purchased out of pitty

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dagmar1968, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. dagmar1968

    dagmar1968 New Egg

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    Nov 25, 2013
    I just purchased 20 chickens and 1 rooster.The guy kept them in a large dogcrate about 3x4x3 they pluged themselves the beaks on some are crossed . I moved them into an 20x12 shed for now . What is the best way to care for them ? I have woodshavings on the floor and I feed them chickencrumbles also im given them vegetables what else can I do.
     
  2. fosterson

    fosterson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, that's a tall order, taking on birds like that.

    Some quick questions: are you new to chicken keeping? How old are the birds? What breeds to they seem to be? Do you have photos?

    For overnight, yes, they should be okay, but you're going to need to make sure they have access to clean water (didn't see if you'd posted about that or not)

    You might consider searching the forum and find your local chicken keepers -- they might have advice too!
     
  3. Kyzmette

    Kyzmette Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dagmar, do a search for the state you live in and talk to some of your locals. I'm in Oklahoma and the people in the OK thread have been amazingly helpful.

    Give your chickens food and water and take it one day at a time. You'll learn more about them every day. I would also suggest poly-visol, an infant vitamin found in the pharmacy section. Put it in their water. If the previous owner cared for them poorly, they are probably malnourished and vitamins can fix a load of bad stuff. You could also put some apple cider vinegar in their water or give them some yogurt to boost the health of their digestive tracts. They may also need a protein boost, so you could try mashing up some boiled eggs in their crumble.

    Keep them inside the shed for a couple of days before you let them out and they will recognize it as home. Make sure they're closed up each evening. And watch out for dogs.

    Good luck and welcome to the world of chickens! They're great therapy.
     
  4. dagmar1968

    dagmar1968 New Egg

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    I think they are easteregger I gave them chickenscratch also called layerfeed and fresh watter yes they are in an enclosed coop
     
  5. dagmar1968

    dagmar1968 New Egg

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    Thankyou very much for your help . I know as much about chickens as I know about you .I gave them layerfeed and fruit thoday also fresh watter and breadends they loved them . I need to find out what kind of bedding I have to put in there coop hay straw or woodshafings don't know . I cant let them freeroam as the guy 2 houses down has a rooster but he doesn't keep him in a coop they sleep wherever and eat whatever
     
  6. Kyzmette

    Kyzmette Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everybody will tell you something different. I have hay in mine right now because the hollow stalks are supposedly good insulation for cold nights.

    You might also want to check out their poop, just in case you need to worm them. To listen to the people on this forum, poop is the window to a chicken's soul... or something like that. It's a very good indicator of a sick chicken.

    One more thing, chickens can have weird reactions to stress just like humans. If they start clicking when they breath, just give it a couple days to go away before you worry.
     
  7. fosterson

    fosterson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay. You're off to a pretty good start for now. Eventually they'll need a run but for now they should be alright as they adjust to their new home.

    I personally use the deep litter (DL) method of coop-bedding. It means I only have to clean out the coop once a year or so (and is far more sanitary and smell free than it sounds) because the deep litter absorbs the moisture from the chicken poop and begins to compost, which provides some micronutrients for the birds, some warmth, and the world's best compost about 6 months after it's been cleaned out :)

    You need pretty thick bedding. Straw, dry leaves, shavings, even a little shredded paper are all good as long as they're dry and not moldy. Do not use cedar shavings or bark with chickens -- it can make them very ill.

    You can start by putting down a reasonable layer of already active compost mixed with Diatomacious Earth (DE) -- it doesn't need to be really deep, but it helps start the process off. The DE helps fight insects and mites. Make sure you buy food grade DE -- the stuff they sell for water filtration and swimming pools can be toxic. Then layer in your choice of dry bedding materials until it's about 6 inches deep - You want to use a mix so it breaks down more evenly, in my experience. Don't worry, the chickens will start turning it over for you and you'll only need to 'spot treat' the areas where poop builds up the fastest (under roosts usually). If it starts to smell, you can use a pitchfork to 'stir' it just a bit and then toss in some fresh bedding on the top, because it gets broken down and compacted.

    The real trick is to not let the DL get overly wet, or it will mildew AND moisture in the coop is bad for the birds. A hanging waterer is good, or do what I do (because my birds are idiots and run into the hanging waterer every time they try to flutter), and put it up on a low table. The birds will quickly figure out where the water is and hop up to get a drink, but it cuts down on getting stuff kicked into the water. Never let the birds run out of water -- they can handle missing a few days of food better than a single day without water.

    As far as feeding them, to start with offer them free-choice layer feed. Chicken scratch (or scratch grains) is a different product and shouldn't really make up more than 10% of their diet. I use it as a treat, and toss it into the litter itself, so the chickens have to hunt and scratch to find it. Keeps them busy and then they don't get into worse habits like feather plucking, egg eating, and cannibalism.

    Once they're on a routine, I'd really only feed them once a day, in the morning, as much as they can eat in about 30 minutes time with a little left over for a 'snack'. This keeps them from over eating. Too much fat on a chicken isn't good for them any more than it's good for you, and for laying birds, it can seriously impair their ability to lay eggs properly. Then you can add a scoop or two of scratch grains to the litter and let them amuse themselves. I personally feed fermented feed (FF) but that might be a bit more complicated to start with. You can also give them bits and scraps of vegetables (no onions or garlic...it can make the eggs off-flavored), no green potato peels (can make them sick), no avocado (can be toxic) and no chocolate (toxic)), bits of meat, left over bread, et al. My chickens especially like a scoop of plain yogurt a couple of times a week!

    Two more things you need to provide are free choice grit (I live in a sandy, dusty area, so I go out to the washes and pick up really coarse sand and small pebbles, wash it really good, and use that...it's free!) and free choice oyster shell. Don't add the oyster shell to the feed - it's already got a lot of calcium and too much over too long can stress their internal organs.

    I would be concerned about mites right now. One option is to buy Nutrena's 'Feather Fixer' brand feed - it's got pyrethrins in it to help the birds ward off mites and a bit more protein to help them build their systems back up. If they have obvious mites, you might want to get a topical mite eliminator, but be sure you read ALL the instructions and precautions before you use it! If mites get established they can kill your birds.

    Ah, and another topic - ventilation and light. Birds need proper ventilation to prosper - if they're not going outside this is really important. You need ventilation but not drafts. If you can go into the coop on a breezy day and hold a lit candle (carefully) it should waver a little. If it's perfectly still, it's not got enough ventilation. If it flickers or goes out, too much! They need light to see, even if you're not adding extra light to maintain egg production. You can buy an inexpensive Christmas light set and a timer this time of year pretty cheaply - if it's enough light for you to read a newspaper it's enough light for the birds. If they don't get light on a regular basis (and on a schedule) they just sit and sleep in the dark, and that's not good for them either!

    Good luck, and bless you for taking in the unwanted birds. It might SEEM like a lot of hassle but once you get set up, chicken keeping is fun and easy -- and you'll catch yourself saying the strangest things!

    Don't hesitate to ask questions! BYC is a GREAT resource for that!
     

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