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Old 09-30-2011, 10:52 PM   #81
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Chickens will start laying if you give them a vitamin and mineral powder in their food. Available at feed stores. Plus, during the winter they need light during the day, about 15 hours' worth! It's true! How old are your Plymouth Rocks anyway? We always called them "barred rocks".
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:00 PM   #82
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The PRs were born in April--I got them mid-June. They were 6 and 8 weeks old. The breeder told me they would start laying in October. I have already started leaving the light on since it gets dark earlier. I have it on a timer, so it comes on in the morning (I don't let them out until after my morning conf call), and I have it stay on until about 10-10:30 at night. I'm still trying to figure out how to keep them warm enough in the winter...insulated "nesting" boxes and wood shavings are what I'm thinking.

I have chicken vitamins. I'll add that to their water. The oldest one has started getting in the position...she is also the only one with a red comb and developed waddles.

Thanks Daizymae! I'm a newbie chicken keeper. What is your favorite breed of laying hen? I'm really fond of my RIRs, they are such good layers. And nice temperament.

I have a book from England and it has a photo of deep purple chicken but no caption identifying the breed! I would love a purple chicken...
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:29 AM   #83
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Hi. So, I'm sure that your hens will lay soon. HOw to keep the chicken house warm? Doesn't have to be real warm. As you know, heritage hens - and that includes the PRs - are kind of tough. I think that a dry, clean house is more important. If the floor is insulated, all the better. Their poor little toes shouldn't be stomping about in you-know-what. I think it causes disease & is stressful for them.

For laying, I have found all the usual well-known breeds pretty good. For going broody, Buff Orpingtons have been good to me. For nastyness of the cocks, though, the Buffs are equally impressive. Murderous, some of them.

Do you go to the backyard chickens site? Here is a lovely series of photos:

Raising BackYard Chickens, Build a Chicken Coop, Pictures of Breeds

" Here, Little Joey suspects his life is about to change..."
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Old 10-01-2011, 01:19 AM   #84
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Thanks Daizymae! My DH wasn't too keen on the idea of chickens. Now he thinks we should add yet a couple of more! I'm still trying to convince the Plymouth Rocks to start laying...hoping the golf balls in the nesting box help!
AHH the Gary Layer method
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:35 PM   #85
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AHH the Gary Layer method
Nice to have a funny guy here!
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:45 AM   #86
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Okay--the man who wasn't keen on laying hens (and hasn't been a big egg-eater until now--they are so good) informed me today we're getting 9 more RIRs next weekend. That will bring the flock up to 16 layers! What started as a couple of hens for eggs has now expanded to a chicken farm and I think I can officially call myself a chicken keeper! (I must say, gathering those FRESH, hot eggs this morning was a trip for s/one who has never had chickens before--and I couldn't resist eating one of the eggs on top of curried creamed kale [kale from the garden]).

Here at the farm we have a 30'x40' 2-storey barn that was for cattle. It is a very nice barn--power, its own well, concrete floor. We used to use it only for storing the tractors (2), lawn tractor, trailers (2), canoe, and other such things. The loft is where the lumber that the DH saws on his sawmill is put to dry--a kiln if you will. Because I got the hens before the DH built the 9'x10' coop (complete with a concrete floor and windows), I parked the hens in the barn. That's their home (and should I mention the DH wasn't keen on laying hens when I brought Myrtle and Harriet home)? Now the hens live in the barn and the coop stands empty because the hens like the various things on which to roost and we haven't had the heart to move them to the coop that doesn't have all that cool stuff on which to roost. Tonight three of them were on the seat of one of the tractors as if they were driving it. I couldn't help but laugh. I was told to leave a light on for them to extend daylight hours, so I never know what they will be doing when I go out to turn off the light. The new flock will be put in the coop. Too bad new RIRs it isn't as large as the other "chicken house."

Stay tuned for more chicken stories. With 9 more arriving next weekend, I'm sure life in the barn will be very entertaining.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:33 AM   #87
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Your girls will stay a lot warmer if you move them to a smaller space--the body heat of all those hens will raise the temp in a little coop up to a more comfortable level.

I love the feel of a newly laid egg on a cold day--what a perfect shape and temperature!!
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:41 AM   #88
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The DH has made insulated boxes for them and we'll move all of them to the coop in January if need be.
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:50 AM   #89
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Okay--the man who wasn't keen on laying hens (and hasn't been a big egg-eater until now--they are so good) informed me today we're getting 9 more RIRs next weekend. That will bring the flock up to 16 layers! What started as a couple of hens for eggs has now expanded to a chicken farm and I think I can officially call myself a chicken keeper! (I must say, gathering those FRESH, hot eggs this morning was a trip for s/one who has never had chickens before--and I couldn't resist eating one of the eggs on top of curried creamed kale [kale from the garden]).

Here at the farm we have a 30'x40' 2-storey barn that was for cattle. It is a very nice barn--power, its own well, concrete floor. We used to use it only for storing the tractors (2), lawn tractor, trailers (2), canoe, and other such things. The loft is where the lumber that the DH saws on his sawmill is put to dry--a kiln if you will. Because I got the hens before the DH built the 9'x10' coop (complete with a concrete floor and windows), I parked the hens in the barn. That's their home (and should I mention the DH wasn't keen on laying hens when I brought Myrtle and Harriet home)? Now the hens live in the barn and the coop stands empty because the hens like the various things on which to roost and we haven't had the heart to move them to the coop that doesn't have all that cool stuff on which to roost. Tonight three of them were on the seat of one of the tractors as if they were driving it. I couldn't help but laugh. I was told to leave a light on for them to extend daylight hours, so I never know what they will be doing when I go out to turn off the light. The new flock will be put in the coop. Too bad new RIRs it isn't as large as the other "chicken house."

