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The truth about Hens (from my experience)

2

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  • "Very soon we are going to Mars. You wouldn't have been going to Mars if my opponent won, that I can tell you. You wouldn't even be thinking about it."

    Donald Trump, March 13th 2018.





  • I'll be getting chickens in a few weeks. Can anyone recommend a type and reliable supplier. I'm in Kerry.

    I'm looking at 3-4.




  • we had some that roams free everywhere but these hens also seems to hold their poop till they get to the doorstep lol




  • Hen coop almost done. All it needs is a ramp and a few inmates. Found a supplier locally for birds.




  • Hen coop almost done. All it needs is a ramp and a few inmates. Found a supplier locally for birds.

    Thinking of doing something similar here - interested in hearing how you get on :)


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  • Antone keep turkeys or other fowl with their hens?




  • Antone keep turkeys or other fowl with their hens?

    Yeah, we do. We keep turkeys , geese and hens together.
    The turkeys are hatched here and reared with hens but from Sept or so on the young Turkey cocks can be a pain. They tend to go around in gangs annoying everyone else. Not all the time. But enough times to be a nuisance. We have a separate area to move them to if we need.




  • Yeah, we do. We keep turkeys , geese and hens together.
    The turkeys are hatched here and reared with hens but from Sept or so on the young Turkey cocks can be a pain. They tend to go around in gangs annoying everyone else. Not all the time. But enough times to be a nuisance. We have a separate area to move them to if we need.

    What do you feed them? I thought turkeys needed a food with higher protein in it than hens?

    Thanks.




  • What do you feed them? I thought turkeys needed a food with higher protein in it than hens?

    Thanks.

    Grower pellets at the min along with whole wheat . We boil spuds and mash up windfall Apple's and plums too.
    The hens have access to a treadle feeder with layers pellets.
    The turkeys are hunted into an area an hour or so before shed time and fed on their own.
    The geese rob what ever they like but predominantly graze grass.
    There is some degree of cross over alright. Our system relies on low stocking density. The fowl have plenty of ground under them. Otherwise I think there'd be mayhem.




  • Grower pellets at the min along with whole wheat . We boil spuds and mash up windfall Apple's and plums too.
    The hens have access to a treadle feeder with layers pellets.
    The turkeys are hunted into an area an hour or so before shed time and fed on their own.
    The geese rob what ever they like but predominantly graze grass.
    There is some degree of cross over alright. Our system relies on low stocking density. The fowl have plenty of ground under them. Otherwise I think there'd be mayhem.

    What do you house them in?
    Considering turkey next year.

    Hens setting in and getting 3-4 eggs per day. 1 not laying yet but not sure which.


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  • What do you house them in?
    Considering turkey next year.

    Hens setting in and getting 3-4 eggs per day. 1 not laying yet but not sure which.

    Housed separately. The hens go in themselves to their own shed. The turkeys flute around a d roost everywhere bar where they should, so we hunt them in at dusk.
    The geese stay out grazing till we're going to bed. They get hunted into the shed then. Though some times of the year we leave them out. If the goose is on a nest or the like.




  • Quick question people ? I’m going to buy another few hens to add to the other ladies I have. Will they start fighting each other or will things be ok ?




  • davidk1394 wrote: »
    Quick question people ? I’m going to buy another few hens to add to the other ladies I have. Will they start fighting each other or will things be ok ?

    From my limited experience it's hit and miss.

    We got 2 new ones a few months ago and the older ones bullied them a bit for the first week or two but that's all and they all get on fine now.

    At the same time you'd hear stories of constant bullying so I'd say every situation is different.




  • Sorry if this is a silly questions but can you or has anyone mixed different breeds of hens?

    I'd like to get a couple different breeds (with 6-8 hens in total) and based on this thread i'm a bit worried.




  • Ya you can indeed! There won't be any issues with regards to the different breeds bullying each other. That depends on individual hens and the pecking order within the brood itself.

    If your getting a cock though he will service all breeds so you would end up with mix breeds of all sorts.




  • Have 3 types. 4 laying regularly, 1 only lays on a Sunday.!

    Got out this afternoon and put the final perspex panels on the roof to keep out the rain.
    Perspex cost me 300!
    This coop costs a lot of eggs.




  • Sorry if this is a silly questions but can you or has anyone mixed different breeds of hens?

    I'd like to get a couple different breeds (with 6-8 hens in total) and based on this thread i'm a bit worried.

