chickens, you might want to read some of the forums on adding new members to your flock. The current BYC 'topic of the week' covers just that and has lots of good advice. Good luck!
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  6. redring

    redring Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2016
    LaPorte IN
    space is not an issue. I have 100 square feet in the run and plan to provide some up space. The 32 square feet on the floor of the coop plus two rows of nesting boxes and whatever roosts we decide on above that. feed and water is in the run. Ive already slanted my boxes to form a roll out egg area to keep aggravation and egg eating down. going for low stress for my hens. Of course now that they are laying early I dont know how ill convince them to use the boxes. Every day has been a easter egger hunt. Pun intended. As they get frustrated with missing eggs and hide them from me. Worst part so far is I cant seem to get anyone to take the extra rooster. I dont want to butcher and he is awesome. I would feel bad about having him killed. My egg production for my two layers is slow. 1 egg every other day. Its green egg today beige egg tomorrow green the day after. Except when whoever lays the green egg took a day off and then laid a large egg. I agree on the easter eggers. I just read my self that many birds sold as americans are actually easter eggers. This also leads me to believe that the other egg is beige and not brown. And its my two easter eggers who are laying. Ill read up on the rest of the links you sent thanks!
     

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