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Chicken Advice Needed
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Ray    Posted 10-29-2002 at 04:11:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Good Morning Everyone,
The new coop is not done yet and its too late in the season to order chicks, so I will be buying a few mature hens locally. My question is what should I do as far as health maitainence on these otherwise unknown hens? I know there are water additives and feed supplements, does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks in advance.

Tom A    Posted 10-29-2002 at 04:23:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi Ray, couple of suggesions I'd offer are:

Buy "started pullets" if you can find them in your area...these will be this year's half-grown chicks and will probably already have started laying a little bit (they'll be small and probably misshapen eggs at first, but that's ok). Older hens won't lay much or at all in the late fall/winter.

I don't use any "additives" in water or feed and don't see the need for them.

I feed free choice: a good "layer ration" once they're 20 weeks old (I use Purina's Layena, but there's others), ground oyster shells, lots of clean water.

We (the wife, actually) also give them a scoop of scratch grain in the morning and again in the evening...the hens and the wife love it.

We also feed them kitchen meats or eggs, but they do get old bread, vegetable peelings or leftovers, excess or sour milk (our goats usually produce more than we can use and the hens love it). We also avoid feeding strong-tasting stuff like onions 'cuz we've been told they'll make the eggs taste funny...might not be true, but why take the chance?

anyway, that's how we do it and we've had pretty good luck over the years.

Tom A

Ray    Posted 10-29-2002 at 04:55:51       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks Tom that sounds like a plan that works.
What I was concerned about was a one time dewormer or antibiotic or the like. I can judge a healthy bird on appearance before I buy them but I was thinking of some type of proactive care on otherwise unknown birds from different sources.
What is in the scratch grain that they love so much? As a kid our chickens got what ever the horses were eating at the time, omeline, sweet feeds, corn (whole or cracked), oats. They always did well as range birds. Now times have changed and we have to keep them penned up, safe from the neighborhood dogs etc. Having chickens as meat and egg sources has become a science. They used to be the first thing we depended on as a food source and the last thing we thought about as far as health. Thanks again for the great advice.

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