Newby here

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by hen-tastic, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. hen-tastic

    hen-tastic New Egg

    Oct 9, 2015
    Hi all. We are getting our first hens today! [​IMG] Two are already laying (10 months) and two are 11 weeks old.
    1. Do I need to keep them separate?
    2. Can they all eat grower feed and oyster shells?

    I have a feeder and a water for in the coup. Can I just keep s bowl of water in the run (if I put fresh water in everyday)??

    The diatomaceous earth ... How do I give them access to that for dust baths?

    They have a ramp from their run (which is fenced with chicken wire not hard wire) into the coop - do I need to close off this chicken door at night?? If so, what's the best way?

    I've read some forums for some of these topics but want to make sure I'm not misunderstanding.

    Thanks and so excited to have access to such great information!!!
  2. 1ChickenKeeper

    1ChickenKeeper Out Of The Brooder

    Welcome to BYC! I joined not too long ago as well. :)
    I will also help you with your questions! :) here's what I know:

    Question 1:
    Q: Do I have to keep them separate?

    A: 10-12 week old chickens are the appropriate age for them to be with the older chickens. Before putting them together, observe their behavior, and how they physically look. Do they have red or discharging eyes? Runny poop? Do they have scaly leg mites? Do they look uncomfortable?
    If you spot something off about one of your chickens, then quarantine is the best step to take. Separate them from the rest of the flock until you figure out what it is and treat them. Diseases spread quickly around your flock. Be wary.

    Visit this link if you need any help with diseases etc.

    However, if they do not look ill or discomforted, then you can put them all in the run together. One thing to be aware of; don't be alarmed if you see aggressive or hostile behavior which includes pecking, posture. It is simply the pecking order taking place. Only intervene if the birds are causing injury to each other.
    Know that once every hens' place is secured, it will reduce conflict within the flock.

    Question 2:
    Q: Can they all eat grower feed and oyster shells?

    A: Your two 10 month old layers need layer feed in order to have a regular laying basis.
    Your two 11 week olds, (pullets) on the other hand, need to remain on starter feed until they reach about 12 weeks old. (You are extremely close!). At about twelve weeks, you can switch your pullets' starter feed to developer feed. Developer feed may (and can)be hard to get, so..

    Your solution?: Mix in layer feed and starter feed until your two eleven week olds start laying.
    As the two are "at point of lay" (around 5-6 months, 19 weeks and older) , you want to give them 100% layer feed and no starter mixed in.
    The layers should not have starter feed. This may make their eggs unhealthful for you to eat.
    Put the pullets' feed somewhere where your layers cannot reach it. (Place it with your pullets' shelter if you provide one.)
    However, if your layers do reach the feed, then discard eggs for a week or two following.
    (I know its not good to waste eggs, but it results in a healthy you!)

    Oyster Shells: Not yet for your eleven week olds. You can give them some as they enter laying.
    For your two layers, consider free-offering oyster shells. This will help give them some extra calcium for their egg laying.

    Water: I would recommend placing a fount in the run for the water. You can keep dog bowls of fresh water outside for them if you choose to free-range. If you choose to do this (in which I do) make sure the bowl is not easy to tip over.
    Watch for cross contamination, which is the number one chicken killer (may happen, likely) as it harbors disease. Always make sure you fill the fount and bowls; if you have some; with fresh water.
    A 2 gallon fount is good enough for 2-4 hens.
    Clean the fount, and change its water once every week.

    Dust Baths: If your chickens do not have free access to your yard, you can provide dry Sand basin or soil in the run. (considering you've built your poultry palace..?)

    Run Question: Hmm.. I honestly don't know how to answer this question, all I can say is if you have a outdoor run, and a opened door is the only way the chickens can gain access to it, shut it. Or put something sturdy in front of it that cannot be smacked to the side. I have lost a lot of my chickens due to the opening from the coop run to the outdoor run. Even with netting above, the raccoons still got through.

    Bottom line: Shut or secure ALL doors you have open in your coop and run during the day when night falls.

    If your layers are getting too rough on the little ones, consider putting out some shelter resources for the pullets to hide behind. Put food and water in different places.

    Would you mind giving a few more details on your run, and what you plan for your chickens (like free-ranging, etc.) It would help a lot.

    I hope this will help you, and once again, a warm welcome. I hope I will help you, I wish I will. If you have any more questions, feel free to PM and I will do my best to help you.

    [​IMG] :cd
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
  3. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 10, 2013
    My Coop
    Hello :frow and welcome to BYC!
  4. steven29128

    steven29128 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2015
    South Carolina USA
    Welcome to Back Yard Chickens ! [​IMG]
  5. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2013
    Midwest America
    Welcome to the BYC flock! We are glad you joined us!

  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to Backyard chickens, so glad you joined the flock.
  7. 7littlegirls

    7littlegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2015
    Long Island NY
    HI! :frow
  8. hen-tastic

    hen-tastic New Egg

    Oct 9, 2015
    Super helpful. Thank you.
    I got the chickens home and introduced them to their new home.
    They have water in their coop and water in the run. Food outside in the run for now. I did find grower feed. So will try to give that to the little ones and the layer feed & oyster shells only to the older girls - somehow I will keep their food separate. They will eventually free range but I want to give them a few days in the coop and run to recognize it as home.

    The older hens went right into the coop at dusk but the little ones needed a little help. One of them seemed to have a hard time figuring that she has to duck her head down to go in instead of lifting it up. It was cute! And the other little one kept trying to get around her, under her, over her, into the coop somehow but it was blocked.

    I went ahead and blocked the chicken door at the top of the ramp from inside the run - just in case. I will post pictures tmrw.

  9. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
  10. 1ChickenKeeper

    1ChickenKeeper Out Of The Brooder

    That's great! Glad I could help :yesss:

    Good luck on your chicken keeping journey :)

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