Newbie here - so many questions...laying, pecking each other, DE


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 16, 2009
Southeast PA - near DE border
Ok here ya go -
We just got 6 chickens 2wks ago... a 9 mo silkie (she's sassy), a 9 mo polish, a 5 mo jersey giant, and three 5 mo brahmas.
The silkie and polish are laying - yeah! The jersey and brahmas have not started yet.

Last weekend, we added 4 RIRsex to the coop, they are about 9 months. We are loving the chickens and are so glad we made the decision. We have a good size 4x6 coop and a 9x12 run. we have not had them free range yet as we wanted them to get used to their new home.

OKAY, the week since we have gotten the 4 RIR we have gotten 3 brown eggs. Is their egg production lower because they are stressed about a new situation? Also, in the past week I have found a few yoke messes with a soft shell (brown) in the boxes or coop. I don;t know if these are RIRs or the 5 mo olds (new layers). I am a little paranoid that they have tasted these a little and may start eating the eggs. Since we have had them, we have given them layer crumbles, cracked corn, food scraps (breads, lettuce, fruit scraps) and some meal worms. I just bought some pellets and once the crumbles run out, i will be feeding them the pellets. Any insights, advice, suggestions, or do/don'ts?

Also, one of the RIR (Eva) is pecking the front breast of another RIR (Perdy). She did not come to our house like this and i have not witnessed any other chickens pecking at Perdy. All the feathers are gone from about a one inch area. Mites do not seem to be a culprit. Not sure what to think of this.

One more, i had read that putting some D Earth sprinkled in the coop can help with moisture, mites, and coop maintenance. i also read that you could add it to their feed. (is that right?) I bought the bag, it seemed to only talk about pest control around your house or garden. It was labeled "Insect Dust D.....Earth" from St. Gabriel Labortories. Is this the correct stuff to use?

Thanks so much for tolerating my newbie questions.



11 Years
Aug 19, 2008
Somerset, CA
Hi Mamaof10... I'm still very new to having chickens so I'm still learning myself. A couple of things though... I'd add crushed oyster shell to your chickens diet. I keep a of oyster shell in the coop at all times and the chickens and ducks just help themselves when they want it. It really helps with the soft shell problem.

I use DE very liberally in my coop, but it's extremely important that you only use FOOD GRADE DE. The pesticide or swimming pool types can be harmful to your chickens. Check the label on the package you bought. PermaGuard makes a food grade DE. You can always "google" PermaGuard for more info.

Sorry I can't help with anything else... I'm sure people with much more experience than I have will weigh in on your questions.

Good luck with your chickens... they're so much fun!

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