New Here and some questions (somewhat long)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mustangsaguaro, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    Hello all-

    I am new here and somewhat new to chickens. My husband and I have had chickens for about 6 months now. We live on a property where when we moved in the previous tennant left some of his chickens so I basically started feeding and taking care of them. When we moved on the property, there was one hen that had 10 chicks when we got there. They were probably born w/in a week of us moving there. Then there was also 2 young pullets maybe 3-4 months at the time. Now the 10 chicks (down to 8) are about 6 months old now and the other 2 are maybe 10-12 months. Of the ones that are 6 months I have 2 cockerels and 6 pullets. The 2 that are 10-12 months are also pullets. They all are free ranged and only get locked up at night due to I have heard that chickens will start laying eggs between 6-8 months old. I realize we are going into the winter and none of my youngsters have started laying eggs. Am wondering if they will just start laying come spring time? My one hen she was laying up until about 2 weeks ago, but realize she is now moulting.

    I don't necessarily want to breed, but mainly want the chickens for their eggs. I do want to have at least one rooster around. I know a rooster isn't needed in order for hens to lay eggs. However, what I am concerned about is b/c I have 2 cockerels and 6 pullets that are brothers/sisters I am worried about inbreeding. I was thinking about rehoming one of the cockerels and 3 or 4 of the pullets for some different hens. I think I may have found a home for the one cockerel and we are going to do a trade as he has some RIR's hens (the one he was going to give me is a White Rhode Island) and he wanted a rooster. Because I will be introducing a new chicken to the heard what is the best way to introduce her? I was thinking about keeping her isolated in a different pen for the first week to make sure she is healthy and there is nothing wrong w/ her then introduce her to the whole flock. Is this the best way to go about doing that?

    As for feeding chickens that are laying eggs I have been told that they need to be fed a layer type scratch b/c this scratch supposedly has the correct vitamin/minerals in it for them to lay eggs. I want to be able to keep my chickens as organic as possible and that includes what I give them to eat. Most of the commercial scratches/laying feeds out there have a lot of ingredients that I'm not to thrilled about, can someone make a suggestion as to where I might obtain better ingredients than the ones that are in the premixed/commercial feeds. I am located in the Bay Area of California, so that might help as to where I might be able to obtain my own ingredients and do my own mixing.

    Thanks
    Kim
     
  2. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2007
    Southeast Texas
    As for feeding chickens that are laying eggs I have been told that they need to be fed a layer type scratch b/c this scratch supposedly has the correct vitamin/minerals in it for them to lay eggs.

    The only thing I can tell you any info on is that the layer feed is feed it is not scratch. Scratch is a combination of several grains(like corn) that are kind of like a chicken treat more than feed, it has no protien to speak of. The layer feed comes in pellets and crumbles and has more calcium for one thing, that the laying hens need to produce eggs.

    I personally would not rehome pullets, unless you have more than you need. Hope that is of some help.

    Randy​
     
  3. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    As far as eggs go....with the age of your girls at least some of them are likely laying somewhere if they are allowed total free range.

    They are pretty good at hiding their eggs...
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If you have no plans on hatching chicks, don't worry about inbreeding. They will breed but you don't have to make more chicks from them and the eggs will be fine.

    As for introduction of birds, don't forget to quarentine them.

    For food, a good layer feed and a hand full of scratch at night before bed time IF it is cold would be best. Free choice oyster shell will also be benificial. With such short days now, laying will be down unless you up the lighting.
     
  5. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Rhode Island Whites are really rare AFAIK, so grab onto it with both hands!
     
  6. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    Quote:I know b/c I do free range my chickens they could be hiding their eggs. However, I've gone around the whole property including in the coop where they get locked up at night and have found nothing.

    The one hen who was laying pretty consistently for awhile was laying in the coop then one day I had my tack room open that I have my hay in (I have horses too) she started laying in there. I guess she felt that her eggs were safer in there. Is it possible for chickens to lay more than one egg a day? I ask b/c this one hen who was laying in my tack room a few months ago I went in there to look for eggs and one day there were no eggs in there, and the next day there were 2 eggs and she was the only hen I saw going into the tack room.

    Kim
     
  7. pipermark

    pipermark Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2007
    Arkansas
    Feed - Organic feed is hard to come by, however Purina makes a good vegan feed.

    http://www.purinamills.com/OurProducts.aspx?product=poultry


    Your question about eggs, seems you pretty much answered it yourself, except one.

    Can a bird lay 2 eggs in one day, according to the chicken anatomy books I have read, it isnt biologically possible. Having said that, I have read posts on this site where people swear their chickens have done exactly that.

    My guess is that another bird went in there and you just didnt see it.


    Introducing a new bird, your methodology is sound, I would just increase the time period to a month. Also, if you can, before letting it lose in there , if you can crate it an put it in the pen that way, so the other chickens can be around it , see it, before actually being able to attack it, that sometimes limits the conflicts. Lastly I usually put a new bird or bird in at night , I sneak it on the roost, so they all wake up in the morning together.

    * Line breeding - not really that big of a deal, If your not attached to the roosters, then one time makeing sure they are not blood connected might be worth it, but again, probably ok.

    Down the road, if the overall egg size starts to diminish, get some new blood in.

    *this answer was based on birds for pets not for show.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  8. Wooden_Pony

    Wooden_Pony Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Kim,

    First I want to say "Howdy Neighbor!!" and I really mean we are neighbors I am in Morgan Hill! LOL

    Have your tried "Feather Heaven Feedstore" here in Morgan Hill? It is on Monterey Road. They mill their own feed. Nice stuff and they have great prices as well, it is what I feed my girls.

    As for your eggless pullets they are about the same age as mine. Mine are going through a heavy molt so we also are not and have not been getting eggs from them. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will start by the end of next month hopefully yours will as well. One of my Pullets faces are turning red and one of our hens comb has grown, you can actually see it [​IMG] . Maybe you can keep them locked up for a few days to see if they are laying eggs and hiding them really well...

    Lisa
     
  9. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    Hi Lisa-

    It's great to know someone else from here is in my neck of the woods.

    Quote:I have gotten my feed from Feather Haven, but would really like to go more organic. I know they do mill there feed. When my chicks were young and needed to be on a higher protein feed I did buy the higher protein crumbles from them, but then when I saw what the ingredients were on the bag, one in particular ingredient (ethoxyquin), I took the bag back for a refund. I refuse to feed anything that has ethoxyquin in it.

    Quote:I did try locking the chickens up one day I let them out of the area where they get locked up at night, and closed the door to the main coop. However, in the back of the coop there really isn't a good roof and my guys like to fly. At night I usually have a bunch of them in the trees and have to get them down. I have determined I think I am going to clip their wings to try to prevent them from flying up in the trees at night.

    Kim
     
  10. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Kim,

    If you are going to still allow them free ranging during the day, I'd be leery about clipping wings.

    That may keep them out of the trees at night, but will seriously restrict their ability to escape a predator also.

    My recommendation for getting them in the coop at night is to find a way to shut them in there for a few days and nights. That usually works to get them to go to bed on their own, even though they aren't happy for a few days. It won't harm them to keep them up for a few days short term for long term benefit of knowing they are safer at night.
     

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