Newbie needing Raising Chickens 101


7 Years
Nov 5, 2012
HI, I am new here. I had chickens when growing up but that was a long time ago. About two months ago I had a bantam hen just fly into my backyard which has a 6 foot high fence I don't know what breed she is or how old she is but she took up residence in my back yard. I started reading up on chickens and it said if you are going to have chickens you should have at least two.

So To go with my bantam(Bingo) i went and bought an Old English hen (Sandy) that was suppose to be six months old as a companion.BIngo had been giving me an egg every other day until I got Sandy. Sandy had not started laying eggs and they both started to molt and both quit laying.

They free range during the day in the backyard so they are getting enough to eat,but I don't know about the nutrtion. When they went into molt they quit eating the layeena that I was feeding them.I started adding a little scratch or cracked corn to the layeena and that is about all of the food they eat, except what they get while free ranging. Is their something else I need to add to their diet until they start to lay again?

My other concern is I purchased a coop for them that has 2 laying nests in it . They are not laying now but if and when they start again how do I get them to use the laying nests in the coop. They will not go near the coop even in the daytime. At night Bingo sleeps in the window sill and Sandy gets on the roof of the house, then walks to the front an flies up into the oak tree to roost. Of course when she gets down she is in the side yard and i have to get her back into the back yard.

I have tried to use a suggestion by someone on the forum to put a light in the coop and they will go in. Not Bingo and Sandy. Others have said catch them and physically put them in the coop. Easier said than done BIngo who flew into the yard will finally eat out of my hand but the minute my other hand makes any kind of move toward her she backs away leading me to believe she may have been mistreated by someone as the reason she left where she was. Sandy the Old English won't come within 3 or 4 feet of me. Someone suggested I get a fish net on a pole and catch them with that, well apparently they both have been caught in a net because as soon as they saw me with it the both took off in opposite directions. So I am in a quandary if any one can help I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanking you in advance. I apologize for the lengthy post.
Chickens are creatures of habit. If you will catch them every night after they roost and put them in the coop for three or four days, they should get in the habit of roosting there. You should have no trouble catching them after dark when they are on the roost. Just be slow and gentle and avoid quick movements. If all else fails, lock them in the coop for three days and that will take care of it for sure.

When it comes to egg laying, Chickens, although domesticated, still have some of the natural wild instincts. They are very sensitive to light and need a certain amount of hours of daylight each day before they will start laying. They will stop laying once the days start to get shorter in the Fall. You can subvert this natural instinct by putting a light in their coop. You can put it on a timer, but I just run a 23 watt CFL bulb 24/7 all winter long. Your young OE pullet may not start laying until next spring, and she will not be a strong layer her first cycle, but she will get better on her second cycle and be at full capacity on here third. If you get them to roost in the coop where the light is, your bantam may start laying again. It is hard to say, since you don't know a lot about her or how old she is.
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Thanks for the info . The bantam Bingo I could catch easy enough after dark as she is on the window sill. The OE is about 20 feet up in a tree and no way to get to her.I need to find a way to catch her before she roosts for the night. Thanks again.
You could always try to old lasso and food trick. Just get a string and some food. Make a lasso on the ground and put some feed in it. The when the bird is inside the lasso, give a very quick jerk in a upwards direction. If I were there I would catch it for you. I have lot of experience though, and I know how to use their monocular vision and natural instincts to control them. You have to know how to read a chicken's behavior if you want to catch them by hand. I would try the lasso method before trying to catch them by hand.
Thank you I will give that a try how big should the rope be in diameter?
I use a soft rope like a clothes line rope. When I sale chickens and people come to get them in the daytime, this is how I catch my birds. The loop needs to be no more then 24" in diameter. Chickens are real fast and will jump as soon as you pull the rope. If the lasso is too big, their feet will be out of the way by the time the lasso closes. It is best to use a short rope where you are no more then four or five feet away. This way you can jerk up to close the loop. It is best to get them on the first try. They learn fast and don't like to step in the loop a second time. It is time to play coyote and the road runner. Good luck.
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