mnikkkkkkStray Chickens and now one is laying eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Newbie2Chickens, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. Newbie2Chickens

    Newbie2Chickens New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2009
    I'll try to make a long story short...

    I live in a semi-rural county in VA. I believe that we had neighbors that were renting a house. I think they had chickens and guinea hens and when they moved, they left the birds behind. I didn't know them and I don't know for sure that the chickens/guineas were theirs. Anyway, the chickens spend a lot of their time at our house. We feed the birds and wildlife so we began putting chicken scratch in our seed mixture. The chickens and guineas roost in trees between the two houses. There were 2 roosters but there was a big fight one day and one beat up the other so badly that the "loser" had to be euthanized. There used to be more guineas and chickens, but in the last few years, the numbers dwindled. The chickens used to come to our house on occasion, but now they're here everyday...which is another reason I think they were abandoned.

    So now there's one rooster and maybe 3 or 4 hens, and 2 guinea hens. Last week, to our surprise, we found eggs in a somewhat protected corner of our front porch. As the days went on, there were a few more eggs, but no chicken...eventually there were about 8 eggs or so. Now all of a sudden, there's a hen laying on the eggs...and she hasn't budged an inch. We also found about 6 eggs in the bushes in front of the porch. We had some chicks with the chickens last year..I don't know if this hen is one of the newer hens or if she's an older more experienced hen.

    So my questions are these. Since at least some of the eggs were left for several days without incubation, could she really be incubating them? Could some be viable? She had no real nest under her or the eggs...she just seems to have grabbed miscellaneous scraps and twigs and put them around her, not under as far as I can tell. I've put some chicken scratch in a pile next to her...and some Timothy Hay (as a last resort) close so she could fluff up her nest a little bit. I don't know if I should take some of the eggs away, and if I do, I hate the thought of taking fertilized eggs from her. Should I remove the eggs from the bushes too? I don't think those are being layed on, as of last night anyway. I'd like to do the right thing by the chickens and guineas...but I'm not familiar with chicken care at all. Should we build them a coop or just a sheltered nesting and resting area..since they haven't been confined for some time now. Is chicken scratch enough food for them? Especially the hens if they're laying eggs? Should we be putting anything else out there for them? We do put vegetable, fruit and grain/bread type table scraps out for the wildlife.

    We are animal lovers and we are more than happy to be the chickens foster parents. My husband will happily build a coop or open shelter for them. We have a dog and cats....house pets only. I've had pet birds in the past, but not chickens. I've worked at veterinary clinics, but never had clients bring chickens in, so I'm at a loss when it comes to chicken know how. We live on 2 1/2 acres of mostly wooded land. My husband built a medium sized cascading pond with fish in the side yard where we feed the wildlife (and chickens). That's where the chickens hang out when they're at our house, and I'm guessing it's now their main source of water and food.

    I didn't do a very good job of keeping it short, I'm just trying to give you guys enough info. I have a blurry picture of the chicken on the eggs, behind the broom and stroller..lol.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Newbie2Chickens

    Newbie2Chickens New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2009
    oops...sorry for the crazy miscellaneous letters in front of my post title...my toddler must have hit the keys and I didn't notice...LOL
     
  3. Chicks_N_Horses

    Chicks_N_Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    South Alabama
    LOL @ your toddler hitting keys ~ I have one of those who loves to run by and tap on the keys [​IMG]

    If it were me I would let her sit and try and hatch them....maybe candle them to see if they are still viable. Then, I would put her in a coop when they hatch if you want to keep them or she will just have them follow her off when they hatch.

    I always put a little dish of food and water by my hen that sits so she can have food and water when she wants it.

    Interesting story [​IMG]
     
  4. Newbie2Chickens

    Newbie2Chickens New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2009
    Thank you Chicks N Horses. So you think I should just put her in the coop, with any chicks that hatch? If some hatch and some don't, I assume she'll leave the unhatched ones behind so she can tend to the chicks. Is plain chicken scratch all they need?

    It is an interesting story, and sad that the chickens were apparently left behind. And if the true owners are still around here, the chickens must like it better at my house..lol.
     
  5. Chicky Tocks

    Chicky Tocks [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2666.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Ru

    Oct 20, 2008
    Benton, Arkansas
    Lucky you! There's no telling what you'll get if she hatches them. [​IMG] Instant flock!

    Any scraps from your kitchen will be good for the chickens and will also help to bond them to you. They'll need more than scratch. Scratch is considered a treat. You can find chicken pellets at your local farm supply store. Layer pellets are what I use, but my hens are all grown.

    I would remove the eggs from the nest that is not being sat on. Watch for more eggs to be laid there and when found, put them in your fridge and have them for breakfast or just bake with them.
     
  6. Newbie2Chickens

    Newbie2Chickens New Egg

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    Apr 11, 2009
    How long is an unicubated egg good when it's been outside or unrefrigerated? And what if the eggs are all fertilized, but only some are being layed on, are unicubated fertilized eggs ok to eat? I've never had fresh layed eggs before.
     

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