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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Hayamz, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. Hayamz

    Hayamz Chirping

    Oct 11, 2016
    Hello , I'm new here and I have an urgent question .
    I have a hen she's 5 months old , I raise her in my appartement she has her coop , with good ventilation and sun exposure .
    food and water are always there for her , she eats everything , literally :D
    anyways , for our surprise she laid her first egg on Saturday , that's was the amazing surprise ever :D
    she lays everyday until today was the 4th egg , I've noticed that her comb and wattles are becoming pale , they were really red but now they're pinkish , a bright pink and I can see white spots , that's only has started after she started to lay , she eats well until full , drinks well , active all day and sometimes all day and night :D nothing wrong with her except the pale combs and wattles .. Could this be something dangerous or is there anything I should do to make them red again ?? thanks in advance .

  2. blairctchickens

    blairctchickens Chirping

    May 9, 2016
    North East Kansas
    I believe you have nothing to worry about. The change in color happens in most birds during they laying cycle. When they turn bright red is an indication they are more prone to lay. Once the egg is laid then their wattle color will go more pale.
  3. Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    How exciting to get your first eggs! [​IMG]

    I think it's great that you are paying close attention to comb and waddle color. They are important indicators of health. I haven't noticed the daily changes that @blairctchickens talks about, but I know that's true for the cycle in general.

    I do have a couple of questions that might be relevant... What are you feeding? Treats, feed, oyster shell? Do you have any more chicken friends for her? Why is she active at night, are you leaving a light on... chickens naturally sleep when it's dark because they can't see well in the dark.
  4. Hayamz

    Hayamz Chirping

    Oct 11, 2016
    I always give her table scraps and leftovers , she likes to eat cooked vegetables ,fish , cooked rice and pasta , corns , fruits specially apples , pomegranates ,watermelon , cantaloupe and sometimes I give her grounded beef or chicken , she has her own feeder and I always wash it before adding new food also a deep plate full of water and I change the water many times a day to provide her clean water all the time , not as active as in the morning , I leave my room's light on so she wakes up to eat and drink play a little and then she goes back to sleep . the coop is in my balcony and it's getting cold at night , should I cover it with something ?? or how to tell if she's feeling cold or not ??
  5. So is she getting chicken feed at all? Table scraps are bad as they are not nutritionally balanced to support a chickens dietary needs. It is important to not give more than 10% total feed in treats which would be the fruits , rice and corn. It is better for the chickens to sleep at night and only provide a couple extra hours of light in the morning if you want extra egg production. It is very stressful for them to function if they are constantly under lighted conditions. Certain chemicals in the brain don't get sent and received without the darkness. Not having any chicken friends WILL eventually cause her to die from loneliness. [​IMG] Chickens are VERY social creatures and NEED friends. Usually it is recommended that you keep a minimum of 3 hens. Does your coop have a roof and walls? What is your coldest winter night? As long as they are out of the wind and rain or snow, they should be fine. Make sure the roost is not where drafts can blow directly across it. But you do still need good ventilation so moisture doesn't build inside which could cause frost bite on combs and waddles. Your girl is wearing a down jacket, so as long as she isn't having feather issues she shouldn't be cold as long as the wind isn't blowing through the feathers. Bring some dirt in for your girl, If she doesn't have access to the ground where she can pic up any grit... I am surprised she is still thriving. [​IMG] Grit or small rocks is the foundation of how chickens digest their food. It gets in the crop and grinds the food to pieces that then pass through the digestive track to absorb nutrients. She will enjoy scratching and probably bathing in the dirt. Now that your girl laid an egg, she needs to have access to oyster shell, free choice. Or her body will consume it's own calcium to make egg shells plus they will become soft. So you should either feed starter or grower or flock raiser with oyster shell on the side OR layer feed. If you don't add in a chicken specific feed. I promise your girl will NOT thrive for very long. People who do mix their own feeds have to supplement heavily with vitamins and minerals. It is important to get the right balance of amino acids and highly difficult to do without supplements. Some may argue that that's not what they get in the wild, but this isn't their native habitat and ALL animals in captivity have diets that is supposed to replicate nature as much as possible. If you have access to mowed grass that isn't treated with chemicals she would probably enjoy that sometimes to. Heck, you could cut a little with some scissors, not longer than 3 inches. Chickens enjoy uncooked veggies to as well as cooked ones. Sometimes cooking actually diminishes the nutrient value. I hate to go on and on only to realize you ARE feeding chicken feed and I just missed it. They also like cooked eggs and I always feed my egg shells back to the hen crushed (not from commercial flocks though).

