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My new Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by marie_martin, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    I am new to the group and to Chickens and I have some questions. I am not sure what I have, but they are bantams. I was told they were ruby reds and also someone said they may be a nanking or mix. Not sure but they are small. I have a hen and a roo. They were sold as a breeding pair and they seem to be very close. I have constructed a coop that is about 5' X 4.4' and about 5 feet tall. I have a flat tin roof and of coursed the entire thing is covered in chicken wire. I put a door so that I can get in and out easily. I put a wide board accross the back about a foot or so from the top and put a ledge on the front of it so they can roost on it or she can get up there and sit in the hay and lay if she so chooses. I will try to get photos of the coop later. I have photos of the chickens but not sure how to post them. I can email them if anyone is interested. I was given a bag of cracked corn (guess that is what it is called, it is tiny pieces). So that is what they had the first day or two, and now I have gotten some laying pellets. What else do I need. I read something about oyster shell and about scratch? Do I need that? Is there any preventive medications I need to give them. They are healthy but had been picked on by a couple of larger coop mates so have lost a few feathers. They seem to be very close and do everything together. I have given them some bread (my kids don't like the edges so I let them harden a bit and gave them to the chickens) What else can I give them? Veggie scraps? Tomatoes? Fruit? How do you handle the ants. I noticed some around the feed bowl yesterday. We live in the south? Will the chickens eat the ants? Thanks for you help.

    Marie
     
  2. Southern Chickens

    Southern Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    433
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    Mar 11, 2007
    NorthWest Florida
    Seems like you are doing great. The pellets and corn is good. The scratch is just that for them to scratch the ground and eat that. It's just cracked corn and some other grains for them to pick at. I live in Florida and my chickens eat the ants. I don't feed mine oyster shells, I give them their shells back. They eat them and keeps the next eggs hard. My mom was raised on a chicken farm, so I have alot of OLD ways of doing things. The veggie scraps are OK, might mess up laying if you are going for the hopes of eggs. DO NOT GIVE THEM POTATOES! I don't know why, but it will cause them to stop laying for weeks! I give mine bread.[​IMG]
     
  3. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    Thanks. So feeding the oyster shell in not a have to. What about grit? Is that something they have to have? Is it sand? If I want eggs, I should avoid a lot of veggie scraps, is that what your saying? Thanks for responding. I know nothing. Any other helpful hints would be great. By the way, do I need to build a ladder to their roost/nest area? They seem to get up and down with no problem? It is only 4 feet off the ground. Thanks.

    Marie
     
  4. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    You don't need to give your pair any supplemental grit if they are allowed out to range, as they will pick up little bits of stone and tiny pebbles as they are foraging. Since chickens have no teeth to chew their food, the grit is what grinds the food up inside their crop. If you don't let them out, you will need to have it available to them.
    I give my laying birds free choice oyster shells, but I have also heard of people just feeding the eggshells, as southernchick says. Just make sure you don't have any diseases in your flock or you may be reinfecting them.
    As for scratch, I look at that as chicken candy. Don't feed too much to laying hens, as it doesn't give them what they need to produce well and promotes obesity, which makes laying harder for them. I mostly use it in the winter to get everyone moving in the morning, and I use it when I am calling everyone back to the coop to put them away. You'd be amazed at what you can teach a chicken to do when it knows you have scratch in your pocket!
     
  5. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    Thankd for the info. So can you use egg shells from eggs you bought from a store? I don't have any hens except this one and she is not laying yet I guess. I will remember what you said about the scratch. I did put a little sand inside the chicken tractor and they played in it and she appeared to eat a little of it. Guess that is about what grit is huh? I put some hay into her nesting area so I am hoping she will eventually lay. Is there anything else that you have learned that will help ensure that she lays? Thanks. Oh and I figured out that they are Black Brested (BB) Old English Game Bantams. Thanks.

    Marie
     
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    On the taters:
    You can't give them the skin off of "new" potatoes. Because they're part of the nightshade family, like Tomatoes, and Eggplant you could make your babies sick. Mine don't touch my tomatoes in the garden and I don't grow eggplant so I don't worry about that...
    A hen needs at least 14 hours of daylight especially if she is mature also known as "OLD" [​IMG]
    You'll know when she's ready to lay because when you go to pat her, she'll squat like she would for a rooster, and her comb and wattles will become brightly coloured. She'll also try out nesting places to see what is best for her to lay her egg.
    Oyster shell is good for them because of the calcium which they need for their eggshells and their own bones.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  7. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    I wouldn't feed eggshells from anywhere other than ones produced by your own hens. The chance of disease transmission is slim, but why risk it. I prefer oyster shells; they are cheap and easy to use, and when you leave them out free choice, they don't attract pests. If all you have is one hen, a bag of shells will last you for years.
    Of course, I know an avian vet who doesn't like using oyster shell, because he thinks that the oyster beds along the eastern seaboard are polluted. Sometimes you just can't win![​IMG]
     
  8. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    The lady I got the eggs from is the same lady I got the chickens from. So I think it was ok. She is a good friend too. I will look at the oyster shells though. I got the eggs from her because she has been giving us eggs that her hens lay since we did not have chickens. Like I said, I baked them too, so I feel like it was pretty safe. Thanks though. Like you said, you can't win, you just have to do what you feel is right I guess.

    Marie
     

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