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Update, questions and help for a feather brain

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sybadd, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Sybadd

    Sybadd Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 26, 2013
    Hi everyone, there are a few things i'd like to wrap in to one post so here it is in sections..

    Update

    I started this little checken journey in November when i finally talked my wife in to letting me keep chickens.

    I bult my first coop out of pallets and learned the hard way that this was not a fantastic idea. I lost my first checken to a weasel (either that or a the other chicken was in fact a vampire hen)

    I hirridly build my second coop. Much more secure and a bit kinder kn the eye (with exception of the roof which i will finish in spring as i didnt have enough roof felt left)

    I aquired a second bantam hen and the two lived happily together in this little coop...

    Until my dear mum visited and accidentally let them both out while feading them. she was unable to get them back in the coop as despite the fact that they would follow me around the garden i guess they just didnt know her so kept their distence . I was currently working a few hours away and by time i got home i came back to one healthy chicken and a pile of feathers. A few days later i found the head and feet.

    I then build a third coop, my "perma-coop" this is 4.5 meters long, 1 meter wide and 0.5 meters tall. In it i have three laying hens.

    So to sup up this part i have four chooks, one bantam currently living on her own and three "normal" hens in the perma-coop.

    Questions

    1)

    I had to travel away for a week, as did my wife (thought to differnt countries entierly) so this was the big test, was i going to come back to a disater?

    I made two feeders and bought two water "things" (i have no idear what their called in english)

    I came back too... A mountain of eggs covered in poop. Phew! All the hens were ok however it seems that none of them are eating their pellets, both feeders seem practically untouched after 7 days. None of the four seem to know what to do with pellets except to scratch them out of the way to see if there is anything more intersting underneath them.

    What are your expiriences with hens a pellets? will they learn to eat them?

    2)
    I let my hens out whenever i am in the garden, at least 2 hours a day (when im home). When they are in their coops the bantam who is alone and the three in the other coop pace up and down hoping apparently that a section of the cageing has vanished. If i walk up and down the enclosures, they follow.

    They all have plenty of food, grass i put in daily (i noticed they go quite mad for grass, is that normal?) lots of food scraps, worms from the worm bin, cracked corn, grain etc so they have all they need to eat and variety too !

    I understand that theyd rather be out and free roaming that in a coop/run but when i do let them out they come and stand at my feet as if waiting for me to give them something before eventually getting bored and off they go "grazing" if i approach them while theyre out they come running up again as if i have something for them dispite them having all the food they could possibly need.

    Is there something im missing? Of do they just miss me?? :)

    3)
    In spring i will purchase another two bantams to keep my lonely bantam company as she is currently alone. I know hens dont like to be alone and in the mean time i was thinking of putting her with the other three hens... Who are a bit bigger! Would she be ok with them? Or better off on her own for now?

    Quite i lot there i know, sorry.

    Any advice is much appreciated, thank you

    Synbadd
     
  2. Poetshens

    Poetshens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 14, 2014
    I have switched from crumble to pellets depending on what the local feed store has in stock (or on sale) and my girls got use to it rather quick. It may take mixing the two together to help them learn faster. Or you could try hand feeding it to them like a treat. I classically conditioned my chickens to come running whenever I whistle to get a treat. It sounds like yours are also classically conditioned. They are just spoiled looking for a treat every time they see you. If your bantam goes along with the larger hens outside of the run and free ranges with them then she should do fine in the coop with the bigger ones. I had 6 regular hens and 4 bantam hens in separate pens next to each other for a while and eventually I just put them in with each other because they killed the grass standing at the fence closest to the other chickens. The pecking order will be established and can be cruel but it sounds like your bantam hen should be fine. In the spring I would start the three bantams off separate from the regular hens and then let them free range with the bigger girls once they established the new coop as their home.
     
  3. BigECarter

    BigECarter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2012
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    1 - I switched to pellets and they ate them. That's my experience, so I have no help there.

    2 - some breeds are more active foragers. Even my chickens that don't like to be handled like to hang out with us. Maybe you have extra lovey birds!

    3 - I'm a newbie at chickens too, but I think it could work. It really depends on the individual personalities. If your bantam and the other hens are close enough to see each other, I would go ahead and put the bantam in with the big girls. Make sure she has some hiding places, and plan on staying with them for the first hour or two to see how they do. Some pecking is to be expected. I have 9 pullets in with two hens. The dominant hen will peck at the babies if they get too close, but otherwise ignores them. The other hen is much more aggressive. She was at the bottom of my original flock of 9, and was best friends with the #1 hen. I think she is afraid that she will lose her #2 status so she will go after the little ones. But she's not persistent - she'll chase them for a few feet then get bored and go back to what she was doing.

    You could also try sectioning off part of the pen for the bantam so that they can live together for a couple of weeks before merging.

    She might not want to be separated when you bring in more bantams if she has integrated into the other flock. Hopefully other BYC members will have more advice.

    E
     

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