What now?!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chickymommy45, May 7, 2016.

  1. Chickymommy45

    Chickymommy45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2016
    Missouri
    So we're at about 8-9 weeks. Moved the girls outside. Started mixing some layer feed into the starter feed, give mealworm treats, and I'm even hearing the beginnings of some clucks! My peepers are growing up!

    So what do I do now? They are very well coop trained (go in at night, come out in the morning once door is opened). They are eating well but also are free-ish range so have a lot of plants and bugs to pick at, and they like to hang out on their roost and in the nesting boxes. We know eggs are still a while off, but what can we do to take good care of my peepers-soon-to-be-cluckers?

    We have offered some grit and oyster shells. I'm thinking we should keep them on mostly starter feed but chicky daddy wants them on more grown up food.

    Also, picking them up is still pretty hard. Only one of them is "cuddly". Suggestions on getting them to be more comfortable with being handled? I give a lot of treats when I come out so they know people = snacks but I really like having one on my shoulder :).
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Put them back on 100% grower. They are growing quickly and need the higher protein, vitamins and minerals. Putting them on layer is not going to make them start any sooner. If anything, it will put them behind maturing.
    Block off the nesting boxes so they don't get in the habit of sleeping in them.
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Please put them back on grower immediately! The higher calcium in layer feed at this point will cause long term damage to either their kidneys or liver, can't remember which one. Do not put them on layer until at least 18 weeks.

    They don't need oyster shell until they start laying. Meal worms are fine. Just be sure you are not giving more than 10% of what they eat in treats. It is not nutritionally complete and the feed is. They will have better health and growth if you follow my advice.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Chickymommy45

    Chickymommy45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2016
    Missouri
    Thanks everyone!!! We will put them back on grower feed at 100%. When should we switch to layer feed? Should we remove the oyster shells?

    We can block off the nesting boxes for sure. When should we open those up?
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,316
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    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Remove the oyster shells for now. Keep them on the grower until they start laying. At that point, start mixing the remaining grower with the layer and use it up. You can put out the oyster shells and they will eat it if needed.
    Taming them id pretty easy. Wait until they roost for the night and are settled. Pick them up one at a time. Hold their wings against their body so they can't flap. 10-20 seconds tops. A few scratches, place her back on the roost, pick up the next one. A few minutes every night is all it takes. Hold them longer making sure they remain calm. In a couple of weeks, you should be able to walk up to them outside and pick them up without much fussing.
    Leave the nesting boxes blocked off until you see signs they are ready to start laying.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I agree with Percheron Chick.

    When they will lay partly depends on the breed. Some one I know with sexlinks started laying at 16 weeks. Barred rocks and other heritage breed Are more between 20 and 24 weeks.

    I have read that they will squat when you reach down to pet them when they are close to lay. Of my 3 in a previous flock, only 1 of them ever did that. The other 2 slinked away.

    Also, if they have access to dirt you don't need grit.

    Since I free ranged, they would start disappearing for hours. After I discovered they were laying (not all at the same time or place, started weeks apart) I kept them confined where the lay box was until after they laid each day, for a weeks or so. I put a golf ball in 1 of the boxes, but they all chose a different box. The same 1.

    If you end up with any roosters or chickens that aren't laying..., you can feed them an "all flock" and keep oyster shell available in a separate dish. They will only use what they need.
     
  7. Chickymommy45

    Chickymommy45 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2016
    Missouri


    So I've started the "tucking in" regiment but they're still pretty resistant to being handled. Should I wait until they're asleep/it's dark? I've been doing it shortly after they go in the coop. I'm too small to pick them up from the top of the coop so I use the side door. I really want them to be friendly but also so they can be safely handled for chickydaddy and the chickens themselves. I realize they're not cuddly animals but I really want them to like me [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    A lot of times here, things are still in an uproar shortly after they go in. So waiting a little longer might be better.

    I also find they like to have their legs supported. I hold them close to my chest & quietly make my version of chicken sounds. When your giving out snack, try and make them take it from your hand and always move slowly when approaching. I will say that my current pullets have calmed down a lot as they've aged some. They And they seem to feed off of each others energy, so 1 hyper chicken can send the whole flock running. They hang around me all the time now and hardly worry about noise and motion. Most of them still prefer not to be handled. But when they are close by I grab them and keep them from flying away, then sit them on my lap (chicken noises/talking) and once they've settled and laid down I gently pet them. Once it has been calm for a moment like that, I do not resist when they are ready to leave. But I try not to let them leave freaked out because that's a negative anchoring. We want positive reinforcement. Occasionally, over-handling chicks could make it worse.

    I usually go for the flightiest bird first to. Seems easier that way.

    Anyways, hope any of it helps. I also want friendly (if not cuddly) birds. It definitely helps when you need to do something for them.

    I think they will gain trust in you and confidence as they age a little.

    Best wishes!
     
  9. Chickymommy45

    Chickymommy45 Out Of The Brooder

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    1
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    Mar 27, 2016
    Missouri
    Update:

    Happy peepers are no longer peeping but full on clucking! They are getting better with the bedtime routine except they seem to prefer to roost on top of the coop vs inside of it. We are putting them inside at night though it's kind of a chore. It gives me a chance to handle them and check on their health. It's very warm here and I worry putting them inside will make them too hot. They are completely enclosed even when outside the coop in a netted off enclosure- should we continue to stuff them in at night? I just don't want them getting used to sleeping on the coop roof...

    We still have the nesting box blocked off so they don't sleep in it. I think we're at about 11 weeks old. They are so big- I'm so excited for eggs!!
     
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    As long as they have good ventilation, I prefer locking them up. Definitely not roosting on the coop.

    Glad they are coming along well!
     

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