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Chicken Questions
May 30, 2010
3:32 pm
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rmsrosedawson
Tennessee
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Hello,

I have four Silkies and I just got them on March 9.  I thought they were the ugliest little things I had ever seen….but they grew on me.  They are very nurturing.  I wanted to get all hens, no roosters; however, a rooster is part of the flock.  Now I have a hen that’s gone broody.  She is sitting on four eggs.   My questions are around how to raise the chicks when they get here.  I’ve never raised chickens before March 9, let alone baby chicks.  I can barely remember my Granny keeping chickens when I was very small. 

The nest is sitting on the ground.  Do I need to move the nest and broody hen and eggs in to another isolated place?  Does the hen ever get up off that nest to eat drink poo etc??  I can’t catch her doing any of that.  What do I need to do when the chicks hatch??  I’m intrigued, nervous, happy, and ambivalent about raising baby chicks….any advice would be very much appreciated.

May 30, 2010
4:58 pm
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threadartist
Oregon
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Having chickens is down right fun for me.  I’m happy to hear that they are so sweet.  I can’t help you with your questions on hatching the eggs since I’m also new to raising chickens.  I got mine at 1 day old and they are now out in their own coop.

 

I also have a question for you pros out there.  How do you get your chickens back in the coop after being out all day.  Today was the first day that I let 2 of the four out for a little while and I was a nervous wreck trying to figure out how I would catch them.  Hubby finally helped me ‘herd’ them back in thankfully.

 

Also, my Plymouth Rock girl can fly REALLY well.  I starred in shock as she almost flew right over a 6 foot fence.  This is not a good thing as there are dogs that run around in our neighborhood that would just as soon eat chicken for dinner! 

 

JoJo

May 30, 2010
5:17 pm
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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JoJo, I had the same problem — getting them in the coop/house at night!  John would sit on the deck and enjoy his comedy hour watching me!  I took Suzanne’s advice and got a can with some treat (well, it’s their food right now, have not got to the feed store yet) and shake it so they hear the noise……they come in all by themselves at dark I’ve found, but many times I’m asleep before dark, so that schedule just wasn’t working for me.  But the last 3 nights, they have started working their way in as I start banging the can….it takes about 5 minutes for them all to wander in.

When you let them out, are they in the yard or in their run?

You can clip their wings…….I’ve only just read about it, haven’t tried it yet, so no advice on this!  But I’m glad I put the top on their run….they can fly up to the top of it!  and it’s 5 1/2 feet tall!

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

May 30, 2010
6:25 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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yahoooo!  Love to hear about chickens, I think they’re a bunch of fun and it just isn’t home without at least a few busily nattering around the yard.

Silkies are known for going broody at the drop of an …egg?  And they will try to set on so many they can’t possibly manage it so it’s important to mark the ones you want her to keep setting on and remove any new ones other hens add to the pile. 

Whether or not you need to move her and the nest so the other hens don’t harass her or any new chicks depends on you, her, the rest of the flock and how the coop is set up.  I guess I’ve been lucky, I’ve had very protective mamas and they’ve done fine on their own.  It’s possible when they hatch out, other hens will attack them though so that’s worth bearing in mind.  I’ve mostly left it all up to the mama to deal with but others have had bad luck with this, (as Monica who is a member her will tell you!) but I’ve been ok so far (knock on wood).

One thing you can do is build a little ‘shed-roof’ that the chicks can fit in, but that hens can’t get under and keep chick starter under that and possibly some water for then too so they can keep under cover if mama isn’t watchful enough.  I had a sort of horribly designed “A” frame thing with stubby blocks of 2×4 ends to raise it a little to keep the feed for them separate because they can’t compete for the big chicken feed and the big hens will keep them away.  I’m going to need to make a new one that will hopefully be better designed than the one I made for mine when I was 12.  (dad was good about letting me figure things out for myself, even though it probably hurt his craftsman’s soul to see the thing!)

To answer you question about her getting off the nest, yes she does, but only when she’s convinced it’s very VERY safe to do so, so you probably won’t be anywhere nearby when she does it.  Try to make sure she has fresh water and food nearby (in sight so she can see the nest while she gets a drink and has a snack) but not so close that she doesn’t have to walk a little to get to it.  She needs to stretch her legs and all that!

