The Girls Have Arrived!!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by OnTheHill, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. OnTheHill

    OnTheHill Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 26, 2014
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    We drove 2 hours yesterday and picked up the girls. They are so sweet and laid back my husband even agreed they should ride in the backseat of the truck (in the pet carrier of course)!

    They did really well on the ride home - even helped me eat my salad from Wendy's drive thru.

    As I said before I was told they were 6 - 8 months old and not laying yet. When we actually got there to pick them up we were told they had made a mistake and were actually between 12 and 14 weeks old. So I am wondering when do I move their onto layer food? They are very friendly/tame for Leghorns and healthy.

    Once we were home they all had a grand time with a prolonged dust bath before enjoying their feed (and treats of course).

    I have attached a photo of them in their coop and you will notice they have a new "friend" laying on their nesting box. He is actually scared witless of them! We are almost done with the movable tractor so they should be roaming the yard by tomorrow!

    Thank you all so much for your support!

    Janet (and the girls)[​IMG]
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    If you wish to use layer feed, move them to that feed once they have all started laying (others will advise 18 weeks of age as another milestone for the switch). I say "if" because you don't actually need/have to do so - you can feed them a grower/flock raiser/etc feed for their entire lives as long as you also offer the calcium they need via oyster shell (which, imo, needs to be offered even if you are using layer feed which does have a higher calcium content than grower feeds to begin with). The advantage to such a feeding plan is that layer feeds have a pretty low protein content (typical is 16%) - which is at the threshold of the minimum. If you add any additional feeds to your bird's diet (vegetables, food scraps, ranging, etc) you run the risk of those feeds having a negative impact on their overall protein intake -- using a grower type feed which has a higher protein content to begin with (the one I use is 20%) you lessen the chance of that happening and have the added advantage of not having to worry about things if you end up feeding a mixed flock (ages, genders, actively laying vs. on a "lay-off") which includes birds that do not need, and can be negatively impacted by, the extra calcium built into that layer feed.
     
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Congrats on your new flock and your coop is adorable! But how many chickens did you pick up in total? Their coop seems a bit "tight" for what soon will be full-grown hens...eek! Just thinkin' .... [​IMG]
     
  4. OnTheHill

    OnTheHill Out Of The Brooder

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    Western KY
    There are four hens total. The area you see them standing in does seem small to us also. That is why they will be in a 6 x 12, partially covered tractor each day - then back in the "red house" at night. The actual house measures for six hens to roost and 3 laying boxes.

    You think this is okay?
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Points to ponder with that plan - if they are in the tractor all day, where is it you intend for them to lay eggs? The presence of nest boxes in your coop will be a moot point as they will be laying during the hours they are in the tractor (not a big deal, they can lay anywhere, but something to think on). Perhaps a better alternative is to construct a larger run attached to or containing this setup so that they can be in a larger open area but still have access to their house as needed (ie to return to the nesting boxes you presumably want eggs to appear in). Have you considered the impending fall/winter weather and what your plans for providing sufficient space for them at that time will be?
     
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    BTW, love the kitty sleeping on the nest box roof.
     
  7. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    What's the actual "size" of the coop itself? And yes, I'm in agreement with @Ol Grey Mare .. they'll never use the nesting boxes 'cause they'll be in that tractor all day...hmmmmm...
     
  8. OnTheHill

    OnTheHill Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 26, 2014
    Western KY
    All good thoughts and thank you. I should have mentioned the tractor has an enclosed end that is off the ground with nesting boxes also. I wanted them to have a place to lay regardless of where they are.

    You are right on point with the winter months. The plan before fall is to make a larger run attached to the red coop removing the one you see now in the picture.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Excellent advice for the OP! Me personally, I don't care for these 'tractor' concepts. My coop is permanently attached to their large enclosed run area...works for me anyways.
     
  10. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    I think there are pros and cons to just about anything. I, too, am an "attached run" chicken keeper - but am toying with the idea of a tractor to use to be able to safely "graze" some of our birds on the rest of our property. As it stands now, they use just the very back portion of over 2 acres if/when I allow them out to range.....and they have recently taken to wandering a bit too far into the woods for my comfort as well. I don't/won't encourage them to venture closer to the house or front part of the yard because we are surrounded by uncontained dogs and I am not keen on fencing the entire two acres to keep them from wandering to the neighbors' yards doing what chickens do (poop everywhere and eat gardens). The way I see it I can rotate which birds get to go on field trips as well as rotating what areas they are in.....but the idea of *having* to move my flock twice a day, EVERY day, in and out of the pen doesn't appeal to me. I spent almost two weeks doing exactly that with our 16 birds waiting for my husband to have the time to cut the pop door once the run was in place - it was fun for about the first two days, lol.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

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