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Need info on what to expect from my chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by barg, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. barg

    barg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    I used to breed and keep parrots as pets.
    Im not sure how much of my old bird info will transfer to chickens.
    I have noticed that my chickens havent started talking yet, but they are only two weeks old [​IMG]

    Serious question: Can you clip chickens wings?

    I have a 1/4 acre yard with a 5 ft. chain link fence. I'm planning to build a coop for my new chicks as well as having a tractor type that I can move around the yard during the day in the summer.

    Will the chickens follow me to the main coop at the end of the day or are they more likely to try and jump the fence and make their escape.

    Grit: When I kept parrots there was alot of info that said they needed Grit and just as much info saying they didn't.
    In the end the most credable information indicated that grit was actually bad for them; I see the same divide on this subject in regard to chickens. It has been a few years but if I remember correctly, It was birds that eat a diet of seeds and do not hull them that needed grit.
    Your thoughts?

    As stated in my last post, I have 2 dominiques and 2 black australorps. My wife brought them home 2 weeks ago when they were about a day old.
    They seem to be doing well so far but i'm on a crash coarse on chicken info.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    P.S.
    stil cant find the spel chek buton on this websight :eek:
     
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    barg.....welcome to the group...there are many wonderfull people on here that have loads of info. I will try with what I know, to answer your questions.

    OK, grit...they dont need grit at such a young age, unless they are getting treats..and at 2 weeks, really they dont need treats yet. I waited untill mine were 5 weeks old to introduce them to treats, and then only boiled eggs.

    I clip all of my chicks wings, at about 5 months old...just remember, one wing will do. Throws them off balance so they cant fly.

    Once you put them in the coop...leave them inside for at least a week. Dont let them out in the yard at all. This way, they learn that the coop is home. During the first week...( by now they should be about 8 weeks old) train them that when you come in with a bucket....use the same one every time..they get food. Shake the bucket with a little feed..and call them..chick chick..or babies ( thats what I use) They will come to you, then feed. When you start letting them out...waite untill about one or 2 hours before dark...then right before dark, if they havent gone in ...get the bucket, and call them in. Mine follow me when I am out in the yard like puppies. Looking for treats.
    Good luck with your new flock...they bring hours of enjoyment.
     
  3. Hotwings

    Hotwings Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    Welcome to BYC. Your experience with parrots is a plus, but chickens are alittle different. I don't know if you need to clip their wings. Most of the heavier breeds tend to walk and run more than fly, but they can fly if they want to. Most chickens won't stray far their coop. They love to dust bathe, so it is a good idea to have some area where is dirt or sand so they can do that, it helps keep the mites down on their feathers. You can feed a chicken almost anything when they get older. They love bugs and such and they will forage around to get them. Around 5 months or so your pullets will be laying. My advise is to buy Storeys Guide to Raising Chickens. It is the bible of chicken info and a plus to have. You won't need grit if you are feeding them chick starter. When they forage they usually pick up stuff so I don't see the need for grit. Australorps are very pretty birds when they get older. I find them a quiet bird. Good luck with your new flock.
     
  4. daubernut

    daubernut Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2007
    When he got our eighteen one day olds we kept them in a large cardboard box in the basement. We suspended a lamp for heat and placed a towel over the top to keep the heat in. The coop had yet to be built cause we had to order the chicks before we moved onto our five acre property. The Co-Op here only does orders once a year. By the time the chicks were a month old their coop was built. We kept them inside mainly for warmth (we live in Nova Scotia) for a couple of weeks. On the outside we had a chain link dog run that kept the girls contained and protected. We let them out a couple of hours before sunset for forage - the rest of the time they got crumbs from the local Co-Op. I am proud to say we did not lose a single chick and all started laying that fall. We strung a light out to the coop in the winter - and it was a cold one- for heat and light. They continued to lay throughout the winter. We kept them inside the whole time and by spring the chickens just had to step down rather than jump off the perches - the poop was so high. We had heard we should leave the poop there over the winter to help keep the heat in. That year we let them roam freely. They were brutal on the flower beds so the following year we fenced them in. They have about 1/4 acre that they are contained in. It looks like a moonscape cause anything green that pokes through the soil is quickly consumed. There are fruit trees as well as a few evergreens in their run as well so they do get quite a bit of shade and protection from the eagles. Once we got the front yard fenced to keep the chickens out of the flower beds the girls were once again set free to roam. That is when we lost a number of girls and two roosters to eagles. Now we keep them contained in the 1/4 acre enclosure. We do not clip their wings but every now and then there will be a squabble and a couple will get over the four foot chicken wire fence in their quest to get away. The escapees simply follow me into the coop. They know where their sisters are and want to be with them and will stay close in case they are missing out on something.
    As for grit they eat dirt and small pebbles in their travels. I put out oyster shell for them just to maintain their calcium levels but not sure if they really do need it.
    Now when I need to replenish the flock I visit a farmer who free ranges his layer chickens for market. He usually kills his flock off just as they are about to go into moult. He can't afford to have them out of production. I only save a dozen or so but it is better than none I suppose. We lose a hen every now and then - we only have two of our original eighteen left. The eagles seem to be our worst wild preditor here - (I won't even go into the neighbours dogs).
     
