I'm New, I'm New, and Don't Know What to Do!!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Greasydog26, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Greasydog26

    Greasydog26 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I'm new to the chicken scene and have a few questions that need to be cleared up and with all this chicken knowledge lying around I might as well use it! First question, should I keep food in both the coop and the run for the birds? Also, should I mix in grit and oyster shells or should I keep them both in seperate feeders, and can they be mixed together in one container? Got another one for ya, I know that chickens have a pecking order but my Dominequer and RIR won't hardly leave the other two younger birds alone. Is there something that I should do about this? Thanks for the help!!![​IMG]
     
  2. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC!

    I keep the feed in the coop and give the grit seperatelly. I would also give the oyster shell seperately but my flock isn't laying yet. I am sure there wiser people who have had chickens longer who will be along to help.

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There is usually no right way to do something with chickens where every other way is wrong. We keep them in many different conditions for different goals. Instead of one right way, there is the way we do things because that works for us. There are lots of other right ways.

    First question, should I keep food in both the coop and the run for the birds?

    This is a whole lot personal preference but how you manage them can make a difference. Some keep food and water in the coop only, some in the run only, and some both places. If you let them out pretty soon after they wake up, it does not matter. If you keep them locked in the coop for a long time after they wake up, they should have food and water available to them in the coop. If you are integrating chickens, it really helps to have food and water in both places so the birds being picked on can eat and drink without the bullies beating them up.

    I think the rest of it is personal preference. There are many different reasons people give for keeping food in one or the other. Some feed in the run to try to keep rodents out of the coop. Some feed in the coop because they think they are feeding fewer wild birds. Others give other reasons.

    Also, should I mix in grit and oyster shells or should I keep them both in seperate feeders, and can they be mixed together in one container?

    This one I do have a recommendation. Keep them separate. There is no reason to mix them. All chickens need a little calcium for body maintenance but hens that are laying need a certain additional amount of calcium for their egg shells. They can get that calcium from a lot of different places. If all they eat if Layer, they should get enough calcium from that for the egg shells. If they forage, they can get a lot of calcium from the food they eat. If you live in an area with a lot of limestone, they may get plenty of calcium from the gravel they pick up to use as grit.

    It never hurts to offer oyster shell on the side. There are plenty if circumstances where they need extra calcium for the eggs. But if they eat too much calcium, their internal organs have to work to excrete the excess. They can handle quite a bit, but those organs have to work harder to do it and it can damage those organs over time, just like excess calcium can cause you health problems. It does not hurt to offer it, but I see absolutely no reason to force something down their throats that can harm them.

    To me, grit is less risky but there is still no reason to force them to eat more than they need. The grit goes into their gizzard and is used there to grind up food. It also grinds against itself and eventually gets worn down to a fine enough sand that it is expelled from their body through their digestive system. Some of the hard gravel can last as long as a month before it is ground down enough to be expelled. Why fill their gizzard up with gravel and not leave very much room for feed? If you Google “impacted gizzard” you can see what might happen to chickens. That’s where their gizzard gets so full of sand and gravel that they can die from malnutrition. It is extremely rare and probably won’t happen to your chickens, but I see no reason to force chickens to eat more calcium or grit than they need.

    Got another one for ya, I know that chickens have a pecking order but my Dominequer and RIR won't hardly leave the other two younger birds alone. Is there something that I should do about this?

    Older birds instinctively beat up on younger birds when they invade their personal space. It’s a pecking order thing. Usually when a younger chicken invades the personal space of an older bird, the older bird will peck the younger, the younger runs away, and the proper social status has been preserved. It’s usually not a big deal.

    But chickens have died from this. If the younger bird does not run away, this is considered a challenge to the pecking order and it can get pretty vicious. They need enough space to get away. The younger quickly learn to keep their distance from the older. When they mature enough to establish a place on the pecking order, they will probably merge into one flock, but until then you usually see two different flocks. This is where feeding in the coop and run is probably a real good idea for you. The younger don’t have to challenge the older to eat and drink.

    Occasionally you get a hen (and it is practically always a hen, not a rooster) that is just a brute. She is mean and vicious. The younger running away is not enough. She may seek out to destroy a weaker chicken. This is pretty rare but does happen. A hen may chase a younger one occasionally instead of just pecking, but as long as the younger can run away, the hen will usually stop chasing pretty soon. The best things you can do when you are integrating chickens is to provide extra feed and watering stations, provide as much space as you can, and if space is a little tight, provide extra perches or things for young ones to hide behind or under.

    Unless you see blood drawn I’d suggest you just let them work it out. That’s just what chickens do.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Greasydog26

    Greasydog26 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for your help!!!
     
  5. Jenny1

    Jenny1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i was having problems with bugs when i had it in the coop....
     
  6. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    I keep it in the coop in the winter, out side of the coop the rest of the year.
     
  7. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As you using DE? Food grade DE in the coop, bedding and even a little in the food if you want should keep the bugs away (external ones, not internal parasites).
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  8. Mindychick

    Mindychick Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm new too, and the best advice I have gotten is on this website, and from the new addition of Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. by Gail Damerow. It my "Chicken Bible" LOL Oh and if you have a garden and free range like I'm doing the Free Range Chicken Gardens by Jessie Bloom is a must book too.

    Good luck from one newbee to another. [​IMG]
     
  9. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I keep feed/water in both my coop and pen(but they are separate) as for the oyster shell and grit separate ... mind you since mine are still young i have yet to provide any oyster shell as of yet.
     
  10. Jenny1

    Jenny1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ive gone through so much DE... dont know how to get rid of these !#$%^&*() flies.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012

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