And yep, Cindy’s sure got it right about treats at first.  They need to learn that that’s where they go to roost, after a few days, they’ll do it on their own at dusk.  Or, to get them in before dusk for whatever reason.  Mine have been heading in quite early all by themselves actually, so it just depends really.  I go out at all different times and rattle a can and give them a few treats so they learn to react to it.  (mine free range all day though)

Located in N.E. Ohio

May 31, 2010
6:54 pm
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rmsrosedawson
Tennessee
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Thank you so much for answering….I feel a little better about the hen.  She is a DEDICATED sitter, like she is in a trance or something.  I have a coop that I can put the chicks in for awhile after they hatch.  Again, my thanks.

May 31, 2010
11:52 pm
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Grandmatotwochicks
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Help! I think one of my hen’s is crop bound, I noticed today that her crop was big and lumpy, she looked like she has a very large breast!  but it’s not the breast its the crop!  I had let them out today to free range, and I was reading online that grass can cause this, has anyone ever had a hen that was crop bound? and what did you do to take care of this? There is information online but as always I am not sure what would be best, Thanksno

June 1, 2010
8:17 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Just saw this now Gma2, how was she this morning?  It sounds normal at the end of the day, she should digest things overnight…  let us know.

I’ve never had any personal experience with either impacted crop, or sour crop…. but your hen just sounds like she had a good day out in the fields.

Located in N.E. Ohio

June 25, 2010
1:57 am
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threadartist
Oregon
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Woe is me… guess who besides me loves hostas! 

 

I’ve been diligently and lovingly growing them for 15 years and my girls (all four of them) have decided they love them too.  In fact, they love them all the way down to the ground.  Two are dust and I’ve attempted to fence off two others and now before they realize that they can go everywhere in the yard, I’ve got to get creative and hide the others.  Right now, they think the earth is flat and that the property line is very small so they haven’t ventured out too far from the coop….thank goodness!  chicken

 

Oh, and one potted plant is nothing but sticks now.  They love flowers too! 

 

And one more funny thing… Sadie, my animated one, stomps at me in the morning if I don’t bring her a piece of bread.  It’s too funny.  She will actually bow down, puff out her wings, and stomp all the way to me.  She then looks up and says “Where’s the Bread!”  It cracks me up every time.

 

JoJo

June 25, 2010
8:41 am
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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She is “squating” for who she thinks is the roo, which is you!  lol. (Amoung other duties,  roosters bring nice little treats for the girls. )  Some people use bird netting to protect their flowers.

June 25, 2010
8:53 am
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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laugh I have a small yard but the chicken pen and the garden is in this area (surrounded by a 6′ fence).  I love to let them out in the yard, but the garden is a MAGNET to them!  But they normally leave my flowers alone…haven’t had a problem with those at all.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

June 25, 2010
11:49 pm
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monica
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Ha!  I had to laugh ( and I needed one too).  George, is our rooster–when he crows, he finishes by stamping his feet.  He will convince the girls to come over and eat a tasy tdibit that he has rooted up, then he springs into action.  Little N calls this the ‘chicken rodeo’, but we have to tell him that he can’t tell this to the ladies standing in the grocery store checkout.  Ha!  Those Hoity Toity ladies can keep their “fresh eggs” in their cart.censoredspinning-devil  Ha!

 

We don’t let the big girls out, but the little ones seem like they need more space and light, so I have been letting them out for awhile so they can eat and stretch.  They too are quite close to the garden, and seem drawn to it.  I planted a HUGe row of cabbage since that was one of the cheapest vegetables per pound over the winter and really seemed to like it.  So I planted a BUNCH of cabbage.  I pick out the plants that are really small and shaded by the others so they might have enough room to head out.  Maybe if you let them out toward the end of the day, when they are probably getting tired and ready for bedtime soon–they might have already had a full belly by then and not be so inclined to scarf everything in sight (don’t we as people do that–if we wait to long to eat . . .we eat anything and everything because we are soooooo hungry!) The chickens learn quicly where the good food is.

I wish that we had the acreage to be able to free range all the time!  The best part is that cole crops would LOVE to grow in cooler temps, so you could plant a few wherever you have a small space.  I saw in (todays post ??) Suzanne put fencing over a raised bed gardenclover to keep the dogs and chickens out of the herbs and salad greens. 

My budget plan is NOT getting a cart when I go to the store.

June 26, 2010
9:41 am
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blueberrylu
Michigan
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chicken rodeo   laughlaughlaughlaughlaugh

June 26, 2010
10:31 am
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Miss Judy
West Central MO
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I love the chicken rodeo. it reminds me of my grandson when he was 4 yrs old. he had a mule, Petey.

