Backyard Poultry Forum • View topic - Change in feed and chooks stopped laying!!

Backyard Poultry Forum

Chickens, waterfowl & all poultry - home of exhibition & backyard poultry in Australia & New Zealand
Login with a social network:
It is currently Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:53 pm

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:29 pm 
Offline
Hatchling
Hatchling

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:26 am
Posts: 3
Location: Cairns
Hi,

I'm new to this. :lol:

I bought 2 chooks from a battery farm in Nth Queensland a few months back and they looked pretty ordinary and didn't lay for about a month.

Since this time, they have become quite good layers (2 eggs a day).

I was quite pleased with this, although they were always acting as if they were hungry with the high quality mixed mash i was giving them, so i thought i'd try the pellets to make them feel fuller. They still cluck all the time and chase me to get food, but now they have stopped laying. I have pellets avaliable all day.

Do you think the change in feed has caused them to stop laying?

Also one of the chickens never grew her feathers back from where she was plucked at the farm. Will they ever grow back? The other chicken has lovely feathers!! There is no sign of fighting and they have a dry, clean home.

Thanks in advance for your replies!!

:wink: Farlap and chookchook


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:06 am 
Offline
Golden Swan
Golden Swan
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:02 pm
Posts: 25849
Location: Albany, Western Australia
Hi f and c,

I've got 4 ex chook farm girls. Three have grown enough new feathers so that they look like nice chooks, even if they are not fully feathered. The other one, poor little Sophie, looks just as bad as when I got her and she had the least feathers of all of them! I expect if she ever moults then she'll grow them all but no sign of it yet! Still she seems happy and healthy. As far as the egg laying, I don't really know but change is stressful for them and may be it was enough to stop them laying for a while. If it's stress I wouldn't expect it to last long if everything else is stable. But I'm not an expert!

NellyG :P

_________________
NellyG ............Image............


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:32 am 
Offline
Flock Master
Flock Master

Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 12:32 pm
Posts: 2175
If you changed their feed over abruptly... yes they go into stress and stop laying

give them half and half .. half layer.. half what you were giving them.. and increase their protein ... it will help with the re feathering.. or if you can get food grade Kelp... add a couple of table spoons to their dry feed each day .. it really helps them

Here is some information on battery hens... I used to have them also...

This may be helpful to you..

Adopting Battery Hens What you should know

Firstly.... don't get them if you going into cold weather... they have been kept in an area all their lives with the temperature controlled... they just don't survive the cold... better to get them in Spring when the nights are warming up

Secondly... ask for 20 week old hens... other wise they can off load older hens really past their use by date and ready to die

Next.... be prepared to see a site .... but don't respond to the people at the battery about their condition .... just make sure you have something suitable to take them home in straight away and make sure you have the same sort of food they have been used to eating or they will starve to death

Set up your coop with a flat surface with pea straw for them to sit in ... they will not know how to perch... this will come a few months down the track... so something just a few inches up off the ground with some lovely soft cut up pea straw for them to sleep in

I put my pea straw through my mulcher/muncher to make sure it was soft enough for them... poor little things were nearly bald

They get lost... so only give them a VERY small area to walk around in... be prepared to go down to the coop at night and pick them up from where ever they have just stopped and sleeping and put them onto the board with the soft pea straw to sleep... they are very docile.. you may have to do this for several weeks

If you don’t pick them up and put them into the coop they could easily chill and die from exposure of even a mildly cool evening temperature… remember they have come from a situation where their daily temperature didn’t change from the required heat for laying

Change the pea straw to fresh every day or just remove any droppings... they don't know any different they will be very confused and may go off the lay... don't fuss with them too much... but don't just ignore them either... make sure they see you several times a day and you walk near them and talk to them softly....

DON'T FEED THEM TREATS their little guts/&/intestine are not used to it .. you will kill them

Feeding them.... the battery hen place may not give you any idea on what they fed them so this is what I fed mine.. the battery hen place where I purchased mine was very helpful... make sure you have this on hand for them as soon as they arrive at your place... put the feed and water close to them... they don't know that they are supposed to walk to find it and will not look and they will starve or dehydrate until they get used to their surroundings

And some may not be able to walk properly yet.. this will also come in time

You will find that they may lay a larger number of soft shelled eggs also...



