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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DaveBoy, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. DaveBoy

    DaveBoy In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2011
    I just bought a house and the previous owners left over twenty chickens in a large, delapidated coop that looks nothing like the nice things I see in the photos in this forum. It's about 20x30 feet, metal/wood sides with a tarp covering most of it. There are no nesting areas except for a few boards leaning against the sides. What am I going to do with these chickens until I can hopefully give most of them away. I'd like to keep five maybe and build a nice coop for them but what do I do with all these chickens until then? What do I feed them? I assume they need water. They all look pretty healthy now but that can change quickly if I don't start tending to them. I'm a city boy who's suddenly running a chicken ranch.

  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Water is crucial! Bowls of water all over are a must-raise them up on concrete blocks to the water stays cleaner. Feed for laying hens (called layer pellets or layer crumble) bought at any feed store, Tractor Supply, Western Store and sometimes, even WalMart, is what you need, if they're mostly hens. Geez, why do people leave birds that way?! [​IMG]

    You can buy waterers and feeders at those places as well made for chickens.

    Where are you located? Some of our BYC folks may be able to come see what the deal is and help you out by taking some of the birds or at least, assessing the situation for you.
  3. DaveBoy

    DaveBoy In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2011
    I live in Hayward, CA. I'm hoping the previous owners will still come and take them - they have a few things around the house that they said they want but no mention of the chickens. Here's hoping.....
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    It is critical that they always have water, for sure. Even if you have some cooking pots, that works fine. Be sure to ask them to get their birds if they come back. Maybe they'll at least take some of them. Sadly, though, if they left them there, I rather doubt they'd be good caregivers. You can do it, Dave!
  5. Carolyn

    Carolyn Songster

    Apr 6, 2008
    Are there not waterers or feeders in with the chickens? Are they grown chickens? Can you find out if they were free ranged? Chickens need feed, water and a safe area so predators won't get them. At night they need to sleep in a place that is safe from predators because once they go to sleep anyone or anything can easily pick them up and do whatever.

    These chickens have obviously been living here so if you feed them, water them, put them in their coop at night, collect their eggs daily they should be okay. Are there some feed bags around so you can figure out what they have been eating. If not hens need laying pellets or crumbles; a mixed flock (different ages) needs flock builder and oyster shell calcium for the hens; if they are young chickens they need starter. The feed store can help you. Rural King, Tractor Supply, Co op and feed stores are places you can buy feed. You may be able to let them out during the day and put them up at night. They can eat what they want and will return to the coop about sundown. If you can find some eggs I recommend you put them in a pan of warm water. If any float to the top, carefully throw them away (they are too old and not safe to eat.) If they lay or sit on the bottom of the pan they are safe to eat. Break one and notice the yolk color. It will be darker than the yellow of a store bought egg. If it is very dark orange yellow they probably are free ranging and it should be safe to let them out during the day time.

    I would not worry about their housing and roosts right now. They have been living there and are used to it. It will be easier if there are boxes with clean straw or other nesting material for them to lay their eggs. If they don't have those then you need to figure out where they lay the eggs and worry about trying to get them to use nests later.

    It would be wise to know what kind of chickens you have if you plan to sell them. You can take pics and post here, look at pics on here or elsewhere online. Or you check books or hatchery catalogues to figure out what you have. If you really don't want them or care you can advertise on here or on craiglist, etc and someone will take them off your hands.

    If you hang around here you will realize we love our chickens. They can pets and very entertaining. In addition to supplying eggs and being edible, they eat lots of bugs and weed seeds.
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    If you give your location on here, you probably will find help close by. We don't know where you are. Matter of fact, I don't have a clue where 99% of the folks on here are.
    So much secrecy. Wow.
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I live in Hayward, CA

    I'm on the east coast so not familiar with Hayward. Anyone around there? Maybe they could give Dave a few pointers and see what troubles he's having or what needs fixing. Surely the owners left some feed there, unless they've already run out.

    Really, though, Dave, it's not hard to care for chickens. Age-appropriate feed for the function of the birds (laying hens vs just game roosters) and lots of fresh, clean water are the most important things.​

  8. daver

    daver Songster

    Mar 11, 2011
    Linden, NC
    Find the where am I? Where are you thread on this website. Find your state, you should be able to find some help there. BYCers who are close by.

  9. Close Feed And Supply
    727 Industrial Pkwy West
    Hayward, CA 94544

    ETA: could also be known as Concord Feed

    ETAA: Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing?
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  10. DaveBoy

    DaveBoy In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2011
    Gosh, thanks for all the great help. My only previous experience with chickens was with what you would call a "feral" chicken that adopted my mother-in-law's place and it would attack anyone and anything. Of course that made me reluctant to step into this enclosure but I screwed up the courage and rather than attack, they all scurried to the far corners of the enclosure. I did find a nearly full water container that automatically puts water into a bowl so that's good. There are no roosting boxes but there are places where they've obviously "sat" though I saw no eggs. I also found no sacks of food but did see some stuff that looked like large seeds scattered around on the ground. They're all hens - I assume layers since the previous owners had a home business making tamales and other items they sold in local stores. They had a couple of roosters but Animal Control made them get rid of the roosters some time ago because of neighbor complaints. The property is almost an acre and is zoned for chickens and a couple of goats or a horse but the neighbors that abut the property are all "city folk" on postage stamp lots and don't appreciate these things. The chickens are a variety of types - some red, some black, some speckled so I'll have to do some research to determine what they are.

    Darn, I'm becoming attached to them already (now that I know they won't attack) so I'm starting to hope the owners have abandoned them. Geez, twenty chickens (twenty-two to be exact).

    Much thanks again for all the information.

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