    Mix away! The problem discussed above is more with mixing species, eg keeping hens with turkeys.
    The one bit of advice I'd give you, and I'd advise it very strongly, is not to get a single hen to make up your flock numbers... if you're getting 6 hens, get 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3. If youre getting 7 hens, go for a group of 2 and a group of 5, or a group of 3 and a group of 4. Better still if you can get all 6 or 7 of your new hens from the same place where they've all been mixing anyway, though that's not often possible. Just don't split it that a single hen has to be introduced, as they really need at least one buddy each.




  • DBB wrote: »
    Mix away! The problem discussed above is more with mixing species, eg keeping hens with turkeys.
    The one bit of advice I'd give you, and I'd advise it very strongly, is not to get a single hen to make up your flock numbers... if you're getting 6 hens, get 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3. If youre getting 7 hens, go for a group of 2 and a group of 5, or a group of 3 and a group of 4. Better still if you can get all 6 or 7 of your new hens from the same place where they've all been mixing anyway, though that's not often possible. Just don't split it that a single hen has to be introduced, as they really need at least one buddy each.

    That might be why my BlackRock is sporadic in laying. Have 2 +2+1.
    Need another one ...or 2ðŸ˜




  • Quick question on ducks, how do they mix with hens? Issues etc? Can they be held in the same area & at night in the shed/coop?




  • Quick question on ducks, how do they mix with hens? Issues etc? Can they be held in the same area & at night in the shed/coop?


    My parents always mixed and kept in them same area. Ducks are awfully messy though. So for handiness sake if you can house them separately it might make life easier for cleaning etc.


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  • Quick question on ducks, how do they mix with hens? Issues etc? Can they be held in the same area & at night in the shed/coop?

    At night hens roost but ducks don't.
    They're fine together but I would section off the roost area so that the hens don't dung on top of the ducks.




  • Said I'd try posting here instead of starting a new thread.

    Anyone know any poultry suppliers in the kilkenny or surrounding counties.Looking for some hybrid laying hens...?

    My usual source doesn't deliver around my area for the winter unfortunately.




  • Hope it's ok to jump in here with a hen question.

    We have 4 hens in a run for couple of years. They seem to be in good health, eat layer pellets, greens, but really love bread.

    One in particular has a huge crop, like a tennis ball size. I googled issues and she does not seem to have anything like a compacted crop or sour crop. Nothing wrong with her appetite. Is she just a greedy guts? Is a big crop normal or should I cut out the bread?

    Thanks!




  • lostinNaas wrote: »
    Hope it's ok to jump in here with a hen question.

    We have 4 hens in a run for couple of years. They seem to be in good health, eat layer pellets, greens, but really love bread.

    One in particular has a huge crop, like a tennis ball size. I googled issues and she does not seem to have anything like a compacted crop or sour crop. Nothing wrong with her appetite. Is she just a greedy guts? Is a big crop normal or should I cut out the bread?

    Thanks!

    Maybe give them some sand or grit in a pile in the run. They use that like teeth to break down food.

    "Very soon we are going to Mars. You wouldn't have been going to Mars if my opponent won, that I can tell you. You wouldn't even be thinking about it."

    Donald Trump, March 13th 2018.





  • I'd limit the bread, to be honest. It's fine as a treat, but it's not great for them, so go easy! Any you give them, I'd be inclined to dampen first.
    Oyster shell grit, or fine gravel is really important for them to have too, as Rows Grower advises.
    As for the big crop... are you sure it's always big? They're usually full after feeding, hens love to stuff their faces first thing in the morning, and again before bed, so I'd always expect the girls' crops to look and feel big and hard at these times, but it should soften as it empties:)




  • DBB wrote: »
    I may get slaughtered for this, but it often seems to me that these problems nearly always seem to come with rescued, ex-battery hens. Is that what yours are op?
    Ex-batts never learn how to perch. From my own observations amongst our fairly large flock of mostly various heritage breed hens, many of whom hatched here and have never known life outside our place, they need to learn how to perch and roost from about 4ish weeks of age. If they're deprived of that opportunity, as battery hens are, they very often will never do it even when presented with the opportunity later in life. You could try placing them onto a perch after dusk for a few nights in a row. Once you "position" a hen after dusk, they usually stay put for the night. Our overwhelming experience here has been once you create a new way of doing things, it takes 2-3 days for this to be adopted as the new normal for the hens. If one or two hens start doing it, there's a better chance that the others will eventually follow suit.

