Please help.. Whats wrong with my chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FingerLicking, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. FingerLicking

    FingerLicking Hatching

    Mar 12, 2012
    Hello and thank you for reading,
    I am new to chicken keeping and have recently got myself two isa browns just before lay (this was 3 weeks ago).
    The two chickens were the same age, from the same flock and are slightly different in personality to each other.

    Everything seems to be going well with them except a few small problems that I want to sort out before they get any worse down the track.

    Every now and then when I let the chickens out of the cage and into the backyard they will sort of charge at each other, raise their heads up and put them close to each others.. Just like they are going to fight or something. But it doesn’t last anymore than a few seconds and I have never seen them do anything more than that.
    What does this mean?
    And how can I stop it?

    While 90% of my chickens faeces is normal, about 10% is really runny and bright yellow just like a yolk.. Is this normal?

    A few points about the chicken’s environment:
    - They have a huge coop 3m x 3m x 2m with a roost and table for them to lay on with a basket and small enclosed area. There is also a tree inside the chicken coop and plenty of room for them to run around.
    - They get fed 1 cup of pellets each daily and scraps from around the house.. Along with the vast selection of bugs our garden has to offer them.
    - I let them roam our garden daily and they seem fine with that.
    - We have small dogs but they don’t seem to bother the chickens much.
    - I try to pet them and such but they still don’t like being picked up, have no hesitation coming for food tho.

    And that’s about it.
    I would really appreciate some help here.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. BantamoftheOpera

    BantamoftheOpera Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Southern Maine
    When I first let mine out they scuffle around and raise their hackles at each others. I think its relatively natural. I'm not sure about the yellow poo. The one thing I get concerned about is the "one cup of pellets" Do you mean 1 cup as a physical measurement, or just one feed scoop? One measuring cup worth of food a day will not be enough for your birds in my experience.
  3. amillecay

    amillecay Songster

    Dec 29, 2011
  4. FingerLicking

    FingerLicking Hatching

    Mar 12, 2012
    Ok, it doesnt seem too bad I just didnt want it to become a problem that got out of hand.

    I give them 1 cup as in a good handfull of lay pellets..
    But they get another cup or so from scraps

    Thanks for the advice! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  5. FingerLicking

    FingerLicking Hatching

    Mar 12, 2012
    Might have to look into building a feeder then, hopefully they dont get too fat tho haha.

    Thanks for the link,
    one of the more disturbing links but helpfull none the less. Turns out it was very normal faecal matter [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advice!
  6. amillecay

    amillecay Songster

    Dec 29, 2011
    I haven't noticed mine getting to fat and I do believe they always say to keep food available you should see a change fast in their weight and I think it was a good change I do think they needed to put a little bit of weight on so it all worked out :)
    And your welcome!!! :)
  7. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    The chest bumping is normal pecking order behavior and you should not try to stop it, unless one of them is totally bullied. It is their way of establishing their social environment.

    On the feed -- one adult hen needs about 4 oz of feed a day. I don't know how that translates into cups but it is my feeling that a cup is way too little. It is easiest and best just to keep feed available for them always. You don't have to worry about them getting fat because the layer feed is formulated with a balance of nutrients, and chickens don't eat more than they need. They stop when their crop is full, unlike other pets.

    Be careful with giving other treats as it can upset the nutritional balance. If you would give a lot of scratch for instance, which is mainly corn, the hens will get fat but will not get enough nutrients. A little bit of scratch every few days and ample greens to add to the layer feed is fine. More greens will give you more yellow/orange yolks.

  8. X2. When it's cold, they need more calories to stay warm, too. We have two large feeders available at all times, in addition to oyster shell and grit.

    I personally, don't have my dogs outside with them out in the yard, even though one is a little dog. I don't want to take any chances, even though we know our big dog (border collie) just rounds them up and puts them away. Little dog has gotten pecked on the nose, and there is no way I would trust her out there unsupervised. A bite is still a bit, and will cause a WHOLE LOT of problems for the chickens (because they will peck at each other when they see blood, and chickens bleed easily.) Dogs, imo, should always be considered predators/predator capable. Read the predators and pests section for perpective.....
  9. Pele

    Pele Songster

    Feb 25, 2011
    :hmm one cup of food a day for three hens? Free feed those poor girls. Chickens eat as much as they need, they don't have obesity problems like mammals, and will self-regulate. This is especially critical for breeds that are high production. They're literally consuming their own bodies to produce that large egg once a day if you don't give them food to put into making that egg. It's a massive loss of resources for them (imagine losing 25% of your body mass a day, and someone only feeding you a cup of food that you have to share with three other people).

    They'll hold your eggs hostage until you give them the food they need. It's like a really effective ransom note :p.
  10. Dutchess

    Dutchess Songster

    X2 - That could be the reason your hens aren't laying yet.[​IMG].. Free feeding is best! They use up a lot of energy just to produce the egg, nevermind laying it!

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