New chicken parents with questions!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BarkerChickens, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    We got 6 pullets (3 barred rocks and 3 Ameraucanas) a few weeks ago....our first ever. Essentially, they are pets with benefits (eggs). They are about 5 weeks old now and appear very healthy and full of energy. Right now, they are outside in their coop and run area during the day and in the house at night (to keep them out of the cold). We've been feeding them chick starter and they LOVE foraging in our garden for weeds and bugs. Since our property has NEVER had chickens here before and they appear healthy now, is there any reason we need to get them medicated feed? We want to raise them organically and don't want to over-medicate them if it isn't necessary. Also, while in the house, they are in a large dog kennel which we lined with alfalfa and shredded paper. So far it has worked great, but tonight two of my hens decided the paper was more tasty then the food. I decided to remove all the paper and leave the alfalfa to prevent any problems. As I was doing so, Gabby decided she wanted the paper and tried to take it from me. My first thought was she wanted to build a nest with the paper until she decided to eat it instead. Do I need to worry? Is she lacking something in her diet or just learning what she can and cannot eat? Until I hear otherwise, I am banning shredded paper from them!
     
  2. tree_78

    tree_78 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2007
    Livermore
    I am also new to the baby chick world and look forward to hearing others' replies.

    For myself, I allowed the shredded paper because it was quicker and easier to put in the dog kennel that I kept them in during their first two months. I would not worry about their eating a little of it. I also started putting kitchen scraps in with them, which they enjoyed (lettuce, spinach stems, broccoli, etc.) - anything organic.

    I, too, am wanting to raise organic chickens to be as healthy as possible. I have recently moved my 2-month olds to their coop and one of three, has developed some illness. It is very traumatizing. She's indoors again while the other two are happy. I make them a pot of grains every week and add fresh dark flax seeds to the mixture. I have not medicated my chickens in any way.

    Hope this helps a little - good luck and congratulations on your new pets!!!!

    Tree
     
  3. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    First of all, welcome to the forum!! There is LOTS of great information here.

    I'd suggest pine shavings for bedding. They aren't as likely to eat it. Straw/hay can get nasty pretty quick because it isn't very absorbent, and eating hay can cause crop problems because it's so hard to digest.

    Pine shavings are very absorbent, have a pleasant odor and are fairly inexpensive. You can get a big ole bale of them for less than $10 at the feed store and it will last you a long while.

    Enjoy your chickens and welcome!
     
  4. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Thanks for the welcome! We'll look into the pine shavings then. So far they don't try to eat the alfalfa...just the paper!

    We compost our raw scraps, so lately, any greens (spinach, etc), onions, carrots, etc. that we have, we put into the food processor to finely chop it up. They now run to the gate door expecting food scraps or weeds. I've heard onions give their eggs an onion-y taste, but they love them and we figure they won't lay eggs for a few months anyway.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2007
  5. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Personally I wouldn't worry about medicated feed. In over 20 years I have never used it and never lost a chicken to a cocci or mareks problem. Reality is that most chickens die because of bad breeding practices (weak lines), filthy conditions or bad diets.

    We raise organic ourselves. Apple cider Vinegar in their water twice a week. Garlic in their food a few times a week. DE in the bedding. A clean coop and good food and you will be fine.

    Onion taste will only transfer if fed in quantity.

    Shavings are better than paper by far for bedding.

    Welcome to the forum!

    You will find lots of experience and points of view here. [​IMG]
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Yeah, don't worry about medicated feed now. It's too late really and they made it this far so they should be fine. Most medicated feed contain amprol which is not an antibiotic but rather a thiamine blocker to help prevent cocci. Good luck! I do suggest however, keep some amprol or sulmet on hand just in case they do get cocci as it can exist in soil due to wild birds.
     
  7. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Thank you so much! I will be sure to look into getting some amprol or sulmet to keep on hand. I didn't really think about wild birds. Also, since no one seems concerned about the paper eating, I won't worry to much about it. I'll just look at getting the pine shavings from now on. Also, just as a correction....I said 3 of my pullets were Ameraucanas ('cause that is what I bought), but after reading other posts on here, I believe we have 3 EEs. They all look like the Ameraucanas, but all have green legs, not slate.
     

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