raising chickens with no former training


In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 13, 2008
I inherited 4 roosters as a practical joke. I fell in love with them. Then a friend gave me a pullet. Then another friend gave me her 4 hens and a banty rooster because she had to move in to an apartment. I now have 5 roosters and 5 hens. 2 of the hens are laying eggs, the other 3 are too young. 4 of the roosters are bantys and the alpha rooster is bigger but I have no idea what kind he is, except he is orange and very fluffy and long feathered. They are free-range in my fenced back yard. I feed them well and give them laying mash and have built them a shelter from the rain. I live in Florida so I don't think cold will be a problem here. So I went from no chickens to 10 chickens in the last 10 weeks. The alpha rooster seemed to direct to two laying hens as to where to lay eggs, and I think he has plucked out their tail feathers surrounding their vent to facilitate mating??

Anyway, any information you could give me would be appreciated. They seem happy and healthy and the banty that came with the 4 hens has taken a passive role and is not playing with his 4 ladies anymore. I want so to care for them properly and I am clueless about chickens.
I have had cats and dogs but never chickens so I am at a loss as to what they need in the way of shelter, warmth in the winter (I am in Inverness, FL in zone 9) and do you ever reach a point when you can pick them up and pet them? They are so cute and come to me now when I feed them. At first, they ran away when I went out to feed them. I am not interested in raising little chicks, I just want the eggs for ourselves and neighbors. But i want to do all I can to give them the best care. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.


Pheasant Obsessed
11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
The Sticks, Vermont
and welcome to BYC.
If you post this in another section suitable for this topic you will gbet your answer sooner.


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
13 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
Sounds like you have a good start. How much younger than your layers are your younger hens? You really don't want to feed layer to very young hens and would be better off feeding everyone grower and supplementing with the oyster shell for the hens that are laying.
What's the predator situation in your area? In addition to providing protection from the weather a good coop also provides protection from predators; even if those predators happen to be the neighbor's dog or cat.
I think most everyone is going to tell you that you have too many roosters for the number of hens you have. If they were mine and given the fact that some of the roos are banties, I would take a wait and see approach. If your dominant roo is very dominant and the banties continue to be submissive you might get away with it. What's more likely is that you will eventually have to cull some roos from your flock. Note culling does not necessarily mean slaughter, it can also mean re-homing. Another option would be a bachelor pad for the extra roos.
The way to become good friends with your hens is directly thru their stomachs. Treats are the secret. At the top of the feeding time category you will find Buff Hooligan's treat chart with some ideas. Once you find something they are really wild about try sitting outside with them while they are roaming around your backyard and holding a bowl of treats in your lap. Toss them one or two of the treats as a tease, but then sit quietly and wait for them to come to you. Sooner or later somebody's gonna get brave enough to jump up on your leg to help themselves. It helps to have a bowl to designate as your treat bowl. Soon they'll come to recognize that bowl and will tolerate some petting as long as they can have the treats.
Good luck with your new found addiction.


In the Brooder
11 Years
May 1, 2008
Redmond, WA
Get some black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS in these forums) for treats. They love those and you should be able to hold them and feed them those simultaneously.

Too many roosters. You can probably get rid of them on Craigslist if you don't want to eat them yourself. Or a farm supply store might take them in for free. Ours just has a pen out front and you dump them in there and they are free dinner to whoever gets to them first.

Sit in a chair in the yard or their coop with them for a while and they might jump into your lap or on your shoulder for treats too. There is no chance they will get too cold in Florida. Just have a dry place for them to hang out when they don't want to be wet or so they can dry out when they are not smart enough to get out of the rain in time.

Find out what farm stores near you carry medication like Tylan 50 (labeled for small pigs and cows) so that you know where to go if you ever need it. Also it can be pretty hard to find a poultry vet when you need one so I would ask around when you have a chance just to see if you can find one. Otherwise you'll be totally dependent on these forums for help (which is great if you can do things yourself). Clean your shoes after going to other places where chickens are to avoid transmitting disease to yours. Oxine AH can't be beat for this if you don't mind me spending your money. You can use it in a humidifier to disinfect their coop as well - especially if it gets smelly.

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