The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Poultry & Waterfowl => Topic started by: wendyb on January 24, 2009, 05:23:41 am

Title: new to chickens
Post by: wendyb on January 24, 2009, 05:23:41 am
Hello I am am new to the forum and new to chickens, which is why i am up at 5am worrying about them! I was very kindly given a couple of chickens last week, which after the surprise shock and intial panic I am very pleased about. they came with what I think is called an arc? basically its a cage about 5ft- 6ft long with an enclosed box at one end. the whole thing has handles so you can move it around. I have scoured the internet for info and as a temp measure i have put some wood shavings on plastic sheeting in the box area ( to keep it dry?)plus a couple of cut off cardboard boxes with shavings and straw as  nests?. I tried a plastic feeder but just got wet and bunged up so using a plant pot tray to put food ( mixed corn and Layers pellets) in every day. water feeder works fine. no eggs yet though on day 4.

I wondered if anyone can tell me if what i am doing is ok and If there is anyone nearish to doncaster that has a larger  secondhand proper chicken coop they would like to sell. I am a bit concerned that what they have is too small longer term. I have seen books and plans but not sure i have the skills to do it properly.

hope someone can help


Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: pigsatlesrues on January 24, 2009, 08:07:00 am
Hi Wendy and welcome to TAS.

I am sure there will be lots advice for you from other members, but while you are waiting, go to the home page on TAS and look under articles and have a read of the section on Poultry.  It is very informative, and will hopefully give you an insight into keeping chooks, which are very entertaining at times!

Kate  :pig: :chook:
Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: CoraxAurata on January 25, 2009, 01:39:35 pm
Hi, I've not been keeping chooks for all that long myself but one tip I have picked up is give the layers pellets/mash in the am and the corn pm as it is slower to digest so a) is good to provide fuel to keep them warm at night and b)seems to knock back their laying if fed in the morning...

As long as you have only two, and the pen is tall enough for your size of birds it is probably big enough, especially if you are moving it onto fresh ground fairly often, but the more room to roam around you can give them the happier they will be. Some breeds are better than others for small coops.  My birds are free range, but I can shut their pen if I need to - bad weather, new birds introduced, or in theory (not happened yet) If someone has to chook sit for us to keep them safe whilst the house is mostly empty - incase the foxes get more bold...

Anyway I'm sure you'll get loads of more experienced help soon...<g>

Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: wendyb on January 26, 2009, 06:12:18 pm
thank you any advice is great at the moment. i took delivery of a new coop today so very excited  they now have an upstairs!! but even though its got a run attached and space underneath the roost i still think its not enough space. will have a go at attaching an additional fenced area. another question? do you think I should put water in the roost area at night, as i am feeding and watering them out in the run area at the moment. wasnt a problem before because they could nip out with the old house and run ( no door to roost area.), but now they are shut up for the night? sorry i know this might be a stupid question. ev3ryone keeps telling me its easy to keep chickens but feels like so much to learn and i am worried about getting it wrong.

many thanks

Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: Rosemary on January 26, 2009, 07:38:32 pm
Hens have very por night vision (which is why they are very easy to handle in the dark). Once they go to roost, they don't get up for a snack or a drink in the middle of the night so you don't need to leave food or water out overnight. In fact, better to put food somewhere rodent proof at night if you can.
Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: doganjo on January 26, 2009, 10:31:59 pm
One of my white girls has flown the coop! Literally - I'll need to do their wings but a bit scared, never done it before. She flew up onto the 6ft fence and jumped down onto the bank of the Goudnie, and I managed to get her into the duck pen then she took fright and flew up and away again.  I have been out three times in teh pitch dark with a torch, and can't see her anywhere.  The only hope I have is she appears in the morning or is hiding in with the ducks as their gate is low.  Problem is I'm scared to let the dogs out in case they find her first and she may not survive that.  Talk about the shepherd and the last little lamb!
Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: ballingall on January 27, 2009, 09:38:38 am
Any sign of her this morning Annie?

Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: doganjo on January 27, 2009, 03:08:56 pm
Yes!!! She is back in with her family!  I found her in with the ducks this morning.  She must have flown over their gate and gone into their shed just before I closed it for the night!  I did have a quick look in there last night but she must have been hunkered down in a corner, it was dark when I went out to them.

I must get their wings done - any offers?  I'm too scared I hurt them.
Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: wendyb on January 27, 2009, 05:11:21 pm
thanks a lot for the advice on food and drink, i'll sleep much better tonight for it! i was going to be brave and let them out for a bit tommorrow into a bigger area that i have surrounded with chicken wire just in case. but its only 4 ft high so a bit worried since doganjos flew over a 6 ft fence! do i need to clip their wings now as well! they are black rocks. this is worse than having babies!

thanks a lot

Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: Rosemary on January 27, 2009, 09:08:29 pm
We don't wing clip because they free range and I'd rather they COULD get some height if they had to.

They might not go over 4ft - depends what's inside and if what's outside is more intersting. We havea 3ft fence round the patio and they only go in if the gate is open. If you are going to wing clip, only do one wing - it's only to destabilise them/
Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: Rumpleteazer on January 27, 2009, 11:24:08 pm
I tend to think it is better not to clip wings if you can avoid it as it at least gives them half a chance to get away from anything if they need to. Flying over a 6 ft fence is impressive though!! They tend to get over the higher fences by hopping on top, so if you put something flimsy on top (like lattice or flimsy wire netting) that might help. Maybe.....
Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: doganjo on January 28, 2009, 01:10:53 am
Yes, I have done that on the fences at the garden side but the 6ft one is onto the bank of the burn, and I really didn't think they'd go onto that.  But No 1 Son is coming over tomorrow so we'll get that done too.  I've used the roll of plastic coated garden wire that Secret Santa gave me along with the knee pads that I can't use because my poor old knees won't bend to kneel.
Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: wendyb on January 28, 2009, 06:47:45 pm
many thanks for that, i let them out into the run today and though they did a bit if flapping but they were shall hold off the clipping. they seemed really happy and have got all the moss out of the lawn in the space of 2 hours!. qualcast scarifier eat your heart out!!

many thanks will let you know how i go on


wen dy
Title: Re: new to chickens
Post by: doganjo on January 28, 2009, 06:52:21 pm
Have put the garden wire along the 6ft fence so we'll see how that goes.  The ducks went awol yesterday and today - right upstream under the railway line.  They can't get out as far as we know as it's pretty overgrown - at least I hope not as the dogs go up there too sometimes!