Getting 3 chickens with the new house - help!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by meiske, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. meiske

    meiske In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2012
    I am planning on keeping heritage chickens in the not so distant future so I've been a member on this forum for a while and have read LOTS of information. However, we're moving to our new property next week and the previous owners are leaving their 3 Isa Browns for us to keep. I don't know how old they are and if they're still laying.

    What do I feed them? How often a day? It seems that now I will actually have my first chickens, I'm feeling a bit daunted...

  2. Mexiontheloose

    Mexiontheloose In the Brooder

    Jun 28, 2012
    My Coop
    Hey I could be wrong, but I'd feed them feed meant for laying hens. As far as how much per day, I use a hopper style feeder that I built (but you can buy them) and keep it full. I have it in the hen house, that way there is no food outside after dark that I need to worry about critters getting in to. I find that my girls eat as much as they need to, when they need to.

    Good luck with them! I hear the Isa Browns are good layers!!!
  3. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Songster

    Since the Isas are used to a certain food and routine, maybe it would be best to have the previous owners leave you with written information/instructions?
  4. meiske

    meiske In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2012
    Thanks for the advice, I will also try to find out what the previous owners fed them.

  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Finding out what they are eating now is great advice. With any luck, they'll leave some food behind.

    The hard thing about feeding chickens is not how hard it is but how easy it is. There are so many different ways to go about it that all work that people get confused. You don't have to do it any one specific way.

    There are many different types of feed available. Layer is different from the others because it has extra calcium for the egg shells. The only significant difference in the others is the percent protein in them. Baby chicks should have a higher level protein the first month or two to help them get off to a good start. After that a lower level of protein works great. But in reality, you wil find that many of us feed different things at different ages, some starting off with a lower protein and some staying with a higher percent protein level forever.

    Laying hens will probably get enough calcium from Layer for nice thick eggshells. If the egg shells are a little thin, you can offer oyster shell on the side. They will self-regulate if they need additional oyster shell. Many of us offer oyster shell all the time, whether it is needed or not. It does not hurt. When I have younger chicks in the flock, I feed things other than Layer and rely on the laying hens getting the offered oyster shell. It works.

    You'll find that some of us feed in the coop, some feed in the run, and some feed both places. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them. There is no wrong way, just the way you do it.

    It's best to keep feed available to them all the time they are awake. If you try to regulate real tight how much you think they should eat, some can be bullies and food hogs, getting more than their share and leaving some to do with less. You should try to see that they don't run out.

    There are all kinds of different feeders you can use. You can buy them or make them. Some are set up for specific preparations of feed, pellets, crumbles or mash. When they make chicken feed, they gring the various ingredients together and mix them. That powdery stuff is called mash. To make pellets, they mix it with water, extrude it, then dry it. To make crumble they partially crush the pellets. The form the food is in has nothing to do with nutrient content. Some forms are better for certain feeding systems, especially automated delivery systems. If you are in a bind and need to do somethign quick, all you need for any of them is some type of bowl, like a dog bowl, to set down. We've devised different things to help minimize waste, but that can come later as you fine tune your operation. Hopefully the people will leave the feeder behind. If not, it's easy to handle,

    Same with the water. They should never run out of water, but all that takes is a bowl to set on the ground. We have refinements to help keep the water clean and maybe reduce spillage, but those are just refinements. They are extremely happy drinking out of a mud puddle on the ground.

    Don't be intimidated. As long as you put food and water in front of them, they will do fine.
  6. meiske

    meiske In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2012
    Thank you sooo much for your detailed reply, that was very helpful indeed!! I appreciate it!
  7. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    Yeah,best to ask the owners. I give layer pellets most times,and also have on hand some scratch,BOSS,grit,and oyster shell. I keep everything neat in those pop top tidy cat litter buckets.Congrats on your new home and chickens.

  8. larsonll

    larsonll Chirping

    Aug 13, 2011
    West Georgia
    I have 5 hens and only feed and water in the run. It keeps my hen house, a converted doll house my daughters outgrew, cleaner. We keep the hen house door open to the run in the summer and most of the winter except with temperatures below 40...the house is small. Leave food so they can free range. Mine seemed to like crumbles better than pellets but pellets are easier to keep in the feeder for cleaning. My feeder is hung off the ground, so keeping critters out has not been an issue. We have problems with the feeder only if it gets wet with particularly bad rainstorms. Even pellets cake and mold.

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