    I think you actually want the best for your girl and are doing a pretty good job, but may be slightly misinformed. So no judgement intended, it's just important that you understand proper nutrition is key to long, happy, healthy life. Like I said, awesome that you noticed differences in comb color! Since this is your first time... she may take a 1 day break from laying here or a couple days there. When they first start you may get 3 weeks worth of double yolkers followed by a week of nothing. They are kind of sporadic at first sometimes but usually normalize within a few months. Sometimes they might start but quit pretty soon because winter is approaching. So there are lots of variables especially because chickens don't seem to read the manual about what they are "supposed" to do and every single one of them is an individual. Breed is one variable that definitely makes a difference.

    In all sincerity.... Bring her in some dirt, cut the excess light, get her a friend or 2, and (most importantly) give her REAL chicken feed. [​IMG] You have already been enjoying her and I think you will see her blossom into an even happier, healthier, more productive, young lady when her deeper needs are truly met! [​IMG] Did you get hear her egg song?! It's one of my favorite things. [​IMG]

    I may think of something more to add later. But if you have any questions or I created more confusion, I am honored to help to the best of my ability. I am no expert but have some experience and am here to help others learn from my mistakes.... [​IMG] So if something doesn't sound right, I always recommend doing your own research. Sometimes even the experts get stuff wrong. [​IMG]

    Best wishes!
    1 person likes this.
  6. Hayamz

    Hayamz Chirping

    Oct 11, 2016
    omg thank you for the great information , but unfortunately i'm not from the US . and I have no access to oyster shell or layer feed or any other chicken's food that's why I feed her from my own food , corn and veggies , I give her egg shells as well ,the coop is as the size of a big box , I don't know how to add a photo to the thread , there's a newspaper bedding in her coop and she likes to scratch them to pieces and play with them and she like to roll on them ;D anyways today she was doing fine all morning eating , scratching , sun bathing playing all around the coop, by the end of the day and when it's time to sleep she has been standing up for almost all night with her head down touching the ground , it's not normal to stay like that all that time , she likes to sleep standing up but not for that much time , she also usually wakes up to eat or drink a little but tonight nothing went in her stomach at all , I thought she will be doing fine by the morning but the sun is up now and still she won't move around , eat or drink , her eyes are closed all the time , her droppings are fine nothing unusual, her comb and wattles are hot and red , but I noticed while she breaths her wattles are coming close to each other and in between which I believe it's her throat is moving in and out , also her wings are down for a little bit not all the way down and are moving in and out while inhaling and exhaling, I don't know what to do I'm so scared , she is always active but it's the first time for me to see her like that , she was like that for 15 hours and at 9.00 am she laid an egg , the egg shell was so weak that it was like a balloon filled with water once it touched the floor it exploded , my hen tried to eat the yolk that came out but I saved the day and removed it so quickly so she won't continue eating it , laying that egg was so hard for her she was struggling but the egg was so small so I guess there wasn't an egg binding because these symptoms were only all night and the first hours of the morning , once the egg was laid my hen was just fine she started to eat and to drink , she started to play and mess around and she started to make her happy sounds :D I'm not an expert but I guess there was no enough calcium in her system and her body was struggling to built the shell but couldn't that's why she was so tired , I know that I have to give her oyster shell but I don't know where to get that I'm not from the US and it's not easy to just go and buy the oyster shell , I gave her egg shells on Wednesday and she laid a normal strong egg on Thursday , I didn't give her any source of calcium since then that's why I guess she struggled with the new egg , what else should I do to make her form a strong shells ? it was so hard for me to watch her in that condition and I don't want to see that again :( oh and there are some grits in her coop and she likes to play with them and eat them I'm trying my best to provide her with all her needs but there are somethings that out of my hands that I can't provide :
  7. I am sure starting to lay can be very uncomfortable for a new layer who may be unsure of what's really going on. Soft shelled eggs are normal when a chicken first comes into lay or is going out of for the season. It is a natural part of the process. I am not sure what substitutes there are for oyster shell but ... there are ways to substitute calcium for sure. So I can tell you the basic of what you need and you can just try to meet it. [​IMG] Diet for a layer should consist of about 20% protein and 4% calcium (1% calcium when not laying for winter and higher protein during molt) as a VERY basic guideline. So you can kind of estimate how much you are feeding and aim for those numbers and the wide variety that you already described will be key to getting those micro nutrients. Like I suggested, try to bring in lots of extra plants and bugs and worms are great. And dirt, chickens love dirt! Also, for entertainment value, hang things just out of your girls reach. She has to jump for it and it occupies her mind while getting her some exercise.

    When taking into consideration your different environment and what's available to you... I don't think I could do any better.

