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new chicken flock, would like opinions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vsmenagerie, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. vsmenagerie

    vsmenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found a flock of 20 hens and 2 roos on CL for free. I went and picked them up, to find quite a few with no tails and bare spots. They had been free ranging, but then the guys wife went out of town for work and they kept getting into the shop and stuff, so he put locked them in their pen. Said shortly after, he noticed they were picking at each other and their egg production dropped quite a bit. He is going out of town as well, and thats why they were rehoming them.

    I picked them up on weds of last week, so the 7th. The run here is much bigger then the one they had, so is the coop. I picked up some BOSS, laying hen feed, and he gave me all the feed they had left. Some dark colored pellets, scratch and red wheat. So far, Ive gotten 11 eggs since the day I got them. They dont seem to like the wheat, until I sprouted some for them and they went nuts over the bit I gave them this morning lol They have loved the scraps Ive given them as well. I also gave them some electrolyte/vitamin water *I have a package of durvet here I used with the chicks* for the first couple days.

    Just curious if there is anything else I should be doing? Im seeing feathers growing in on some of the hens. but Ive also found quite a few feathers scattered through the run. Would it be possible they could be molting? Is there a certain time of year they do that or?

    Im not positive on age, other then I know they are all of egg laying age. Im sure they are still stressed out, with getting locked up, then taken from their home, and put into a new place. So I just want to make sure I do the best I can for them [​IMG]

    Going to try to get new pictures but they are still wary of me. I sit in there in the evenings and hand out BOSS though, so they are coming around lol

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  2. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would say you are doing great and those are some lucky chickies - glad you found them. A lot of chickens do start to molt as the weather gets cooler - and sometimes just the stress of a new environment can cause a molt. Just don't overdo the treats and be sure to provide them with oyster shell and grit - free choice. I got these little divided cage cup things at Walmart (I think they are for parrots), and they attach to the wire in my covered run - I put the oyster shell in one side and the grit in the other. I use 2 since I have 21 chickens and that way everyone gets a chance.

    They look very happy in their new home.[​IMG]
     
  3. vsmenagerie

    vsmenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do have oyster shell in there for them. I will make sure to add some grit too! We did just add some crushed rock to the area outside the coop door, since its just dirt and I didnt want to walk in the mud going in and out lol

    Thanks [​IMG] Ive been doing a ton of searching on here the last few days, just doubling checking things. Love this place [​IMG]
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Yes, they need some grit if they aren't free ranging and you are offering whole grains/seeds IMO (unless you have little sharp pebbles in the soil). Looks like you have some nice chickens there!

    My chickens have been molting already and are getting some nice new feathers now gradually. The other thing I would recommend is to dust them for mites/lice and repeat in 10 days with poultry dust since they are new to you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  5. vsmenagerie

    vsmenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2011
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    I do plan on picking some up. He said that he was putting Sevin? dust in the sand they bathed in, but I definitely think it needs to be done again. So just go to the feed store and ask them or is there one that is better? Can I add it to where they seem to dust bathe or should I try catching them to dust them? I have chick grit here that I can put in, will that work for right now? I know there is rock in there but I'll the grit to be on the safe side! its not like its super expensive.
     
  6. Uniontown Poultry

    Uniontown Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's a nice looking flock & it looks like you're doing all the right stuff for them. Some of them (esp that girl with 1 or 2 tail feathers) look like they are molting, which would also explain their lackluster egg production under previous owner. The feathers in the pen also would indicate molting rather than picking - since with picking there is usually blood. One way to check would be to pick up one of them and just give her a once-over: look under wings, around the neck & see if there are feathers that look thin & deteriorated. Since these areas are not frequently ones chickens pick, the sight of these feathers in poor condition (or new ones growing in) should make it safe to conclude it's a molt rather than picking. Many (but not all) chickens molt in the later months of summer through fall (roughly July - October) and the molt itself may take a month. Lots of novices dump their birds at the start of a molt just b/c they don't know that's the reason the hens have stopped laying. I got a flock of Welsummers one time under similar circumstances to yours (and my one hen, Molly, had 1 tailfeather on her!).

    When my gang is molting, I like to throw them some extra protein - a little high-quality dry cat food, cottage cheese, even old eggs can give them that protein boost they might need for feather production. There's probably a thread here on molting that would provide much more information.

    Bless you for taking on this flock and giving them a good home. In a month or so, they should be rewarding you with tasty eggs. And you'll have the satisfaction of knowing how much you helped them. [​IMG]
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Well putting it in a dust bath will work but if you think you have an active problem you might want to do like me:

    I wear a mask and gloves (take shower after)- long sleeves are good:
    Put chicken in cardboard box lined with large trash bag (to catch the dust).
    Turn chicken on it's back.
    Take poultry dust (or 5% sevin as ohioline.edu says) which you have placed inside tied off sock or stocking and powder under the wings, vent area, and everywhere except the face.

    Repeat in 10 days or so:
    http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html

    This works for me and if you don't retreat the hatching eggs will make it come back.

    (Edited to reflect info on ohioline.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  8. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They probably are bare if they were all of a sudden confined to a small enclosure. That would induce picking. Also if they are molting that could add to it.

    Since it sounds like you have them in a bigger pen, and one with a dust hole for them to dustbathe in their feathers should be grown back in in time for winter.

    Also, yes, now until oct-nov is the typical time for molting.
     
  9. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Loveland
    To me in the pics of the tailless ones it looks like picking. The larger run and treats for them to scratch for will help. I myself picked up 4 little pullets that had no tails. That was in late July. Now mine have already grown them back. I think you will be surprised how fast they will recover.
     
  10. vsmenagerie

    vsmenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have seen a few thin or bare spots on necks, on the black rooster as well. I know there was some sores, on the EE roo, his tail, well, where it goes [​IMG] has some scabs, but I havent seen any fresh blood, and Im down there at least 2 times a day, and if I drive by, I stop as well. There are new feathers growing in too. I will make sure to give them cottage cheese or something as well, I know they will like it. They are learning that when I come, I will have something, even if its just a few sunflower seeds lol I had made a beef roast the other night and let them have the bone, which they picked clean. And I picked up a small bag of BOSS to hand out when I go in.

    Its good to know all my reading on here has helped! Thats how I wondered about molting, since I knew with stress, they could slow down in laying, but all the feathers had me wondering.

    I havent tried catching anyone lately, mainly because when I picked them up, it was during the day and they decided they didnt like me, after I had to chase them into the coop and snatch them. Then stuck them in boxes in my car [​IMG] They come really close now when I toss out the sunflower seeds, so I have been able to get better looks.

    Thanks again everyone! I cant wait to see them all feathered back up.
     

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