Questions from a newbie

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by quiltedchicks, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. quiltedchicks

    quiltedchicks Hatching

    Jul 23, 2007
    For over a year now I have wanted some chickens. Well, the 2nd weekend in June I got 6 hens. Crosses between a Rhode Island red and White Leghorn. I love my chickens!! My husband and son built me a moveable coop and pen. Every couple of days we move it to a new area of lawn. I have some questions I'm sure you will all be able to help me with.
    #1. How much oyster shell am I supposed to give them?
    #2. How big is the grit they are supposed to have? And how much?
    #3. Can I just buy sand from the Home Depot for their grit?
    #4. What is 'scratch'?
    #5. Do they need a roost in their coop? My husband didn't build one in ours.
    #6. When do they start laying?
    I know these are pretty simple questions- but this is my first time having chickens.
    I sure appreciate all the help I can get!!!
  2. franfoley

    franfoley In the Brooder

    Most of your questions can be answered by using the search option.

    I found a lot of answers there myself when I started 3 months ago.
  3. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC and to the chicken addiction!

    I'll try to answer some of your questions. Let's see....

    1) I free feed oyster shell to my layers. I have one of those small auto-feed rabbit feeders that I've put up inside their coop so they can have some anytime they want. They'll only eat it when they need it.

    2) Since they have access to the ground they won't need grit. They'll get all they should have from the ground.

    3) see #2

    4) Scratch is a mixed loose grain that can be fed to chickens as a treat. I normally don't give them much in the summer since it contains corn which causes their body temperature to rise. It's best feed late in the day in the winter. Though I confess I do give them a little as a treat late in the day even now. Just be sure they have free feed layer feed all the time. Then a little scratch occasionally won't hurt.

    5) Yes, they should have a roost. I use a 2x4 with the flat side up. Birds like to sleep off the ground so if they don't have a roost they will sleep in the nest box. Chickens poop while their sleeping so the nest box will be poopy which will mess up they eggs when they lay. They should have a roost away from the food, water, and nest box for this reason.

    6) Most breeds will begin to lay around 5 months old, give or take. First their combs will start turning bright red and they will begin to squat when approached. They also will begin exploring the nest box and making a bowl shape in the bedding. These are sure signs the eggs will appear shortly.

    Don't worry about your questions. We all were newbies at one time and have asked the same questions. The only dumb question is the one not asked so just ask what you want to know. Before long you'll be the one giving advice to someone else who's new!
  4. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Songster

    Apr 21, 2007
    Sonoma County
    I second all of the above.
    I started with chickens before there were any backyard chicken books and before "email" and forums such as this one.
    I only started looking at forums a few months ago. I love helping others discover the joy of having chickens more or less as pets. I learned mostly by trial, error, my grandmother and gut feelings.
    As I am writing this, I have my house chicken sitting on the top of my head, trying to settle in for the night. It is past her bedtime. She really wants me to lay down in the bed and snuggle with her, before I put her on her sleeping place for the night. (a stuffed bear on a pillow next to me)
    I've never had one this tame before. I love it.
  5. quiltedchicks

    quiltedchicks Hatching

    Jul 23, 2007
    I am overjoyed!! I read your responses, and noticed all the signs of egg laying in my hens- and low and behold- I came home from work yesterday- and there was my first egg!! I am sooo excited. Then this morning I had two soft shelled eggs- yes I started the oyster shell a couple of days ago. Obviously I should have started it a couple of weeks ago. Then when I got home from work today there was a nother really nice egg. I'm hoping the other girls get the hint!!
  6. CtlisencedArborist

    CtlisencedArborist Songster

    Jul 20, 2007
    Love all the info.Such a great bunch of chaps here,willing to share chx info with the only playin.My reds all gather in the top corner of the coop.My two black sexys like the floor,rather odd.My roo likes to sit in the front of the window and wait for me to come out.I just crush up some shell with the mioni sledge and toss it in there food tray.One thing Ive learned about some breeds is you have to put it in there face or they wont take it.I.E...a bowl of water right in the way of there path.Shell right in there food,etc etc.The roost is def a must,caus eof the whole poop

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