Feeding Chickens ( a newbie learns from experience)

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Hello Folks, This is the first winter for my "junkyard chickens" They seem to like my chicken moat and my coup that I built, but I noticed that they did not like to eat out of the trough that I built inside the coup. So, I started feeding them outside. I fed them once a day, (in the mornings). I thought that was plenty at first but, when the eggs quit coming I wondered if I was feeding them enough. So, I started feeding them in the mornings and at around 3pm, I would feed them leftover scraps from out kitchen. It took a couple of days for them to adjust but, now they are laying again. So, I think, at least during the winter it is better to feed them twice. What do you think?

Sincerely, Ernest

-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (espresso42@hotmail.com), December 22, 2001


Try a cup or two a week. Personally I just sprinkle a little bit on top of their food. They don't need much, but they really need the little they eat.

Little bit farm

-- Little Bit Farm (littlebit@brightok.net), October 07, 2003.

I wouldn't build with wafer board. Where are you located? I can't imagine 1/2 inch plywood being $30.00 a sheet. If you can find a sawmill near you, you could probably get millends either free or very cheap. You can also often find pallets, and either break them down, or use them for the walls. The you can cover the pallets with tar paper or rolled roofing.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (littlebit@brightok.net), November 28, 2003.

I would look for a sawmill near you for sure. Here, at our local mill I can by ten foot mill ends by the pick-up load for $15. Give it a shot. You can cut them to length, and over lap them to help shed water. I would also add a layer of roofing paper to increase warmth. Just remember to make sure that there is a flow of air into the building for ventilation. Chickens need a good source of oxygen, as their manure can really stink!

Another idea is to contact a garage door company. Often they have free or very cheap garage doors they need to get rid of. I have met men who have built entire barns out of garage doors. Five of them nailed to gether makes a great chicken house.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (littlebit@brightok.net), November 29, 2003.

Aly, Most of us started out DUMB in this game. In fact i learned to milk a goat with a book in one hand and the other yanking on a teat. There are no dumb questions. However, I would say this, if you really want pocket money, you are going to need more chickens than fifteen. Most chickens do not lay every day. I would count on at least 24. This should give you a solid dozen a day, during laying season, with a few extra to eat. If you could get a dozen a day, and you sold them all @ $2 per doz., then that would make you $14 a week. First thing you should do, is set up your market in advance. Ask people you know if they would be interested in purchasing farm fresh eggs from you when they are available. Plan on an approximate month for the start of laying season. By developing your market ahead of time, you will already have customers. No matter what sort of farming enterprise you start, this is essential to success. For instance I met a man here in Oklahoma who is a cattle rancher. On year he was so impressed by the fresh apples from his tree at home, he decided to plant an apple orchard. He filled 18 acres with apple trees. He purchased them, pruned them, fertilized them, and watered them for 4 years. When the fifth year rolled along, he had a beautiful crop of apples. In fact he had hundreds of bushels of apples. Now he needed pickers, and a packing house, and most of all he needed customers. However, he had none of those things. Guess what became of that man's orchard? He went through with a ripper and tore out all the trees. He told me that the apple busniess was the worst venture he ever tried. However, the truth is, that it wasn't the apple business that was bad, it was the farmer. What you need to do is sit down and make a list of the things you will need for this venture. You need to visit other's who raise chickens, and find out how much they feed. You need to ask them how many eggs they get and look at their operations. For instance a person with a very nicely built chicken house will almost always get more eggs. Why? LIGHT. Chickens require light and warmth to produce the most eggs. Cold chickens lay NO eggs. Chickens in the dark lay NO eggs. The best way to find out what to expect is to start calling ads in the paper for chickens for sale. Ask to go look at their birds. DON"T buy anything. Ask them what they feed. Ask them how many chickens they have. Tell them you will think about it and get back to them. The nicest chickens you see will be a couple of years old, and they will be getting rid of them to get younger layers. These are definitely not for you. When you buy adult chickens, you want young hens nearly ready to lay or well started babies. Never buy a hen just because the owner tells you she lays every day. I GUARANTEE that ANY chicken already laying, will quit within a few days of moving her to your house. Chickens are creatures of habit, they do NOT like to be moved. If you move them, it almost always pushes them into a moult. They stop laying, and then you are very unhappy, because you are pouring dollar after dollar into them, and they don't lay for nearly a month, sometimes two. However if you buy three month old started pullets, within a month or two they will start to lay, and lay well. They won't be someone else's castoffs, and you won't have 5 months of feed into them before you get a single egg. Also, as a beginner, DON'T count on having them breed and make babies. This is a challenge for experienced chicken raisers.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little Bit Farm (littlebit@brightok.net), January 05, 2004.