    Hens poop where they sit or stand. Normally, this isn't a problem... During the day, they poop and can walk away from it. At night, they're on a roost, it just falls harmlessly to the floor. So, nature kinda takes care of their hygiene without them having to think about it! But the lack of tendency to roost in battery hens means that they still poop... But they're sitting right on it then.
    For the record, I'm not aware of any poultry that deliberately move away from where they poop. We have turkeys and geese too. That said, I have a sneaking suspicion that if you give geese a certain night-time set-up, there is a possibility they'll poop away from where they sleep, to some degree at least.

    Bullying... Again, this seems to almost always plague ex-batt hens. We have a few dozen hens, and there's rarely any trouble, other than the usual handbags-at-dawn stuff that hens do. Never any injuries. None of them are ex-batts. Everyone I know who's coping with bad bullying, owns ex-batt hens. I *think* that this is related to them not having the opportunity to learn social skills as youngsters. It may also be related to some hens learning that bullying works really well when you live in crowded conditions, to get you more space/food/water etc.
    With ex-batts too, they're really thrown in at the deep end when they're rehomed... They've probably never met each other, they've never had freedom, they've never learned how to live effectively within a pecking order... So they've a lot of new concepts to get used to very quickly. No wonder they run into problems!
    The general advice, when there is bullying, is to remove the bully(s) from the flock for a few days... Allow the flock to consolidate and form allegiances, then re-introduce the bully(s). With ex-batts, this may very well be a movable feast, and something you've to do on a reasonably regular basis.
    I also can't emphasise the importance of having enough space. An 8-hen coop for 8 hens is never big enough. I'd be worried about putting 6 into an 8-hen coop, I'd be more likely to only have 4 hens in it. It may be that your provision of the 2nd coop came too late and the dye had been cast in terms of henny interpersonal relationships. But it's a useful philosophy for all group-dwelling animals... Give them more space and resources (feeding stations, water, perches, nest boxes) than you think they'll need.
    A good rooster is often a good anti-bullying device too! Our lad will intervene and scold any hens that start getting uppity with each other. But I realise it's not for everyone to keep a rooster.
    Breed of hen can also be a factor. Some breeds are tremendously easygoing, whilst others are more... Bitchy. Light Sussex for example are such popular backyard hens not just because they're good layers, but because they're too laid back to get into fights with anyone!
    I do understand your horror at the bullying... We have a few young turkeys being raised for Christmas, and they are utter assholes. Fine most of the time, but if they get an idea in their head, or if they spot a tiny weakness, they will relentlessly bully and attack each other, and the hens. So much so that they're kept separate from the hens now. They're like unsocialised teenage scumbags really.

    Egg-eating is perfectly normal. It's not cannabilism really... Hens hardly see eggs as potential baby chicks... They're just a tasty source of protein for them. It's a nuisance when they do it, but it's perfectly natural.

    So, as you may have gathered, keeping hens has been a very enjoyable experience for us! But whilst rescuing ex-batt hens is very laudable, it's not without its problems when it comes to behavioural issues. We have some rescue hens... But they're not ex-batt, and they're fab.
    That's a hilarious account of your turkeys!

    A friend of mine told me that the egg eating thing can be kind of serious... If one of them starts doing it and the others notice, it can spread and they'll all start doing it constantly, EGG-sessively. No but that's actually something a lad said to me alright, indicating that he'd nipped it in the bud fast when his layers started doing it.




  • DBB wrote: »
    I'd limit the bread, to be honest. It's fine as a treat, but it's not great for them, so go easy! Any you give them, I'd be inclined to dampen first.
    Oyster shell grit, or fine gravel is really important for them to have too, as Rows Grower advises.
    As for the big crop... are you sure it's always big? They're usually full after feeding, hens love to stuff their faces first thing in the morning, and again before bed, so I'd always expect the girls' crops to look and feel big and hard at these times, but it should soften as it empties:)

    Thanks for the tips.
    Their run has beach sand and they get out to scratch in the garden a few times a week, so probably OK for grit.
    Yes the crop is always huge, it is gas watching her run, it's more of a waddle. She is a marans. They're not going to like having their bread ration cut but I will give that a go.




  • If you want to replace it with chicken cocaine, give them peas and sweetcorn :D




  • Guys, we're about to sign the dotted line on a house, so I can finally start thinking seriously about finally getting me some hens :-)!!

    To give me an idea of recommended space, how many hens is ideal for a 6*4ft sized house? I'm thinking garden shed size.

    I've grown up with hens and all sorts of yolks at home, but dad has bits of houses and pens dotted all around the place so it's hard to figure out how much space he actually has!


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  • How many hens have you in mind? :)


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