NEW TO KEEPING HENS

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by HeatherandSteve, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. HeatherandSteve

    HeatherandSteve New Egg

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    Hi guys, so glad we found this site, although to late for one of our girls, who we believe we lost this evening to being egg bound. She had slept in the nest box last night and we thought it was because big red was henpecking her, but today her tail was down and she seemed to be struggling to lay. I found this site, got lost of information and Steve went out and brought her in. I got my gloves and gel ready, but the poor girl just died in his arms, we are heart broken and so upset at ourselves for not realising earlier that she was having idffiuclites. I have checked our other seven hens whom seem to be ok at present, although our egg laying is down by three per day this past week, we thought becasue one of our Standard Poodle dogs accidently got into their run and they were stressed, I may add he did not do any of them any harm just jumped about like the header he is. We had thought of giving the hens some tums/ calcium tablets first thing in the morning as they leave there coop to try to make sure that they all lay tomorrow. If any of you have any suggestions we would greatly apprieciate them, as we are new to keeping hens, being city people who have moved to the country and know so little about caring for our girls, yet want to do the best for them I do think we are over feeding the girls and intend to weight their feed from tomorrow on. Our hens are big girls, laying big eggs, so estimate 100 gms of complete point of lay pellets per hen twice per day, we also have some complete maize perhaps 50 gms per hen, is this still to much?
     
  2. Jucodeo

    Jucodeo The Sky is Falling!

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    HeatherandSteve I just wanted to say I am so so so sorry about your hen. I think about your food situation you should decrease the food to a little more than half. This will give the hens time to adjust while not starving them. They may act like babies at the beginning like most humans do on diets, but eventually they will succumb to the change and will be able to eat a reasonable amount of food. I almost started to cry when I was reading your post that was a very touching story, and it moved me so I thank you for sharing that with us. It must have taken some gut to be able to think about it let alone post it to us. Well I wish you luck with your hens and I want to welcome you to our roost. Since you seem like experienced raisers I wont leave any links but ask as many questions as you wish and feel free to explore the site! I wish you and your flock even the recently deceases [​IMG] the best of luck!
    Justin [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Oh I am so sorry about your hen. [​IMG] Don't beat yourself up thinking you should have known what was going on. Keeping chickens can be trial and error many times. We don't always know what is going on in our flocks. All you can do is your best. And as you keep them for a while, they will teach you what you need to know. But the learning never does stop. My flock seems to teach me something new all the time.

    In the future, the number one cause of egg binding is dehydration. If they go without water too long because they knock over the waterer or they are being bullied away from the waterer, the oviduct dries out and the egg sticks.

    If they are eating enough of their layer feed, they should be able to pass plenty of eggs even without oyster shell, although it helps to keep it around in case somebody needs more.

    Genetics can be a big factor...if momma had a lot of egg binding, so can the offspring.

    Some birds get bullied while laying too which can cause a hen to be unable to pass her egg. In which case, add some curtains for privacy and cage bullies.

    As hens age, their eggs get bigger. And some older hens lay such big eggs, they can get stuck, especially if the bird is a bit dehydrated.

    Stress of any kind can cause soft shells, no shells and even egg binding. The dog may have caused some stress for a short time, but if no bird got hurt, the birds should have gotten over this stress pretty quick.

    Anyway, I am very sorry you lost her. Just make sure everybody has access to water and add more waterers, especially during the summer when chickens need huge amounts of it and can't afford to be bullied away.

    Great to have you aboard and we do welcome you to our flock!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. HeatherandSteve

    HeatherandSteve New Egg

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    Thank you for your response, we have a large water container, which is always filled, but had put a natural wormer in it for a couple of days and the hens seemed to drink less water, so we went back to plain water today. We do have a couple of hens that are bullying one or two of the others by plucking the feathers from the back of their necks and chasing them from the food until they are finished, is there anyway of stopping this behaviour?
     
  5. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi and welcome to BYC I am glad you could join us.
     
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Yes, it is possible the wormer in the water had them drinking less and hence the bit if dehydration.

    The behavior you speak of is common in every flock. Including my own. The lower ranking birds get chased every time they eat. The only way to reduce this behavior is to put out more feeders and waterers. I have several places to eat and drink so that everybody can feed in peace. Generally the flock will hang out together where ever they are, but if there are other places to eat and drink, the lower ranking birds can sneak off and get nurishment. The higher ranking birds can't guard all the feeders all the time.

    So add more feeders and waterers..it won't stop the behavior, but the lower in the order birds will get more chances to get food and water.
     
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    So sorry you lost your hen. Sometimes if a particular bird is causing a lot of commotion in the flock, it is better just to rehome them. They cause more stress to others, than they are worth.
     
  8. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
     
  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] I'm so sorry to hear about your loss!
     
  10. 7littlegirls

    7littlegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! Welcome to BYC! So sorry to hear about your girl.
     

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