Hi Ernest, my chickens slowed down a lot in November, so I started going out about 2 or so and giving them a few cups (about 1/2 of a 1 pound coffee can) of my husbands horse feed. They love it and come running when they see me, and within a few days they were laying lots of eggs again. Maybe a coincidence, maybe not...

-- Melissa (me@home.net), December 23, 2001.

Here is a good link for feeding poultry naturally. Actually the absolute best time to feed chickens is after dark when they are already at roost. This way their feed is there first thing in the morning when they get down off the roost. It is also nice to give them a treat in the afternoon when they are coping with cold weather. Another thing that will help keep poultry laying in winter is extra light. Also it important that, when they are locked up, there is plenty of ventilation.


Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@farm.com), December 27, 2001.

Hello, I recognize some of you from CS forum. I agree that the feed is the answer, our hens slowed in laying I thought it was because it was colder and daylight was decreasing. I started cooking up a mash with hen scratch, wheat and rolled oats and we give this each morning. Not only has laying increased but so has their weight. It just makes my day to see all those chickens running toward me, it looks like they are smiling, well, not really but it's funny anyways.

Kelle in MT.

-- Kelle in MT (kvent1729@aol.com), December 31, 2001.

I am in Hong Kong and have my first 3 chickens. I have been eagerly awaiting an egg!! A few days ago I ranout of chicken food and had to wait till monday to get it. I fed a mix of cornmeal (really expensive imported stuff) adn greens and scraps. I got my new food yesterday and bingo tow eggs this morning. I think the 'starvation' caused a flush. The eggs are pulet size but tasty and really yellow. Question - will they start layng larger eggs?

-- Megan Davies (mail@megan-davies.com), March 13, 2002.

Megan,it depends on the size of your chicken & the age of your chickens!! We raise bantams they are small chickens----when they first start laying(as pullets) their eggs are very small---but as they age & continue to lay the eggs are bigger----but still very small in comparison to our larger chickens----

Our larger breed chickens----when they are pullets their eggs are smaller---as they continue to lay the size will increase---- Did that help answer your question?????

-- Sonda in Ks. (sgbruce@birch.net), March 15, 2002.

I think you should kill your chickens and eat them. They taste soooo good!!! mmmmm, chicken! Eggs?? screw the eggs, you've got yummy meat to eat and it's only a knife away!! KILL those darn chickens, I would and delight in every minute of it.

-- Meg Ryan (lostintoday@hotmail.com), April 29, 2002.

Meg Ryan, How rude of you to put up such a crappy answer! You have to poisin them!!! not use a knife! geez, get with the times.... -

-- Pablo Peter (dancing_queen_24@hotmail.com), April 29, 2002.

Hi We are do chickens at school. They like toeat sracps

-- Bradley H (cooll@hom\tmail.com), May 15, 2002.

I need to know how much ?oyster shells? I should feed my chickens I have 11.

-- kru28 (kudenberg@hotmail.com), October 06, 2003.

I find that making love to your chickens at least twice a week encourages them to lay regularly. Also its a superb way of bonding with your birds.

-- Leg Horn (hunglikeahorsefly@aol.com), November 26, 2003.

That is gross, man.

