integrating commercial layer with flock- questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SOchick, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. SOchick

    SOchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2009
    Georgia
    I hope this goes here. I acquired a new hen, she is a commercial grade pure bred White Leghorns from a breeder who is developing a new line of layers for the vaccine industry. She was kept in a pen, under lights, with 50 hens and 5 roosters in the cage. She has no feathers on her back due to heavy breeding. She looks really pathetic with no feathers and a dubbed comb and stubby beak!
    She was blood tested for all kinds of diseases (all negative) right before I got her, so because she is used to the lights, and has no feathers on her back, I put her in the pen in my garage with my 9 week old pullets who I still have heat lamps on (yes, spoiled). I thought this would be better than outside and almost naked [​IMG] Also, when I got her, they mentioned that because she was in such a controlled environment, that she is much like a chick in that she was not exposed to other chicken 'stuff'. This also factored in my decision to put her in with the chicks. Unfortunately, she will be eating medicated chick crumbles during this time. So far she seems to like the chicks, they are getting along well until she tries to roost and they peck her toes hanging over the roost pole.


    My questions-
    How long will it take for her feathers to grow back?
    Due to the medicated feed, I plan on scrambling and feeding back any eggs I get from her during this time, but what is the withdrawl time after I switch foods to non-medicated so I can start eating her eggs?

    After her feathers grow in, and the chicks are a little bigger, I plan on acclimating them to the outside, and then moving them outside with my 2 big girls, they will have a coop and a large fenced backyard to roam. Any advice in acclimating the leghorn to people and freedom is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Your medicated chick feed is probably medicated with amprolium? (Check, b/c the following assumes it is, since that is commonest in North America for feedstore chick starter). A quick google shows that in Europe various amprolium products are approved for zero withdrawal time use w/r/t eggs; some other sources list withdrawal times between 2 and 19 days. I would think your situation would be towards the lower end of the spectrum as the feed has amprolium in a lower dose than if they were actually being *medicated with* large doses for an acute coccidia problem. But, in the end I think it comes down to personal choice. Do your 9 wk old chicks still actually need medicated feed though? I've always taken mine off sooner. Dunno.

    Her feathers may not grow back til her next molt, which could be soon but could easily be "not til next summer or fall"; you might think about sewing/buying her a saddle if you think she will be cold or pecked-on (or two saddles, so one can be on her while the other is in the laundry).

    Good luck, have fun, she sounds like a lucky chicken to be going to live with you!,

    Pat
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:How wide is your roost - if it is less than 4" or so, making it wider like that might help, as she'll be able to cover her tootsies with her tummy feathers and they will be less accessible to poking at.

    Pat
     
  4. SOchick

    SOchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2009
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    Thank you Pat!
    It is medicated with amprolium, I was thinking of switching to flock raiser soon anyway, I just opened a 50 lb bag, so will probably do that when its gone. This is my first time raising chicks, so I may be a little overprotective. Wow- I didn't realize she could be naked for almost a year! The saddle sounds good- thanks!
     
  5. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    I've gotten hens like that in the past. You're going to have some fun with that girl! You'll get to watch her learning to be a chicken, as in the first time she gets to scratch in the dirt, the first time she gets to take a dust bath, the first time she walks in real grass, the first time she gets a Real Grub or other wriggly critter that teaches her to catch Real Food!

    Pat's got it right. Go with the saddles and the wider roost.

    And YOU'VE got it right, too, putting her in with the younger girls.

    Keep posting progress reports on her. Rescued critters never forget where they've been. And they never forget who got them out.
     

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