Newbie questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Faso, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Faso

    Faso Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 17, 2012
    Pompton Lakes, NJ
    I don't see a "general" area here and wasn't sure where to post but i put this in another area and only got 1 response. If anyone else has some info for me i would really appreciate it. (Especailly helping me know if i have a rooster or not. :) )

    Hello,

    I just got my chickens saturday so i'm less than a week in. I appreciate any feedback. I read an ebook and researched a ton but i think i have a few issues. Hopefully they aren't issues. :)

    1) I have 2 hens. One is a bit larger than the other. They are almost 8 weeks old. How can I tell if the larger one is a rooster? Would he be making noise by now? I really hope not but I'm worried about it. I don't see the extra toe nail but I don't know what else to go by. The tail feather isn't long either. Any thoughts?

    2) The larger one of the two has gotten a little odd just today and yesterday When you go to touch it, it seems to want to peck at your hand. My daughter fed it from her hand and all was ok and it was nice to see but i was thinking now the chicken thinks there is always food in our hand...Or, is it really trying to hurt us? does it hurt? lol How can i stop this behavior?

    3) I catch the two always sitting by each other. It's not too cold out, maybe 50 in the morning but nothing crazy. I could swear i saw the smaller one sitting under the bigger one. Is this normal or could the bigger one be a rooster? lol

    4) I have a coop with a door and closed in run. I open the door after the first 24 hours(so they knew where the food water and sleeping spot was). They really don't care to come out. I opened it for the past few days. I come home from work and they aren't out. They are sometimes peeking out but they don't seem like they are dying to get down and eat the grass. Do i force them out or keep opening the door and leave them do what they want?

    5) Last question, i swear...hehe Do i block the egg laying boxes or leave them? Ok, two part question..when will they lay? I hear 20 weeks but not sure. Do i put golf balls in starting now even though they are young?

    Thanks all. Any info is much appreciated!

    Mike
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    First, don’t get too stressed out by this. We’ve all been there one way or another and most of us survive it. You probably will too.

    1) I have 2 hens. One is a bit larger than the other. They are almost 8 weeks old. How can I tell if the larger one is a rooster? Would he be making noise by now? I really hope not but I'm worried about it. I don't see the extra toe nail but I don't know what else to go by. The tail feather isn't long either. Any thoughts?

    It’s sometimes hard to sex chickens even at 8 weeks, and sometimes it is really apparent. There are a lot of clues but only a few that are absolutely definite. Most of the definite ones come at later ages. I could try describing some of the clues but unless you have some experience, it won’t do you a lot of good. There is a restriction on this forum to help against scammers that you need a certain number of posts before you can post pictures, ten I think. Go say welcome to ten new-comers then try to post pictures. We might be able to help you.

    2) The larger one of the two has gotten a little odd just today and yesterday When you go to touch it, it seems to want to peck at your hand. My daughter fed it from her hand and all was ok and it was nice to see but i was thinking now the chicken thinks there is always food in our hand...Or, is it really trying to hurt us? does it hurt? lol How can i stop this behavior?

    It’s probably just looking for food. There are a lot of people on this forum that would think that is great. Can it hurt? Yes, they can rip flesh if they get serious about it. Is it likely to get that severe? Not really.

    If you want to stop that behavior, don’t hand feed them.

    3) I catch the two always sitting by each other. It's not too cold out, maybe 50 in the morning but nothing crazy. I could swear i saw the smaller one sitting under the bigger one. Is this normal or could the bigger one be a rooster? Lol

    Chickens are social animals. They like being next to each other. Nothing unusual about that behavior regardless if they are both female, both male, or one of each sex.


    4) I have a coop with a door and closed in run. I open the door after the first 24 hours(so they knew where the food water and sleeping spot was). They really don't care to come out. I opened it for the past few days. I come home from work and they aren't out. They are sometimes peeking out but they don't seem like they are dying to get down and eat the grass. Do i force them out or keep opening the door and leave them do what they want?

    Let them do what they want. Chickens are prey animals. Different things like to eat them. Chickens normally don’t like change and don’t lie to take a lot of chances. At some point one will get brave and hop down. It might quickly go back in or it might explore. If one dies and survives, the other will soon follow.


    5) Last question, i swear...hehe Do i block the egg laying boxes or leave them? Ok, two part question..when will they lay? I hear 20 weeks but not sure. Do i put golf balls in starting now even though they are young?

    I’d leave them open as long as they are not sleeping in them. If they are sleeping in them, get back and we’ll discuss it. I’d prefer to know there is a problem before they start to lay so it can be corrected. And put the golf balls in. That can tell you if you have another problem.

    When will they lay? When they are ready. I’ve had some lay as early as 16 weeks. I have five right now that are 28 weeks old and not laying yet. With hatchery chicks 20 to 24 weeks is pretty normal, but each one is an individual. There is no magic number.
     
  3. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think Ridgerunner pretty much covered it. Mine went through a phase where they wanted to peck after about 3 months till they started laying (dang teenagers). Occasionally one will peck hard and I just raise my voice a little and scold her to let her know I don't like it and will hold her for a minute and they get the idea who's boss. Works for me!
     
  4. DadandJB

    DadandJB Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2012
    I'm sorry, and certainly don't mean to offend, but this typo really made me chuckle.
     
  5. Faso

    Faso Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 17, 2012
    Pompton Lakes, NJ
    Thanks Guys. I got these replies on my phone but never circled back and posted a thank you!

    I now added a third since barred rocks were so pretty.(and my wife allowed it! lol) Last night was the first snow and it was cold. I didn't close the coop door until 7:30pm because i work in NYC and it took me a long time to get home. They were probably cold. I saw the 2 RIRs sleeping in one of the egg boxes. The rock was on the roost.(she is 8 months old and smarter)

    Not sure if i should be worried that they slept there last night or if it was my fault because it was cold and their first snow experience all while the coop door was open...

    Thanks!

    Mike
     

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