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Chickens

50599 Views 674 Replies 54 Participants Last post by  motoscoota
I lost a bird a couple weeks ago to my own dog.
Lost a hen to a hawk attack yesterday. The flocks are locked in their enclosed runs today. Hopefully it moves on to better hunting grounds. Doubt the chickens would be out of the run much this week anyway...

Mike
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Not controlling the light yet, but we will. We did last winter, I just haven't set the timer yet. Our birds did go at least 1 day with frozen waterers, but I fixed that as soon as I noticed.
We went from handing out free eggs to family and friends, to having to ration the few we're getting and might have to actually purchase bland eggs from the groc store.
Are you controlling the amount of light they have each day? (Supplemental light.)
Winters shorter hours historically meant a reduction in output.
Artificial light changed that.

A hen has X amount of eggs potential in her life. Drought / lack of water can mess that up ,
2-3 year olds can be the best producers. But older hens can keep producing.
Maybe it's 800-1000 eggs her entire life? Multiple factors apply but it is a finite thing eventually.

I kept hens beyond thier prime last time I had a flock.
Unlike my youth where slackers met the stew pot.
Long as I had eggs it was fine.

Folks used to rotate thier age classes. Every year or two new layers would be brooded (separately in many cases) to replace the earlier birds.
When we see them more as pets though . that goes out the window. Or you end up with a lot of birds!
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Are you controlling the amount of light they have each day? (Supplemental light.)
Winters shorter hours historically meant a reduction in output.
Artificial light changed that.

A hen has X amount of eggs potential in her life. Drought / lack of water can mess that up ,
2-3 year olds can be the best producers. But older hens can keep producing.
Maybe it's 800-1000 eggs her entire life? Multiple factors apply but it is a finite thing eventually.

I kept hens beyond thier prime last time I had a flock.
Unlike my youth where slackers met the stew pot.
Long as I had eggs it was fine.

Folks used to rotate thier age classes. Every year or two new layers would be brooded (separately in many cases) to replace the earlier birds.
When we see them more as pets though . that goes out the window. Or you end up with a lot of birds!
Not controlling the light yet, but we will. We did last winter, I just haven't set the timer yet. Our birds did go at least 1 day with frozen waterers, but I fixed that as soon as I noticed.
We went from handing out free eggs to family and friends, to having to ration the few we're getting and might have to actually purchase bland eggs from the groc store.
We are in the having the old birds deal. Which have become the dreaded pets. 5 of our 6 girls are over 6 years old. And usually supply our needs. But we have been discussing the reward vs what is costs to feed them. They are very healthy but just not producing. The possibility is putting them down now. Kinda makes no sense to feed them all winter. And restocking early spring with chicks that should start producing early fall next year. Ugh
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I keep looking at "The Baroness" in my coup... she developed a rather 'sweet' attitude, as if she knew her survival depended on it. She's the only remaining bird that lays blue eggs... but her age is showing big time, and I wonder if I'm being a prick for keeping her as the middle aged brood keeps beating on her. Seems like a good time for a whole day boil... dunno?

BTW, who else misses @junkman ???
To add to supplemental light for winter laying, info...
It's my understanding it's best to add the artificial light in the AM hours - somehow it's less stressful to the birds they say.
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I don't add extra hours of light.I pretty much Let my birds do their thing.It's natural for laying to slowdown or even stop in the winter months.
To add to supplemental light for winter laying, info...
It's my understanding it's best to add the artificial light in the AM hours - somehow it's less stressful to the birds they say.
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Found some alfalfa cubes at my local TSC.Ran them through the grinder and mixed in with the feed they seem to like it.Mixed enough to give them a one week test run.
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Toss a couple / few cubes where the birds can work them.
Keep them busy on lousy weather days.
Found some alfalfa cubes at my local TSC.Ran them through the grinder and mixed in with the feed they seem to like it.Mixed enough to give them a one week test run.
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They seem to like rooting around in the straw I put down in the run.Picking out any seeds or critters that ended up bailed into it.And they also have some things to get under to get out of the weather on bad days and also to help avoid air born predators.
Toss a couple / few cubes where the birds can work them.
Keep them busy on lousy weather days.
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I got a pretty good deal on a 5 LB bag of freeze-dried meal worms. So I been tossing a hand full or so in with their feed.
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Can we talk about chicken coop lighting for the purpose of stimulating laying eggs during winter months?

I'm no longer feeling happy about feeding a flock if 8 hens just because they are fun to drink beer with. I want the eggs to justify them being on my farm quarters.

Granted, feed prices have improved somewhat... $68 for 150lbs. last re-up; 50# Hen House Reserve (the good stuff), 50# generic scratch, 50# Mid-grade Crumble.

Also, Harding's of Richland selling decent eggs for $2.99 per doz.

Still prefer my home eggs for quality and convenience.

Looking to use artifical light. Just don't want to pay electricity & don't want fire risk.

Anyone have an LED solar setup that's fitting the bill? Please share!

Cheers chicken folk:)
Lol. My two outside birds haven't laid an egg in like 3 weeks. One is molting, though, plus the cold and shorter days slow them down, but I hope they start producing again soon. My kitchen chicken, on the other hand, pops one out daily.