 Petey was very lonely …no other mules. He was pastured with the sheep. Wellllll, he tried to become very “friendly” with the ewe, Ava.

My grandson witnessed this but never said much about it…. until he retold the whole episode to his aunt…in a family restaurant.

It went something like this….”Aunt Dee, my mule Petey tried to mount my sheep, Ava. I don’t know what he was thinking. He can’t make baby sheep. He should of known better!” And of course his shrill little voice carried over the whole establishment! his mother was so red faced! she tried to crawl under the table. The older gentleman sitting by himself next to us laughed so hard he cried. laugh

When grandson enrolled for kindergarten the teacher wrote on a note to his parents… “Interesting farm stories!” my DIL was too afraid to ask what the stories were.

June 26, 2010
6:37 pm
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Grandmatotwochicks
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Dear Miss Judy,

     I laughed so hard at your story!   We just LOVE our Grandbabies! wink

July 2, 2010
10:50 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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I was just looking over the Meyer Hatchery site and I saw this video:  http://www.meyerhatchery.com/page_223  I thought it was pretty interesting.

Located in N.E. Ohio

July 23, 2010
9:55 pm
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Grandmatotwochicks
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The two pullets I bought in March are now friends with the other hen's its only taken about two months for them to get along.  I finally stopped obessing about the situation and low and behold they are even hanging out together.  They lay little bluish green eggs that are sooooo cute!  I love to collect the egg's they are all so different.  Chickens are great fun.yes

July 24, 2010
9:05 am
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Pete
WV
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We newby chicken owners sure seem to have a lot of questions! 

It has been fascinating to watch the development of this young hens.  Have noticed lately that all but one are loosing tail feathers!  They are acting as they always have, but several of them already had gorgeous tail feathers, most of which are now gone.  Maybe this is just a stage they go through.  The feathers on their bodies seem to be changing every day as well.  They are about 3/4 grown.

We haven't heard them fussing among themselves, have not caught them fighting or such, but the feathers are simply falling out.

The girls are just this week producing some grown up chicken sounds.  Until the past few days there wasn't much noise coming from them at all.  An occasional squawk, but not any cooing, purring, cackling, or other chick sounds.  It's been a fun week as they discover their voices!

Was there a question in there?  Well, I guess I'm looking for some reassurance that this tail feather issue is not something about which to worry.

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

July 24, 2010
10:07 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Normal for any chickens young or not IMO, it's mostly the heat.  I'm expecting a molt thanks to the weather though mine don't look nearly ratty enough yet to think it's a real molt.  I've got feather's all over the place too.

If they're picking feathers off of each other and eating them, it means they probably need more protein.  That's the first thing I go to if they were feather picking and eating, but this doesn't sound like what's happening, I never saw more than one or two feathers untill a week or two ago, now they're all over the coop so that's what I suspect. 

Located in N.E. Ohio

July 24, 2010
10:23 am
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Pete
WV
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Figured it was either heat related, or growth related – like they might be loosing their half-grown feathers!  No, no picking them off each other, and certainly no eating them.  Behavior seems altogether normal, or at least the behavior we have become accustomed to from them.  That changes pretty often as well, as they mature.

They are so silly!  Discovering new treats every day, too.  The first ears of corn I tossed out for them they ignored.  After the roo chased them away from the corn a few times they got interested in it, and by the second day were going for it, trying to beat him to it!

We shall see what they think of tomatoes later today…

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

July 24, 2010
10:47 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Mine LOVE grapes and will grab them out of my hands.  I hold one firmly between my fingers so the first one has to really tear the grape to get a taste, then they all have at it.  I've had people horrified by the way I do it because they think it hurts… I just don't think it hurts even if they accidental do hit a finger or my thumb!  (not that they do very often, they usually know EXACTLY what they are going after!)  If you don't want them to grab them that way, at least cut grapes in half, because they'll swallow them WHOLE otherwise and while I've never seen one choke or anything, it seems possible to me.  LOL 

Mine also love blueberries that I cull out of the basket as not acceptable for eating or cooking, and for that matter, any berries I've ever fed them!  yesterday I gave mine the hollowed out rind of a watermelon half, I should have taken a picture of the thin little outer rind they left after they hacked out any softer parts of the rind.

For some reason they seem to love anything RED so tomatoes should be a hit if mine are anything to go by, I don't know if they can see color well or not, but they must be able to see something about it because they always seem to respond to anything red… including red fingernail polish… BEWARE!  devil     

Located in N.E. Ohio

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