Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Skip, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. Skip

    Skip Songster

    Hello, there! I'm new on this forum, and I'm also a new chicken owner. I love this place, and I love chickens too! I have a couple problems with my chickens. It's a long story, but I'll try to cut it short. I sure hope there's a thread on this forum where you can just post about how much you love your chickens!

    I started out with four chickens, two pullets, two roosters of the welsummer breed. They're still a couple months from laying, but I like them a lot. The two roosters are really noisy and annoying, so they're going to be dinner, but the two hens I'm keeping. Also, I recently got eight more chickens (Whew!), including this very lovely rooster who I'm calling Skip (hence my name). They're all fantastic chickens, and I can't wait until they start laying!

    One of the problems is, I'm having trouble getting them to start laying. The new hens we got about two weeks ago have been given proper lighting, nest boxes, layer food, etc, they won't lay. With the new chickens came four chicks, and I've been putting out chick feed as well as layer ration, but the layer stuff's ignored, and they're all eating crumble! I'm pretty sure they won't lay until they're eating the layer mash, but they really don't like it. Any suggestions on helping them start laying?

    Also, I'd really like to do free range, but we have cats. Some cats ignore the chickens, but others are hell-bent on having tender chick for dinner. Any suggestions on how to chicken-train the cats?


  2. NurseNettie

    NurseNettie Songster

    Feb 13, 2008
    Northern Maine
    First, welcome.

    Second,-- how old are the one's you're "trying to get laying".? There are lots of reasons for hens not laying-- it would be helpful to know a bit more about their ages, breeds, and the conditions you have them living in.

    Were they laying before they came to you?

    Pretty much, they'll lay when they're ready. Give them quality food, fresh air and sunshine, and good, draft free, protected housing at night, and they'll lay when they want to.

    Without any more info from you, that's about all I can say right now. Please post again! and [​IMG]
  3. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    The adult (standard-sized) chickens will train the cats themselves. Most chickens aren't afraid to give a curious cat a swift, sharp peck to the head. After that painful surprise, the cats will leave the adults alone.

    I wouldn't allow the young chickens anywhere near the cats. Although I love cats, most cats are fickle and will do as they please as soon as your back is turned.

    By the way, [​IMG]!
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  4. jenjen

    jenjen In the Brooder

    Jun 18, 2008
    Oregon House, Ca.
    If you let them free range before they start laying you might have a hard time finding your eggs. Just something to think about
  5. joebwe25

    joebwe25 Songster

    Feb 1, 2007
    St. Louis, Mo.
    Do you know about the "golf ball trick"? Where you put a golf ball in the nest box to encourage them to lay?
    It DOES work.
    p.s. [​IMG]!!!!
  6. Hi Skip and welcome.
    I think your hens need a longer time than 2 weeks to adjust for laying especially at this time of year. We support a colony of feral cats and I would never let them mingle. suspect your best investment is separation. It will also keep your hens away from predators. Take a look at our home page. I know everyone has a different situation and this is not the best time to build a covered run!

  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I use layer crumbles. I tried the pellets but they didn't seem to eat them very well, but that may be because I started them on crumbles. You may not get any eggs for awhile. Sometimes it can take a few weeks before thay start laying. There can be any number of different factors such as light, moving them, change in their environment, introducing new birds, change in feed, etc.
  8. Skip

    Skip Songster

    Hi again, and thanks for the warm welcome! I'm sure to be sticking around here with fellow chicken lovers!

    Anyway, here's the info on the chickens:

    One black star - Aprox 1-2 years, already laying

    Four Aracunas - One aprox 1-2 years, already laying, three chicks, not expected to lay for months

    One speckled hen of unknown breed, possibly Americuna - aprox 1-2 years, already laying

    One light sussex rooster - aprox 2-3 years, never gonna lay ([​IMG])

    One speckled chick, possibly Americuna - not gonna lay for months

    Two Welsummer hens - 5 months, not gonna lay until spring

    They're currently all-indoors. I'm working on a covered run for them. It's not all that big because I don't have that much room to work with. I would like them to be free range so they could get more room to fly and enjoy themselves, but I'm worried about the cats. As for the indoor conditions, I'm doing layer bedding. Every time I go in there, I sniff around and if I smell ammonia, they get fresh bedding. They have 24/7 access to water and feed.

    Also, the new chickens used to be free range. They actually seem happier and more calm when they're indoors, and they're growing quite friendly. When I introduced the chickens into the existing flock, the original two roosters started causing trouble, so I isolated them in the chicken tractor, and now everything's calmed down. But a couple days after introducing them, I had to put in some insulation and a few other renovations that I didn't realize we would need. That was overly stressful on the chickens, poor things, but they also got a new and higher perch, which they love. They're using the nestboxes, but not really brooding. I've also seen that the rooster is breeding the hens. I thought that would mean eggs, but nothing happened, so I was a little worried.

    Thanks again!

  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    The roosters breeding with the hens just means fertile eggs. They will lay when they are ready.
  10. Skip

    Skip Songster


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