Stay tuned for more chicken stories. With 9 more arriving next weekend, I'm sure life in the barn will be very entertaining.
You have to start taking pictures of the silly hens! Cracking me up!
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:35 AM   #90
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We would love to see pictures of hens "driving" the tractors. Do they do yard work too?
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:52 AM   #91
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We would love to see pictures of hens "driving" the tractors. Do they do yard work too?
Funny you should ask--I finally figured out if I put the food scraps in a certain area, they'd scratch and peck. I have them cleaning out a patch of weeds next to the barn right now. It'll probably take a few days, but before too long, they should have it down to bare ground. I read an article a long time ago about a "chicken tiller." Basically, it was a moveable wire box on skids that you positioned where you wanted the weeds, etc. removed, put the chickens in, and let them do their thing.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:17 AM   #92
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I'm stumped for names for the new girls--we have Henny and Penny (because we can't tell two of the barred PRs apart), Silly Milly (the PR that ran away for 36 hours), and the rooster--Cocky Rocky (evident how that name came about); Harriet and Myrtle, Agatha and Prudence. I am thinking one of the new RIRs has to be named Scarlett. The other names that come to mind are Pearl, Henrietta (Hattie for short), Hazel, Edith, and Alma. But, there are NINE of them. Anyone want to offer suggestions? Or, should they be named using a letter (my choice would be "Q").
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:25 AM   #93
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I'm stumped for names for the new girls--we have Henny and Penny (because we can't tell two of the barred PRs apart), Silly Milly (the PR that ran away for 36 hours), and the rooster--Cocky Rocky (evident how that name came about); Harriet and Myrtle, Agatha and Prudence. I am thinking one of the new RIRs has to be named Scarlett. The other names that come to mind are Pearl, Henrietta (Hattie for short), Hazel, Edith, and Alma. But, there are NINE of them. Anyone want to offer suggestions? Or, should they be named using a letter (my choice would be "Q").
I will offer some of my elderly relatives' names: Gladys, Mabel, Clara, Beuhla, Agnes, Bertha.

I have become a chicken fan! Love the stories.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:36 AM   #94
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Thanks Dawglover! I'll put Gladys and Mabel in the pool (my DH has to have a say). I rejected Bertha because that was the name we called the HUGE white oak my DH used for the woodwork in the bathroom (he has a sawmill and this log was HUGE, hence, big Bertha was it's name). Agnes is too close to Agatha <g>. I'm also rejecting names of my great aunts. I don't want to offend anyone!
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:02 PM   #95
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Thanks Dawglover! I'll put Gladys and Mabel in the pool (my DH has to have a say). I rejected Bertha because that was the name we called the HUGE white oak my DH used for the woodwork in the bathroom (he has a sawmill and this log was HUGE, hence, big Bertha was it's name). Agnes is too close to Agatha <g>. I'm also rejecting names of my great aunts. I don't want to offend anyone!
Do you have Hazel and Elsie? Elsie was my beloved Great-Grandmother's name.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:08 PM   #96
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Funny you should ask--I finally figured out if I put the food scraps in a certain area, they'd scratch and peck. I have them cleaning out a patch of weeds next to the barn right now. It'll probably take a few days, but before too long, they should have it down to bare ground. I read an article a long time ago about a "chicken tiller." Basically, it was a moveable wire box on skids that you positioned where you wanted the weeds, etc. removed, put the chickens in, and let them do their thing.


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Right! Like this. I took these pictures for a friend who needed to be able to move chickens around a small yard. They had them for sale at Big R, but I think they are going to make one.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:22 PM   #97
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Do you have Hazel and Elsie? Elsie was my beloved Great-Grandmother's name.
Hazel's on the list, Elsie wasn't...I had a very good "older" friend who lived in Eastern MT named Elsie...she taught me the secret of making perfect lefse everytime! Baking soda--just a tad.
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:54 PM   #98
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The target feeding is going well. I'm moving them to another "patch" I want cleared tomorrow.

And, egg production is up 50% here at the "chicken factory." Two of the barred Plymouth Rocks started laying this week. The eggs are--x-small, but two are laying, so egg production is up and two of the three PRs are SAFE--not that Silly Millie is feeling any pressure...dial 555-5553 if you want to vote to save Silly Millie.

Henny and Penny will not be transferred to the "stew pot" production line. (A division of the "chicken factory" that has not been implemented, yet).

I haven't cracked the little eggs yet to see if they are yolk-free or not. Stay tuned!
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:07 PM   #99
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Too funny CWS...as I was reading the beginning of your last post I was wondering if they were yolk free or not.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:57 AM   #100
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When my son lived just on the fringes between suburbia and rural country, one day a hen appeared and took up residence under the bougainvillea in the front yard. They put out water for her and she was around for a couple of weeks, then just disappeared. There are coons, possums, etc. around here, so there's no telling what happened to her. She never laid any eggs. Her name was Gertie.
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