Greetings (and Questions) from a Newbie

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jahlers, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. Jahlers

    Jahlers Hatching

    Oct 9, 2008
    North Dakota
    I hope I have this in the right section, (sorry if its not).

    This July my mom gave me 2 hens and 10 fertilized eggs. All the eggs belonged to the one hen (Hildegard). Hazel, the other hen, had her nest stolen by another hen whose eggs had all been eaten by a predator. All Hazel did all day was sit and stare at the hen who took over her nest. During the 2.5 hour trip home the eggs started peeping, and during the next 48 hours, 6 chicks hatched. All 8 chickens are doing great, the chicks are half grown and doing well. But neither hen has started laying eggs again.

    I'm a farmgirl who grew up with lots of chickens, have a great Mom who knows everything about chickens, but its nice to have other people to ask too. I'm a newbie on this forum, and would also like to hear from others who raise chickens in cold climates, like North Dakota where I live. My hens are used to having no supplemental heat in the winter and are from South Dakota, pretty close to the same temp here. I feel the need to give them some heat though. They had a barn full of cows to live in at my mom's, here its just them in the barn. Do you think one heat lamp is enough for 8 chickens? It can get to -40F here in the winter, but -20F is more the usual for "really cold out". Plus I don't have a thousand hay bales for them to tunnel into either, like my mom does.

    My chickens have a 14X10 ft space netted off in the barn (to keep the poop off the other things stored in there). Plus they have at least that much space in the loft. I have nesting boxes, but they are on the floor. Should I raise them? How far? They have plenty of roosting space too. They have a fenced in area outside (about 20x10ft) to keep them safe, it even has a netted covering to protect them from all the hawks and eagles! Good thing too, since the hawks sit on the 6.5 ft fence posts and stare at the chicks. I'm sure they look delicious.

    I appreciate any advice or ideas you have!
  2. whatsup chickenbutt

    whatsup chickenbutt Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    i dont know the answers, but heres a bump.
  3. cthrash1

    cthrash1 Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Somerset, KY
    I just recently raised mine up about 18 to 20 inches off the floor. I think that is what I read in my chicken handbook...I am new to chickens(since March) so have to refer to these great folks and my handbooks quite often.

    Good luck, Cindy
  4. hb

    hb In the Brooder

    Dec 19, 2007
    SF Bay Area, California
    Look, I live in the SF Bay Area and to us "freezing" is when it gets into the 30's and maybe the mid 20's. I have one chicken that's "cold hardy" (a cookoo maran) and one who's not (a polish) and last winter (my first winter for raising chickens) I bought a huge flat panel heater to keep my chickens warm, and it was one of those cool to the touch sort of heaters, but it didn't work out because the little polish would smash herself up against it on the cold nights and singh her feathers.

    So...then I got a ceramic heat lamp that emits no light rays and screws it into a heat lamp fixture and it seemed to give my chickens enough heat to keep the freeze off of them. But my little Polish would some how roost high enough to burn her head feathers...she didn't seem to mind, though...

    I also, though, bought some of that foil bubble wrap insulation and wrapped their house with that as well. What this does is keep the drafts out and their place warmish and that coupled with a ceramic heat lamp ( not a red heat lamp) they stay warm through the night.

    I also put a thermostat on my heat lamp, so it will only click on if it's say under 38 degrees.

    You also need to look at what kind of chickens that you have, what their individual needs are, and then figure out if you need special accomodations for them.

    Also, I've found that if you give your neighbors a half of a dozen eggs every now and then, then they don't seem to mind hearing the chicken swawks.
  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC. There is a wealth of information on this board..and very helpfull people. As for your hens...and nests. You should raise the nest boxes at least 18 inches from the floor. However, you said you have babies, so you might want to waite untill they are a few weeks old. Momma will show them how to get into and out of the nest box...providing you give them a small ladder. Whatever you are useing for bedding, straw,pine shaveings...just make sure it is deep enough for them to snuggle into, on those really cold nights. Make sure thier area is draft free. If you need too, stack straw around the outer edges. As for carefull. Bedding is flammable...and accidents happen. IF you decide to use a heat lamp...make sure it is high enough they cant get onto it and get burned...and secure it with wire. Those clamps on the lamp fixture are really NOT good enough. Maybe you can add a " cage" of chicken wire around the lamp, to prevent burning. Make sure thier water stays thawed..and they have plenty feed. Chickens are really pretty good at taking care...when the proper shelter is provided. Thier roost should be fairly when they roost, they cover thier toes. We use a 2x4...they sit on the 4 inch side. When they sit..thier toes are covered. If they are in a tall a barn, possible put in a lower roofline. A few 2x4's and metal sheet roofing will help keep the heat closer to them. Congrats on your adventure with chickens...and any questions you might have, I am sure someone will be able to answer.
  6. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    Quote:Ohhh my, the pic I got in my head of what your polish did with the heat things, I got a good giggle [​IMG] Sorry !!!!
  7. Jahlers

    Jahlers Hatching

    Oct 9, 2008
    North Dakota
    My "chicks" were hatched in July, so they are half grown already. They fly around too. So I will definately boost the boxes up a good 18 inches.

    Anyone have ideas about why the two hens haven't laid any eggs yet?
  8. Picky Chicky

    Picky Chicky Songster

    Sep 22, 2008
    Holly Grove, VA

    You'll get lots of great answers here (not from me since I'm a newbie too hehe) but welcome and good luck!
  9. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    You'll get lots of great answers here (not from me since I'm a newbie too hehe) but welcome and good luck!

    me too... I don't even have any chickens. I think you should fill that barn up with goats and more chickens!​
  10. Jahlers

    Jahlers Hatching

    Oct 9, 2008
    North Dakota
    I would love to!! But I live on the edge of a small town. The chickens are fine, but I don't think the neighbors would tolerate goats. [​IMG]
    We've been looking for a small farm, but land around here is so expensive. Red River Valley of the North, I've heard its the most fertile ground in the US. But I don't know that for sure.

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