Lots of questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nkpav, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. nkpav

    nkpav New Egg

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    Dec 3, 2014
    We have now had our little flock for a little less than 4 months. We got them at around a week old. They were just general hatchery chicks that were hatched in inner city schools by the extension and then were up for grabs for 4-H familys. We unfortunately lost one chick, but out of the 5 we for sure have 1 rooster, he just started crowing yesterday and sounds like a teen boy going through puberty. We will be re-homing homing him. We are guessing that the other four our hens based off of some opinions from some other 4-H'ers. The nesting box is currently blocked off, should we unblock it? Should we be switching their food over now, or wait until they start laying. We have two Austrolorp hens, a Rhode Island Red, and a Buff Orphington.
     
  2. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Generally speaking, at 4 months, their roosting habit should be well established. While opening the nest at this point should do no harm, you might as well just leave it. They probably have no use for it for another 1 to 2 months.

    As for feed, use up all the starter then switch to layers. They do not need the extra calcium yet, so no need to waste the starter.
     
  3. nkpav

    nkpav New Egg

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    We just ran out of starter today. Should we just get a smaller bag of starter or do another whole month or so of starter
     
  4. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    That is what I would do. And when they start laying and you still have starter, blend it with layer and let nothing go to waste.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You don't say where you are located. Cold winters? IMO, since your birds aren't laying yet, I'd go ahead and buy an other bag of starter, which is slightly higher in protein. They can use that extra protein during the cold winter months. Then I'd put out some oyster shell or crushed egg shells in an other container. They'll eat the extra calcium as needed, self regulating. Don't waste your money on those small bags of feed. And, the world won't end for your flock even if you do start them on layer before they have actually started laying. IMO, free range birds get way more calcium from the greens and insects that they eat, and most free range birds are on layer as well. If calcium were such an issue, you'd expect a lot of birds to be dropping dead from kidney failure in the summer.
     
  6. nkpav

    nkpav New Egg

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    It gets cold here, not horribly cold, but some nights are below freezing. We did install a heat lamp in there and have only had it on when its unbearably cold. Should we be providing supplimental light?
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    What do you consider to be unbearably cold? How big is your coop? What is the inside temp at it's coldest? What is your coldest outside winter temp? Most folks don't supplement heat. I am in zone 4 and gave my girls a flower pot heater last winter when the temp stayed below 0*F 24/7 for many days in a row. It kicked off enough heat to raise the temp a few degrees, but certainly was not a heat lamp by any stretch of the imagination. It can be more harmful to have a heat lamp in your coop, because they will be adjusted to the warmer temp. Then when they go outside, they step into an Arctic blast, and those extremes are more difficult to adjust to. Also, if you loose your power, and your flock is used to a heat lamp, they'll be thrust into an immediate temp change that they won't be prepared for. If chickens are carrying on their normal chicken activities in cold weather, they are fine. My girls actually stopped eating as much, and were obviously uncomfortable, thus the slight moderation in heat for them.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I like to feed an 'all flock' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat and have calcium available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    The higher protein crumble offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.
     
  9. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ditto on where is here. My area gets very cold too and I do not heat my coop. The only heat source are the birds and water warmer. Many further north also do not heat, while others do heat (making the keepers feel better).

    The supplemental light is for another purpose (egg production) all together.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Chicken Hound

    Chicken Hound Out Of The Brooder

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    Welcome and congrats on your new flock. This is my second year with chickens, I have learned much since I started. Chickens are hardy birds given reasonable shelter decent food and water they work it out. Just open the lay box before they start to lay so they know it there. Other wise enjoy and spoil your girls.

    Supplementing light should help them to lay during the winter months, I like to let them go thru there natural cycle and just deal with few to no eggs for a month or two.
     

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