  5. pansophia

    pansophia Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2007
    Minnesota
    I'd like to add on to this question - in regards to keeping the chickens in the coop for a week so they know where home is.

    We're building our coop with a small run on the ground level and coop below. Our plan is to leave the ramp open for the chickens in all but the worst conditions. (Predators are not a major concern in our area - very urban and haven't even seen a raccoon around!)

    For the first week do they need to be truly confined to the coop (upper level with roost, boxes, etc) or can they be in the very small attached run below?

    (Their extended run will be attached later plus we hope to let them free range around the yard when we're home with them.)
     
  6. daubernut

    daubernut Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2007
    I have found that they will usually go back in the way they came out.
     
  7. nikkimay

    nikkimay Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2007
    Pacific NW
    If the girls free range they shouldn't need any grit or calcium added to their diets - per our avian vet.
     
  8. Freebie

    Freebie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2007
    Bloomingdale, MI
    Quote:I have been wondering about this. I have never given mine any grit or anything other than their feed, and a few treats here and there. The older ones get their shells back when I boil them up some eggs. but other than that, they just eat and free range. and the shells are so hard. When I first started getting eggs and eating them, I could hardly break them, compared to store eggs, they are much harder. Now I am used to it though and the last time I had a store bought egg (it took my husband awhile to adjust to the fresh eggs) I almost broke the thing in half when I went to crack it. What a mess. lol
     
  9. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    I used to breed and keep parrots as pets.
    Im not sure how much of my old bird info will transfer to chickens.

    Firstly, I'm sure you know that birds will hide illness for as long as possible. A lot of diseases that chickens get are caught by all birds, parrots included. Things like bumblefoot and scaly leg mite and a lot of other things. Common sense is always good when keeping chickens too [​IMG]

    I have noticed that my chickens havent started talking yet, but they are only two weeks old wink

    I'm sure they're chirping, but they won't start to cluck properly until they are well into their teenage weeks.

    Serious question: Can you clip chickens wings?

    Yes, you can, but only do it on one side as it unbalances them. There's a good link here http://backyardchickens.com/LC-wingclipping.html

    I have a 1/4 acre yard with a 5 ft. chain link fence. I'm planning to build a coop for my new chicks as well as having a tractor type that I can move around the yard during the day in the summer.

    Will the chickens follow me to the main coop at the end of the day or are they more likely to try and jump the fence and make their escape.

    Grit: When I kept parrots there was alot of info that said they needed Grit and just as much info saying they didn't.
    In the end the most credable information indicated that grit was actually bad for them; I see the same divide on this subject in regard to chickens. It has been a few years but if I remember correctly, It was birds that eat a diet of seeds and do not hull them that needed grit.
    Your thoughts?

    Chickens that eat anything other than layers pellets need insoluable grit, that is, grit to help them grind up the food they eat. It is also a good idea to provide oyster shell as a source of calcium, and this is also sometimes referred to as (soluble) grit. However, it shouldn't be mixed into their layers pellets or they can injest too much of it, leading to kidney failure.

    As stated in my last post, I have 2 dominiques and 2 black australorps. My wife brought them home 2 weeks ago when they were about a day old.
    They seem to be doing well so far but i'm on a crash coarse on chicken info.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    P.S.
    stil cant find the spel chek buton on this websight yikes

    This still being a forum in development, I'm afraid that to my knowledge there isn't one yet.
     
  10. barg

    barg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    Thanks again for all the great information.
    And yes, I know birds do hide illnesses, I just wish I had the experience to know how chickens are supposed to act, guess that will come in time.
    My chickens seem to be active, eating , drinking, and clean vents so, hopefully i'm not missing anything.
     

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