    Sounds to me like what you are describing is probably normal behavior. She doesn't sound sick at all. Those appear to just be laying related labored breathing. Does she have a roost, off the ground where she can sleep at night? And a box with some dry vegetation or other bedding material than she can get comfy in while she is laying those soon to be lovely eggs? And is there any way you can think about getting her a companion? And providing a few hours of total darkness would be great. If darkness isn't completely possible, finding a way to make it red tinted would help a lot.

    Chickens are OK in temps below freezing as long as they are protected from the wind and don't have too much moisture build up inside their coop. Each bird needs approximately 4 square feet each in the coop and another 10 square feet worth of run each. If you try to go by those guide lines, it will help them be content. Of course, within your means. News paper can stay pretty wet, so you might have to change that often. Just try to remember if you can smell strong ammonia, that chickens actually have more sensitive respiratory systems than we do so it is even worse for them. Incidentally, ammonia is light so it rises and it's good to have your ventilation near the top of the coop and above the chickens head.

    She sound like a hoot! [​IMG]

  8. Hayamz

    Hayamz Chirping

    Oct 11, 2016
    I don't know if I can get her a companion at the moment it will be so hard for me now to take care of two chickens , but I will get her a rooster soon but I'm worried it's going to disturb the neighbors as I live in a building :D
    I change the bedding everyday and I clean the coop and the whole place everyday so I am trying to provide her a healthy environment, air and sun are running through the coop daily, what food should i give her as I don't have access to layer feed or any other chickens food ? What veggies should I give her as a main meal ? And what about protein? And are eggs shells enough for her to make her stronger ? I don't want to lose her and you told me that I could lose her if I didn't feed her enough :(
    And last night I gave her a full darkness all night and it was the first time for me to be away from her all night I was so worried about her :( thanks for helping me ♡♡♡♡♡♡
  9. lynnjacky

    lynnjacky Hatching

    Oct 23, 2016
    Hi everyone, am a new member from kenya.I have three months old chicken but since two days ago I have lost seven.they seem healthy today and the next day they start with having convulsions then die in less than a minute.I got a vet and gave them antibiotics and vitamins yesterday but I lost one a few minutes ago.I am really sad.kindly help. I don't want to lose more chicken.
  10. NO,NO,NO! Do not get her a rooster! When you do have the opportunity try to get her another hen. A rooster will just try to mate her ALL the time. And that will be very stressful. Plus happy neighbors are better than mad ones. [​IMG]

    Protein is the meats that you give her. I wouldn't try to focus on one vegetable as a main meal. The variety that you are offering is great. I prefer fresh over cooked vegies. I give cooked when it isn't going to be eaten before going bad, but wouldn't cook them specifically for your girl. Fresh has more nutrients. And chickens will eat the peels , the bottoms or tops, and every thing. Just be sure no GREEN potato peels as they can be toxic. Ones that aren't green are OK though. When I said that you could lose her, I thought you just didn't buy chicken feed which is very specific to meet their needs. But, your situation is unique and sounds like you are actually doing pretty good. Other foods that have protein and calcium would be things like milk, cottage cheese, yogurt. Egg shells by themselves may not be enough to make her stronger. But she may not actually be weak, but just getting the whole laying thing figured out. Some veggies are high in calcium, but I am unsure which ones. Just keep up with you wide variety. Offer as many different colored vegetable as you can come up with. They will eat the seeds out of everything... bell peppers, cantaloupe... You shouldn't have to throw anything away. I give the peels of the cantaloupe and they eat all the good stuff off of it. Garlic is OK, but avoid onions. About 3% fat is good. And they don't have capsaicin receptors, so spicy stuff is also OK. I just cut anything that isn't soft into pieces not larger than 1/4 inch You might find she likes some things but not others. All birds are individuals. The rice, pasta, and corn you are giving should be good enough for the grains. And they love a bowl of warm oatmeal (no sugar) on a cold morning! Also, avoid grapes and raisins. They have some toxic substances that build up over time.

    The first night of darkness is always nerve racking on us! [​IMG] I have experienced it MANY times. You did good! I am so proud of you for trying even though it was difficult! [​IMG]

    I am honored to help you to best of my ability. I can tell you care about your girl and try really hard to provide her a good life! I think you are actually going to be fine. [​IMG] Feel free to ask me anything, it's no bother at all. I am no expert, but am willing to share what experience I do have. And the nice thing about BYC is that others may have different experiences and will usually chime in if they think you are mistaken. It's a great learning forum with lot's of caring people!

    I truly don't think you have anything to worry about. You are very aware and alert to changes in her, and what you are seeing right now sounds like it might just be normal. Remember the few other pointers.... bring in dirt, and plant material, have a nest box, and a roost to sleep on. [​IMG]

    If you do figure out how, Love to see a pic. [​IMG]

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