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New chickens I "acquired"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by julnjake, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. julnjake

    julnjake Chirping

    Aug 20, 2011
    SW PA
    I pasted my intro from the intro board and left it with my questions and posted my questions in the proper areas, hope no one minds but I didn't want to just jump in with no one having a clue about me [​IMG]

    Hi everybody! I'm a newbie from SW PA. I live on 14 acres with my DH, 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 horse, and just newly added 19 chickens! My BIL (weenie) moved from his house beside my MIL and abandoned 20 chickens, 2 cats, and a dog! I've been wanting chickens but didn't want to spend the money on the chicks and the coop (we're in the process of rebuilding our barn and rennovating our basement right now!) So when hubby heard mom was having trouble feeding all the abandoned critters he said "Juli wants chickens!" and I said "Yes I do!" So we spent the evening rounding up 20 chickens and loading their "coop" in the bed of our pick up! Little did we know about chickens one week ago and we took the dog crates up to load them in, we put food in them and got 3 or 4 chickens but it certainly wasn't working to load the whole lot into! I asked DH if we could just pick them up and put them in but he said he didn't think so. After an hour or so I went to feed the poor kitties and suddenly I had 20 chickens at my feet! So I just bent down, picked one up and put it in the dog crates! We got most of them loaded fairly easily! There was a bit of chase and corner with the few remaining buggers but they're all safely here in their new home now!

    1. When should I expect the girls to really start laying? They were laying at their former home although I'm not certain how many were laying.... there was probably a dozen or more eggs in the coop when we got it but I have no idea when the last time someone had removed eggs from the coop. To my understanding about 12-15 of these girls were bought last year so that would make them 1-2 yrs old and their are about 5 or so that were bought this year. About 12 are either Rhode Island Reds or mixed breeds and their eggs are brown, the newer girls are leghorns I assume and their eggs are white and TINY! Oh and there are 3 that are grayish, black & white speckled, I don't have a clue what they are. I am getting about 3 eggs a day, one in the morning and two in the afternoon.

    2. Someone told me that a hen who is actively laying has a bright red comb not a dull one..... well some of my chickens dont have a comb at all, is that normal? I believe I have all hens as I have no crowers, however I do have one that mounts one of my girls and he/she is taller than the rest, but its always the same girl I catch him/her on top of, so unsure if its gay chicken, femine boy, or a dominance thing???? The he/she is one of the grays that I'm unsure of the breed.

    Thanks so much for this wonderful forum. Sorry if my very first post was overwhelming or not in the right place........

  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member


    Welcome, I loved your story.....I can just picture the collection of chickens around you when you went to feed the cats.

    A relocation would make the hens wonder about what was happening, and they should settle into their normal laying routine when they feel 'at home'. Especially since, I think I understand that you moved the coop too and they will have their same accomodations, just relocated.

    Once you have put 10-posts up, you can put pictures of your chickens in postings and experts on this forum will probably be able to ideitify the breeds for you. I think you can put pictures up right away on your BYC page, and maybe search on the the chicken breed chart here to see if anything matches your unknowns. Black and whte chickens can be a couple of differnt breeds. One of the most common is barred rocks or Barred Plymouth Rock to be more accurate, if you go to my BYC page, I have a couple there -- not great pictures though. Your leghorns may surprise you and lay big eggs. Small chickens can prodouce surprisingly big eggs, they are miraculous.

    Yes, there are breeds that have tiny combs and it is perfectly natural. I think they are called 'pea combs'. (I'm new to chicken keeping since April).

    Interesting about your maybe rooster, time will tell.

    Love your rescue operation. Have fun with your flock---you have a very enjoyable time ahead of you---and this forum will give you tons of information.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Welcome. First, take some time to read through the Basic Training 101 column on BackYardChickens home page. 99% of your questions you have and will have are addressed.

    Chickens need fresh water, a clean dry place to live, and good feed. I would feed them all Flock Raiser or All Flock, since some are laying and the younger ones have not started yet. Once all the birds are of laying age, you can feed a layer formula, if you wish, or just continue with Flock Raiser and offer oyster shells on the side and feed back their egg shells dried and crushed for the calcium they need.

    Nesting boxes need to be lower than the roosts where they sleep. You can use hay, straw or wood shavings in the boxes and/or on the floor of the coop. Elevate the feed box and the watering font onto a 2" or 3" patio block to keep them cleaner and less polluted with bedding materials.

    Leave them in the coop for a couple of days. This will focus them on this being their home and where they are to lay their eggs.

    Then, I'd keep them in their coop until noon, if possible, releasing them to range only in the afternoons and evenings for awhile. This keeps you from having an egg hunt all over the place, as most chickens lay before noon.

    Again, do read the Basic 101 information on BYC's home. It covers a lot of ground. Best wishes for you and your flock.
  4. GAchick

    GAchick Songster

    Apr 29, 2009
    Pembroke GA

    Yes the chickens should settle down and go back to their old laying habits soon. You are right, could be a dominance thing with the one hen that mounts the other.
  5. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Songster

    Feb 18, 2011
    Add a golf ball to the nesting box to help the girls know where to lay and get going. After changes it can take a little while for the girls to get going again. The grey, black and white speckled bird you speak of, could it be a Barred Rock. This is my Maude....

    Maude by Raven Wren Designs, on Flickr
  6. julnjake

    julnjake Chirping

    Aug 20, 2011
    SW PA
    Thanks for the replies!

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