Questions from Newbie

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by redmoo, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. redmoo

    redmoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi All!

    I've been reading here for a few weeks and have learned lots, but I'm not sure about a few things and would greatly appreciate your advice.

    My hubby bought 7 Cinnamon Queen hens 3 weeks ago. (I think 2 are pullets) They live in an a-frame tractor type coop on our farm. Last week, I started letting them out for 2-3 hours a day to roam freely, but they don't go far and I'll often find them back inside when I go out to put them back in. We have 6 left because my ACD killed one which was totally my fault because I was not watching him closely enough.[​IMG] Now, I put the dog up if the chickens are out unless I can be right there by his side. He knows not to mess with them, but his instinct kicks in unless we're there to remind him.

    The coop has 5 laying boxes on each end, but one end is blocked off and we're using it for supplies, so we have 5 usuable laying boxes. They are pooping in the top two boxes, despite the fact that I clean it out daily and I've put plastic eggs in the boxes. They are laying eggs in two of the three lower boxes, and I've learned here that 3 boxes is more than enough for 6 hens. So, should we block off the top two boxes to keep them from pooping in them, or just not worry about it? (those two are higher than the roosts and I don't see a way to change that) I think one is sleeping "upstairs" because the others are mean to her.

    We started getting eggs the second week they were here, and now we're getting 4 eggs a day.[​IMG] Hoping for 5 today! I'm not much of a 'bird person," but I have to admit I'm enjoying them. They are very gentle, they start "talking" as soon as they see me walking toward their coop, and they love any kind of treat I give them. I think our chickens are working second shift because they don't lay thier eggs until about noon. [​IMG] Is there anything I can do to get those sleepy heads laying earlier?

    Thanks in advance for any advice and thanks for all the great info here!
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  2. redmoo

    redmoo Out Of The Brooder

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    One more question, do you feed egg shells back to your hens? If so, how fine do the shells need to be? I was thinking about putting shells in a bag and beating with a meat tenderizer. Will that work?
     
  3. buffbrahmaboy

    buffbrahmaboy Out Of The Brooder

    I think you're better off providing crushed oyster shells to supplement calcium deficiency, otherwise they may start feeding on the intact eggs before you gather them. They won't eat more than they need, though.
     
  4. There really is no way to make them lay any earlier but get them more calcium. Usually you don't give them chicken egg shells but mashed oyster shells (that has lots of calcium). Maybe you could just mash their egg shells, your going to have to wait for someone else to answer that one.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I've always fed my shells back to my birds, just the cracked halves of the shells, and I've not had an egg eater in 20 years of keeping birds. That idea always seems to freak folks out and they're just sure the hens will start eating their own eggs, though. If you want to crush the shells, just crush them in your fingers would be fine. Their brains really aren't large enough to make the big connection between the bits of shell and the yummy egg inside an intact shell.
     
  6. redmoo

    redmoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, everyone. I wasn't sure about the shells. I knew not to feed them raw eggs. I went ahead and gave them some, and they liked them. Heck, these chickens like everything! [​IMG] Still only 4 eggs today, so 2 are not laying. They spent a few hours out roaming, and now they are in for the evening. They had already gone back in, so they must like it in there. I felt sorry for them at first when we weren't letting them out. My husband said they needed to get used to their new home before we started letting them out. It just doesn't seem like much room, but I guess it's enough for them.

    Again, they pooed in the top boxes. They also poo on the wide shelves outside the boxes. What are those wide shelves for? A place to huddle when it's cold, maybe?

    I was watching them today and one got spooked by something and flew toward the coop; the other 5 followed and they went in the house. They came back out in a few minutes. I have no idea what scared them; I walked over to where she was and saw nothing. Like I said, I'm not much of a bird person, but they're kinda fun....
     
  7. redmoo

    redmoo Out Of The Brooder

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    My dog showed no agression toward the chickens today, but I was right there with him. I wonder if I can trust him.??? I was so mad at him for killing that hen. I put the hen in a garbage bag and whopped in over the head with it. I'm just concerned his instinct will override if I'm not watching him. He's protective of his cattle, but chickens are new to him.
     
  8. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They like to perch on a high spot to sleep. My guess is that the nest boxes are as high or higher then the roosts, so they are sleeping in the nests. Blocking off the top nest boxes would stop that, as you said they only need the lower boxes. The recommended number of nests is four hens per nest I have no idea what the platform was really meant for. They should have a perch to sleep on. If the tractor was home built then often there things that could have been done better. I know If I make another I have a list of changes.
     

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