I am new to chickens... need a little advice on behaviours & feeding!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mackland, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Mackland

    Mackland In the Brooder

    Jun 8, 2009
    Port Elizabeth
    Hi all
    I am in South Africa, and I have just got 2x Australorp hens. The one is 4 months old, and the other is 5 months old.
    I have noticed a number of sounds that I am trying to decipher. I can tell when they are pleased to see me - they run to the gate and make sqwarking sounds. But every now and again, they make a loud (very quick) PEEP noise. I get the feeling they are annoyed with somehting then? Is this correct?
    Another thing, I am having a hard time getting the right amount of food to them (they always seem hungry and I don't want to overfeed). I have the laying mix, and occasionally I add in a handfull of some hard corn mix during the day as they seem to like it. Also little treats like veggies and guavas. Tell me, what is the standard amount for 2 hens per day? Please work in cups, as I have no clue about working out ounces etc here [​IMG] I am feeding twice a day (breakfast and supper time)
    Okay, another question.. I will be getting 2x 1year old Orpington hens from a friend shortly as well. I guess it is okay to put them in the adjacent pen for a little bit and let them meet each other through the fence, and then put them together?
    Sorry for all the questions!
  2. patyrdz

    patyrdz The Madd Hatcher

    Feb 26, 2009
    Southern Pines, NC
    Hi and [​IMG] from North Carolina!

    The quick sound they make could be that they are annoyed or they sense a predator or threat around. Watch and see if they look toward the sky while doing this!

    As far as how much to feed them, I let mine free feed and they eat what they want when they want it. I give them treats at various times during the week. Some people do regulate the feed, but I never have. My chickens are not fat and never seem hungry. Maybe someone who does regulate the feed can chime in and let you know.

    The buffs your are going to need to be quarantined away from your chickens for a month or so to make sure they are not sick and do not infect your chickens if they are. Sometimes the stress of moving to a new home can bring on a hidden sickness that the owner was not aware of.

    Good luck on your chicken adventure!![​IMG]
  3. SushiLove

    SushiLove In the Brooder

    May 17, 2009
    South Jersey
    Greetings Nadine!
    I'm new to chickens as well. It will be a year in two weeks:)
    I let my gals feed themselves from a poultry feeder. I pour a bunch of food in and refill when necessary. I have it hanging up so they don't scratch out or kick dirt in the feed. It makes my life easier!

    As for when to place all the chickens together....
    I just gave my two older girls to my friend until fall so I can bond with my two chicks. The older gals would not stop trying to get at the babies through the fence. It became an obsession for the older hens to pace that fence and I could see they weren't going to settle down any time soon. So now the older hens are on vacation and the chicks get the run of the run and I can breathe a sigh of relief.
    I'm not saying this is what you should do Nadine. The BYC will have plenty of answers for you in regards to the whens and hows of hen/chick introductions.

    Good luck to you!
  4. joedie

    joedie Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    I also feed mine as much as they want. Just fill up the feeder and they'll take care of it! I believe the meaties are fed twice a day but layers as much as they like.
  5. Autumn Mama

    Autumn Mama Songster

    Mar 15, 2009
    British Columbia,
    I followed suggestions posted here as well, with regards to keeping feed available for them 24/7. Does your feed contain the right amount of protein for the age of the chick? I notice mine "gobble" the food. Even when I just skim the edge of the feeder with my finger, clearing out the pine shavings, they act as though as I've filled it with something fresh and wonderful! [​IMG]

    You may want to educate yourself about what diseases are prevalent in your part of the world, and while quarantining, watch for those symptoms. Your agricultural extension, or local feed co-ops should be able to direct you where to find out that info!

    I love "getting to know the girls" (and roos in our case). It is interseting to try to desipher their chicken-speak! Have fun with it all! We are in week #15 with chickens and it's been a blast!!! [​IMG]
  6. RendonRoo

    RendonRoo Songster

    Feb 7, 2009
    ft. worth
    The meaties are rationed food because if they have free choice they will eat themselves to death. They will gain weight so fast that their bones and insides can't keep up. Al least thats what i've read.
  7. SushiLove

    SushiLove In the Brooder

    May 17, 2009
    South Jersey
    As far as the peeping goes...if it's short and loud then somebody did something wrong. Mine make that noise when they step on each other or get pecked too hard.
    If it's continual, loud and ear piercing then they are calling out in distress. Mine make that noise when they can't see each other.
    I don't know the "there's a predator about" peep.
    My little roo saw himself for the first time in a mirror yesterday and he froze mid walk. No peeping that time.
  8. Uppity Peon

    Uppity Peon Songster

    My pullets sometimes make a "chook" call which I take to be an alert/possible threat warning. The other chicks will stop what they are doing and look around when they hear this. I'm still waiting for a rooster crow... I have 2 suspected roos.
  9. lunkerchicken

    lunkerchicken Songster

    [​IMG] from Cape Cod, MA!

    I have food and water both in the coop and run so they can eat/drink whenever they like. I also give them some additional treats throughout the week. Seems to be working so far~

    Welcome aboard!!
  10. Mackland

    Mackland In the Brooder

    Jun 8, 2009
    Port Elizabeth
    Ah thanks, everyone... I am having fun with this!!!

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