Sent from my SM-S908U using Michigan Sportsman mobile app
We’re down to a dozen hens, all 3 1/2 yrs old and they haven’t produced an egg in 3 days. What the heck is going on?
Kitchen chicken??? A breed I’m not familiar with or an actual open door policy with critters?
Lol. My two outside birds haven't laid an egg in like 3 weeks. One is molting, though, plus the cold and shorter days slow them down, but I hope they start producing again soon. My kitchen chicken, on the other hand, pops one out daily.

Sent from my SM-S908U using Michigan Sportsman mobile app
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We decided not to add light. They only lay so many eggs in their lifetime. Just have to decide if you want to give them a break and keep them longer, or cull and get young birds…. We probably have 40-50 birds, getting 1 - 4 eggs a day right now. Typically we do better with the young birds we add yearly laying thru winter, this has been an odd year…
Can we talk about chicken coop lighting for the purpose of stimulating laying eggs during winter months?

I'm no longer feeling happy about feeding a flock if 8 hens just because they are fun to drink beer with. I want the eggs to justify them being on my farm quarters.

Granted, feed prices have improved somewhat... $68 for 150lbs. last re-up; 50# Hen House Reserve (the good stuff), 50# generic scratch, 50# Mid-grade Crumble.

Also, Harding's of Richland selling decent eggs for $2.99 per doz.

Still prefer my home eggs for quality and convenience.

Looking to use artifical light. Just don't want to pay electricity & don't want fire risk.

Anyone have an LED solar setup that's fitting the bill? Please share!

Cheers chicken folk:)
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Our coop is too big for the amount of birds we have. We started with 22 and are down to 12, but we have room for probably 30. We've decided we want to get more birds this Spring.

Any tips for adding new birds to an existing flock?
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In my experience, it seems good to add an even number of new brood to the existing brood. So if you have 12 hens already, add 10 or 12.

I have a seperate coop & run for the newbies, located next to the main coop & run. Seems good for the birds to see & smell each other although seperated.

I get chicks for the auxiliary coop all together so they imprint & bond as one. I usually start introductions in a free range manor and it's best when a couple hens were already looking for hatchlings. I've observed a single day change in the broody hens as soon as they recognize some youngsters are present.

Eventually, I put the all together, but I place some hay bails in the big run so the younger birds have obstacles to dodge the bigger birds.

There's always a rough period at first while the pecking order resets. At first I may have to handle getting the young ones into the coop at night as they feel unwelcome at first. I actually feel fall/early winter is a good time to integrate because their instinct to huddle for warmth seems to override territorial behavior.
Do you typically have broody hens? Let them hatch fertilized eggs. Sure helps with the pecking order issues / possibility the new birds bring in disease new to your flock…
Our coop is too big for the amount of birds we have. We started with 22 and are down to 12, but we have room for probably 30. We've decided we want to get more birds this Spring.

Any tips for adding new birds to an existing flock?
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Occasionally we'll have broody hens. They tend to spend a lot of time in their coop in recent weeks, so it's hard to tell right now.

Where do you buy fertilized eggs? We don't have a rooster.
Do you typically have broody hens? Let them hatch fertilized eggs. Sure helps with the pecking order issues / possibility the new birds bring in disease new to your flock…
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I've not come across an easy fertilized egg supplier. There's something nice about seeing the vitality and vigor of a chick, and just skipping the whole hatch scenerio of grief and disappointment.

I agree disease is a concern anytime a transient population intro occurs. This is another reason to seperate new birds at first... spend two months monitoring the health of new chicks. They have amazing immune systems so long as they have there health needs met.

That said, it's normal to get a dud or two or three. Usually I believe it's about not getting the warmth early on, or just coming from a lame yolk. I'm not one od those people who's willing to nurse a dud chick with a syringe - well maybe for a day or two, looking for a sudden bounce back, but if not it's time to be sent to "the light in the sky"... truly sucks to drown or behead a cute little beaky critter, but IMO they just don't developed at a pace to compete and will just be a vector for problems that day forward. Some people love being a nurse, but that's not me.
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Unlikely they are brooding now. That behavior is stimulated by them noticing eggs in the nest areas. Right now they're just hating on the wind/rain/cold/snow. This time of year I keep crum in the coop so they can gorge in the cold.

Brooding is typically a Spring and Summer occurrence - they see eggs and start to try hatching. You'll see more than just sheltering... they'll actually refuse to stand - hiss at your interrupting the sitting time / warm eggs until they go rotten / even gather eggs from other nesting areas into one pile.
Occasionally we'll have broody hens. They tend to spend a lot of time in their coop in recent weeks, so it's hard to tell right now.

Where do you buy fertilized eggs? We don't have a rooster.
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Broody hen is the best way if you can find some eggs, as mentioned. If you do end up having to buy some chicks, I've had great luck raising chicks in a brooder that is attached to my coop. Only chicken wire between the two with a small door that I can open or close. They spend their first 3-4 weeks in the brooder with the door closed but able to see eachother through the wire. After that, I'll open it so they can go back an forth getting used to their what will eventually be their home. The door is only 3.5" x 3.5", so only the small birds can make it through to safety. Sounds small but you might be surprised how small a hole a full sized birds can blast through when they're chasing a chick. They'll slowly just move in with the other birds. You already mentioned you have a lot of extra space in the roost which will help a lot regardless of which route you go.
Our coop is too big for the amount of birds we have. We started with 22 and are down to 12, but we have room for probably 30. We've decided we want to get more birds this Spring.

Any tips for adding new birds to an existing flock?
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