can a hen live alone? are crickets alright to feed? help : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Last month a friend of mine showed up at my doorstep proclaiming he had a "chick" he wanted me to meet. turns out that this "chick" was a little chicken. I would have liked to know what breed it is..but he had forgotten (he said brahma..or bantam...). I think it is a is light brown in color, with a black tail, and black feathers on its feet and between it's toes. It is extrememly friendly and follows me around like a little also comes when it is called. (I don't know if all types of chicken do this...but it also hisses when it is dark...and it feels threatened. I found this out when i went to check on it one night...and the poor thing couldnt tell who or what i was...I could make out a the shadow of a very puffed up pullet that jabbed and hissed at my hand) I have had experience with many birds..mostly exotic..but never a chicken. now that i have one..i think they make great shouldnt have to go out and get a parrot...just get yourself some chickens! Here is the problem... I have a litte backyard and i have built a small coop there for it...(a coop for a single hen...oh,well)but i am worried that it will get lonely and that it is too cold at night. I still bring the chicken in at night, in its little "house". I live in davis,CA and the summers are quite hot at around 102 degrees.( there lies another it too hot during the day?) I have also bought feed for it..but all i can find is that "feed and grow" formula. Is this nutritious enough? i noticed that the chicken loves to eat large bugs..and my yard really doesnt have that many to i went out and bought some prefers these to anything...and goes nuts when it knows that i have them, but it just greedily sucks them up and im worried it will choke on them, or that they are bad for it's system. It eats ALOT of these bugs. could anyone give me some ideas of what i should do? and is this a brahma for sure? how can i tell?


-- daniela M (, July 16, 2001


hi Daniela, maybe I can answer one or two of your questions. First of all, you might check out a site called They have pictures of just about every kind of chicken you can possibly imagine. Of course, it may or may not be mixed breed, but sounds like it might be a light Brahma. Does she also have a black ring around her neck? We kept chickens for many years in the Texas heat, and rarely lost any to it, but it's best in the heat if she is able to be out of the coop during the day(or have really good ventilation). Also, be careful that she does not run out of water. The feed you bought for her is probably fine, but next time you might ask for layer crumbles or layer pellets. If indeed your chicken is a pullet, she can use the layer feed as she approaches laying age (around 5 months). Chickens seem to have a kind of group mentality, and most enjoy being with a flock, but not necessarily. I had one little bantam that would much rather hang out in the goat pen, and have nothing to do with the other chickens. Like yours, she was very friendly. So I'm not sure chickens need other chickens. Anyway, if you do add others, you can expect a fight initially as they establish "pecking order." ...If your little hen is out during the day, you may be sure she is looking for bugs. They are great for helping out with that. I'd keep the other feed out for her to have free choice. Also, unless she has access to tiny gravel, you might pick her up some grit next time you go to the feed store. The little rocks help them to digest their food. Have fun!

-- mary (, July 16, 2001.

If I believed in "a next life"I'd wanna be a chicken at your house!!!

-- teri (, July 16, 2001.

Oh, you are sooo sweet for rescuing the little thing! Yes, chickens LOVE bugs of all types, it is what they would eat most all the time if in the wild, that and all types of grasses and greenery. Chickens will eat most ANYTHING you are eating, except onions, garlic, and cabbage, everything else they like and is good for them, she can eat a bit of whatever you are having or is leftover. The feed and grow is fine, you can also buy regular birdseed if that is cheaper in your area too, and supplement with yard grasses (no herbicides or fertilizers though!!!) and leftover people food.

102 is too hot to be outside without shade and some air moving at all times, a fan would help alot! Be sure she has plenty of water when it is this hot, chickens pant to cool themselves and loose a lot of water doing this.

Get a book or two from the library on chickens, and you will learn fast the do's and don'ts of chicken raising, that and all the info here you will get and available from the archives, which where the old questions/answers go after they "disappear".

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, July 16, 2001.

wow, thankyou for all the info. i dont think i have every gotten an answer so fast on the internet. the coop i have built has a little door that is always open and the little hen is free to roam around the yard so i guess the heat isnt going to be that much of a problem. but how cold can the temp. be? are brahma's tolerant to the cold? i would think that the little booties on the on the chicken mean that it's pretty tolerant to the cold? i dont know...its just my logic..but im not sure. oh, and it does not have a ring around it's neck...but it has some black spots on the ends of it's feathers in that area.

-- daniela (, July 16, 2001.

Sounds like my little old Tessie. She too was a light brown colour, but a bantam, raised by ducks, unaccepted by my chickens (when given to me), and followed me everywhere -- unless I would pick her up and let her ride on my arm like a parrot!

Chickens can live alone, if they have interaction with you, same as other domestic (cage) birds. There was a thread earlier about cooling down chicken houses (entitled Losing A Chicken A Day, I think). A friend of mine recommended rigging a fly tarp over the top, like used on a tent, which keeps the sun off the coop and allows air to flow through and keep it cooler.

You can raise your own crickets very cheaply if you get some crickets from the pet store in a rubbermaid container or an old aquarium -- you feed them on chopped up vegetables and fish food flakes, some fruit, a water dish, and provide cups of potting soil that they lay their eggs in and voila! You're in production! It works out cheaper than continually buying them from the pet store, and you can feed them smaller and softer if you're worried about choking.

My banties were pets more than farm birds, altho the eggs were quite good. They got cracked corn, sunflower seeds, lots of dandelion greens, white clover, chickweed, tender grass, strawberry trimmings (hulls and mushy spots, no mold), lettuce, ham trimmings (they thought those were a BIG treat!), junebugs, and earthworms as well as any other bugs they could catch outside . They were very healthy and one of them lived to be about 9 as I recall.

-- julie f. (, July 16, 2001.

Daniela M,

Yes, Brahmas do tolerate the cold very well. I don't thing you have a Light Brahma though, as they are white and black. You may have what is called a "Buff" Brahma, referring to the color. "Brahma" is a breed of chicken.

-- Terry - NW Ohio (, July 16, 2001.

Oops, I misread, Terri is right, of course, a brown Brahma would be buff, not light. Perhaps she is a mix, though. My Brahmas all had black around the neck. Did you try looking up feather footed breeds on Feathersite?

-- mary (, July 16, 2001.

We also have two chickens we keep as pets. We have a hen and a rooster. She seems like she'd be fine without him but I think he'd go crazy without her. Ours also eat alot of bugs. they also like different types of grasses. There is an organization called United Poultry Concerns that rescues chickens. I think they have a web site. They have given us alot of info about keeping chickens as pets instead of as a "farm animal". We feed ours alot of wild bird seed, shelled sunflower seeds, whole oats and for calcium and grit, we give them oyster shell which you can get at your feed mill. Chickens need to have grit to help them digest their food.When their outside they eat small pebbles and stuff like that for grit. Hens need extra calcium especially when they are laying. We very rarely feed any commercial chicken feed. Too much additives in that stuff.For treats we'll give them slices of tomatoe, watermelon, raisins, cooked green beans they love "people food". Once one of the cats killed a mouse and left it laying in the yard. Our hen must have thought she was an owl because she tryed to swallow this mouse whole. She had the whole thing down her throat except for the back leg and tail when it got stuck. We caught her staggering around in the yard and got the mouse pulled out. She didn't act right for about ten minutes but she then recovered and we don't see any lasting effects. Some people have watch-dogs that people fear. At our house, visitors are afraid of our rooster. He's a real brute. Good luck with your new pet. I hope I was some help. If you have any more questions, just ask.

-- Ed (, July 17, 2001.

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