I solved one problem but created another

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by perrypogue, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    So, for the month of May I got a feed bill of $60 ... well, I nearly choked and decided I had to do something different. As I live on an acre I elected to free range my chickens and quit buying feed. The wheat harvest was in full swing and I was able to get about 2 - 55 gal barrels of wheat.

    Since then my egg production has dropped from about 2 doz/day to about a half doz/day and the size has gotten smaller.

    And I've got 2 hens that won't leave the nesting box ... I assume they get down some time but I can't tell that for sure as I've not been able to find them off the nest.

    I know my granny never bought a bag of feed ... I'm putting out he wheat but they don't seem to like it too much ... they seem healthy but I'm no longer worried about the slow demand for eggs as I'm not getting enough to sell.
     
  2. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

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    The hens that won't leave the nest are probably broody. Are they making threatening sounds if anyone comes near? This can be disruptive to the others and may be keeping the others from laying in the other boxes. Since they are free range, the others may have set up a nest elsewhere.... I found a hidden nest in one of our sheds. I've decided to leave it since it is better than them hiding eggs in a new place that I can't find. I get eggs from it every day now.
    There are threads on broody hens and how to break the broodiness. Here's one that has helped me, there are almost a thousand posts, with all kinds of questions and answers. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/181289/how-to-break-a-broody-hen
    Also there are threads you might want to read on feed. People may tell you wheat is not a complete feed, but that being said, free ranging would supplement it. Mine eat almost no feed at all in the spring and summer.
     
  3. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    Thanks ... I had considered that this is the beginning of our very hot summers with temps close to 100 daily ... I suspected that would decrease production. The hens may well be broody but they don't make a sound. It was just dark last night when I thought I could check the boxes for eggs ... thinking the hens may go to the roosting bar at night. I could see one still on the nest but I was startled when I thought I was reaching into an empty nesting box but felt the hen ... I understand you can get eggs from under them but once when I tried that she got startled and fled which startled me.

    I feel better somehow from your reply ... guess I'll just stay the course.

    Thank you!
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Your birds are NOT getting adequate nutrition from wheat and 'whatever' in your yard. Free range is great, but they need access to a complete feed, and oyster shell, because that's just how it is. You can make your own feed, but it's actually more expensive then those bags at the feed store for almost everyone. Your granny didn't have birds with the genetics that you have in your flock. Mary
     
    2 people like this.
  5. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    I'm sure you're right Mary but that's going to be the way it is.
     
  6. Pendragonz

    Pendragonz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What you might consider doing to boost the nutrition from the wheat is sprouting and/or growing fodder with the wheat berries. Would not be hard to set up a system to do that and it might be the help that you are looking for. Good luck.
     
  7. Wolfstorm82

    Wolfstorm82 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 29, 2016
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    My hens are free ranged but always have a bucket of feed and a pile of oyster shellsto pick at. There are days they won't touch the feed and want only grass. Other days they will eat mostly grass but will top off their meal with some crumble and oyster shell.
     
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Are you asking for help?
    Feed the birds age appropriate feed for their proper health.
    Free ranging wont be enough.....
     
  9. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    I can let the wheat sprout and wondered if they might like it better.
     

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