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Chicken care basics
Sun 9-Oct-11
9:49 am
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clement.rhein@mac.com
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I'm completely new to keeping chickens and I have so many questions. I've completely thrown myself at the deep end in getting those chickens this week. Its one mother and three kids, hens.

 

They are very scarred of me. i've picked them up and cuddled them, and I speak sweetly to them, but its been almost a week now and still the same fear. They just run away to the farest place they can and make a bit of noise too. They sometimes go a bit crazy when I pick them up. Will they relax up a bit given time or is this just normal chicken behavior?

 

Also, the mother still hasn't laid an egg. Could it be because of stress? Would it help if I placed an egg in the place she's supposed to lay in, to help her understand her new environment?

 

Food wise, i've built a mobile coop, so they eat weeds. I give kitchen scraps and a few linseeds and some purselaine. But how to know how much to give of what? If they have weeds to eat, is that just enough anyways and I shouldn't worry?

 

I havn't dared to let them out of the coop from fear that they'll run away. But would they just come back in their coop at night? They do naturally go into their bedroom at dusk already.

 

Any good reading on hen care that someone can recommend? Also, i'd like to read about chicken psychology.

 

I need all the help I can get at the moment! 🙂

Thanks a lot,

Clem

Sun 9-Oct-11
10:00 am
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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wave Hello Clem, welcome on board!  I'm sure someone will be able to help you, just hang around for a little while.

I'll try that again!

Sun 9-Oct-11
11:02 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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Hi Clem,

Welcome to the forum. 

 

As to your hens; they will be very stressed as they are such creatures of habit & just hate any deviation from it. So now they have both a new owner, new location & maybe a difference in diet. Did you check with the previous owner about what they were fed & when. If you want to change this you should do it gradually. I think it might be an idea to feed them at least some pelleted food & to give them mixed corn scratch at the end of the afternoon so they have full crops to go to sleep with, especially now winter is coming; they use a lot of energy keeping warm in the winter. 

How old are the pullets (female chickens under one year old)? If they are still teenagers & the older hen was their broody she may not have started laying again yet after hatching a brood of chicks & caring for them. They tend to moult & have a rest while the days are short & start laying again in the new year. Egg laying is triggered by day-length & light.

Do you know what breed they are & did you buy them from from a proper breeder or someone you can trust ? How old is the older hen?  I know I'm asking a lot of questions but certain breeds are not good layers & some cross-breeds are bred for laying & will do so throughout the winter.

Here are some useful sites for information. The 2ND & 3RD are in North America but are full of useful info; you have to join them to ask questions.

 

http://www.poultry.allotment.org.uk/

 

Hope this helps.

Good luck.  smile

 

Nadine /aka Hattie

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sun 9-Oct-11
6:13 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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I started with chickens and ducks just over a year ago and was very worried to start. Now they are all free range and put themselves to bed at dusk I just shut the doors. This spring one of my girls went broody and hatched 2 eggs, Bubble has grown into a handsome cockeral and Squeak a pretty hen.  They hatched in April and Ellie has laid her first egg since today big_laugh They eat what they want in the garden but also have access to layers pellets. they get a daily treat of either cooked pasta, grated courgette, sweetcorn or left over seeded bread. sweetcorn is the favourite. Only 1 of my girls likes being picked up and actually demands attention when I am in the garden. The others are not so keen but I pick up Boris my rooster sometimes to remind him who is boss. You have to be confident with them and just go for it. Bribe them with treats so they see you as a good thing!

I love the omlet site, they give good basic information in a fun way.

Enjoy

Trying to enjoy life as it is

http://www.letertregites.com

Mon 10-Oct-11
6:28 pm
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clement.rhein@mac.com
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Thanks for that guys.

 

To answer questions, I have no idea how old they are. The man told me they are "village hens", and give the traditional Cyprus eggs. Here, the weather is warm and shade is still more comfortable at this time of year. The older hen is the broody, so that's probably why she hasn't started to lay yet.

 

On principal, I don't agree in feeding them dried processed food. My cat and dogs don't get any, and I hope that my hens wont either. I've heard that in free range they get all they need (?).

 

So, is it a good idea for me to pick all of them up at this stage, get them used to getting picked up and loved up? Then, if they grow not to like it so much be it, but at least it will not be alien to them...

Mon 10-Oct-11
10:03 pm
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Terrier
York

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Hi Clem

Hattie (Nadine) is the queen of all things chicken, and the one I go to for help, I have a motley crew of assorted hens and cockerels, it will take a while for them to get used to you, but persevere and they'll come round eventually.

Tue 11-Oct-11
7:06 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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Hi Clem,

I think handling chickens is a good idea, it makes it a lot easier when & if you have to deal with some injury etc. My lot are not keen on being picked up & cuddled but I think that is because I have about 20 of them so they have their own community. I think the fewer you have the more they need humans for company.

The reason I feed pellets as well as free-ranging them in my garden is then I know they are getting a balanced diet¦..they don't have to eat it. In fact I have some hens that refuse to eat pellets & will only eat mixed corn. Your birds are obviously from a strain that have been bought up for generations to free range, that's fine if there is enough wild food all year round.

I have another question for you¦¦are you sure that all your young ones are female??? Have you got a good photo of them that you could post here? I would love to see what a Cypriot village hen looks like......I'm just nosey !!  laugh

Janet is very kind about my chicken knowledge but I am no expert¦.I just spend a lot of time watching them as I find them very interesting. I am no good when it comes to their illnesses as in nearly ten years of keeping them I have not had to deal with any (fingers crossed for the future). 

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

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