I'm currently building my coop right now, and we are having trouble finding wafer board, or another type of suitable woods for the walls. All the stuff they sell here is $30.00 a sheet of wood. WAY to much, I think. So there's my question, what can I use for the walls, that is C-H-E-A-P. Not so cheap it's not worth it, but not expensive. Ya know? And I'm also sorta confused on feeding them. Do I use a trough? Or do I sprinkle stuff on the ground? My coop is 8 x 8 , how many chickens will that hold, comfortably? And about how big should the yard be?



-- Aly Smith (HermitCrabALY@aol.com), November 27, 2003.


We use (Ireland) marine plywood, which is waterproofed. Not sure if thats available in the US under that name, but any buildes provider should be familiar with it.

Leg Horn.

PS...the love making jibe was said strictly with tongue in cheek!!!!

-- Leg Horn (hunglikeahorsefly@aol.com), November 28, 2003.

I live in Oregon. Wood is amazingly to expensive...We have tried construction sites to see if they would let us have some stuff, we are thinking about using corrugated metal, but we don't know if it will be warm enough in the winter and cool enough in the summer. We get up to 110 in the summer, and -4 in the winter.

Thanks for replying to my message. :-)


-- Aly Smith (HermitCrabALY@aol.com), November 28, 2003.

Yes, we are looking into those materials. We have the frame and floor up and everything! I'm just dying to put the walls and roof,door,perches, and nests on. I planning on getting around 15 chickens. Does anyone know on average how many eggs I'd get per day with 15 chickies? Or 10 chickens? I'm going to sell the eggs because I'm saving up for a plane trip. Does anyone have AOL IM,AIM or Y!M?

-- Aly Smith (HermitCrabALY@aol.com), November 29, 2003.

I also have another question... We have cougars,foxes,hawks,eagles,weasles,coyotes, and everything else under the sun right in our back yard. I was wondering, In the late evening when it is starting to get dark, should I round up the chickens and put them in the coop? I just don't feel safe (i don't even have them yet, heehee) But I just know I won't feel safe with 15 chickens running around in a little fence at night...I know they sleep in the coop and everything, but some just like to be outside. So, Should I close them up at night? when I get them, of course. And, should they have a heatlamp? And just a small, regular light? How much wattage should the heat lamp be? When should it be turned on? A certain time each day? Get them into a routine? What kind of bedding and how deep? should I put locks on the windows and door and gate? What are some common illnesses that are noticable? Sorry for all the questions!


-- Aly Smith (HermitCrabALY@aol.com), December 01, 2003.

Aly, Buy a plane ticket with the profits(?) from the egg produce of ten chickens?????? At that level Aly, it is a pure hobby...feed and care will cost as much as any produce derived. You would have a better chance of a flight if you were to strap the chickens on to your arms and hope they'll carry you with them. still, in a world of cynicism, its refreshing to see some pure innocence. Follow your dreams.

Leg Horn

-- Leg Horn (hunglikeahorsefly@aol.com), December 02, 2003.

God bless your innocence Aly. Leg horn is right. This is not a dollar making thing..unless you want to go BIG TIME. Think you should get a book to read also on keeping chooks. You DO NOT leave them outside in the run at night!!!!!! Duh!

-- sarah (sarahgant@aol.com), December 02, 2003.

Hope you guys know I'm not dumb. I have already saved up 600 dollars. I was just going to use the money from the chickens for spending money on souvineers, etc. Please...Some of you ae saying things, and I get the impression you think I'm dumb.. Makes me feel bad. I don't want you guys to not like me....I just hada few questions. I also have 8 chicken books and I have read each one twice.

-- Aly Smith (HermitCrabALY@aol.com), January 02, 2004.

Sorry, not 8. I have 5. Typed the wrong number. I got them for Christmas...

-- Aly Smith (HermitCrabALY@aol.com), January 04, 2004.


No offence intended. Dont think youre dumb at all. In fact love your enthusiasm. Keep posting. Dont mind the odd ornery remark...its just a bit of kidding.

Leg Horn

-- Leg horn (hunglikeahorsefly@aol.com), January 05, 2004.


Good News! I'm going to get 6 chickens!!!!! I'm very excited, and the coop is still going up. Thanks for all your help!

-- Aly Smith (HermitCrabALY@aol.com), March 23, 2004.

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