FEEDING
I got some battery hens and this is what they said I should mix up for the girls as they were not used to eating the ordinary feed that you give hens

For 5 birds

2 tablespoons of Meat meal (protein supplement)
2 tablespoons of Bran
4 tablespoons of Pollard
6-8 tablespoons of layer crumbles or pellets (use hot water to break them down into a mash) (carbs)
Full cream milk to mix into a crumble texture
Pinch of some vitamins and minerals in the mix
1 dessertspoon of some grit mixed in with the mix (oyster shell or 1/2 teaspoon of calcium powder)
2 teaspoons of cod liver oil
Mix with water or the milk to form a crumbly texture, put into a deepish dish so they can peck at it (debeaked birds), make up twice a day

In hot weather remove it after 12 hours if not eaten and replace it

The feed formulas for confined layers are generally lower in fats, lower in protein, and higher in fibre than those feeds usually found in the bag feeds. In addition the rations will be slightly higher in phosphates and will also include a catalyst that helps in the assimilation of phosphates. Due to lack of sunlight and some other factors the vitamin level is usually pretty high.

These layers are genetically capable of producing a very large number of frightfully large eggs. Ration manipulation is one of the tools used to: delay laying until the bird has reached the correct size and to keep egg size down to mostly large.


The deep dish is necessary due to the de-beaking process... when they peck at the feed if it is in a shallow dish the beak hits the container and they don't get any food or damage their already deformed beak …. Sometimes even breaking the upper beak or lower beak ... so deeper is better so they can dive that little beak right into the feed and fill it up

If they get the runs... use yoghurt or butter milk instead of the water or full cream milk and extra bran in the feed your giving them, you may have to reduce the liquids in the feed to half.. but don’t reduce the amount of water they are allowed… they must drink as much clean water as they can and want and need

Slowly after a week give them a little bit more area to move around in.. you’ll know when it is time... they will have started to walk around... but don't give them too much it will scare them... any other chickens in the coop will attack them so they have to be kept away from them until they are used to being away from the battery enclosures... separate pens for at least 8 to 10 weeks... remember they are more than likely bald in odd spots so pecking by other hens with BEAKS will do a lot of damage to them until they grow some feathers and learn to act like normal chickens

When they de-beak they don't do a good job.. just get the job done... so some will have lots taken off and others will have tops gone but not bottoms .... so always remember this when you have had them for a while... things that normal chickens with normal beaks can eat these poor little things can't

I always grate all my carrots, pumpkin, zucchini, lettuce I cut up finely for them... after 4 months you would not have know they were battery hens... I gave them extra protein in their diet to get those feathers growing a bit quicker...the grated veg and cut up lettuce was a huge success... they just didn't and couldn't peck at things like normal chickens... lots of things that you normally don't even have to think of with normal chickens you have to think before you give to these sweeties or they are just left out in the cold


If you can get food grade Kelp.. it really helps them with re feathering and their quality of life, also when they go into a molt the kelp really helps them to recover quickly.. any chickens will benefit from 2% of Kelp mixed through the dry feed, once they are used to it. .you can even put up to 3% into the dry feed

Put up one roost... but make it only a few inches (6 inches) off the ground to teach them to roost... but don't be surprised if they continue to sleep on the flat surface with the pea straw... it will have been the first time in their entire lives that they have had something soft to sleep on and have food and water 24/7 fresh !! not with decaying matter mixed in with it or dead birds underfoot

They will not have any lice or mites or worms... BUT... always a but hey... remember they are very susceptible to getting them, so keep a close eye on them for signs.... use dusting powder so they don't chill, don’t spray them, with the lack of feathers chilling is a big problem if you get a cold spell.. keep them inside the coop if this happens, and if it rains.. get them into the coop as soon as you can so they don’t chill

This is going to be the biggest problem for you... CHILLING.... without feathers to keep them warm.. and coming from a totally controlled environment they will not be used to degrees of heat or cold hitting them... so if you know its going to be hot... try and keep them as cool as possible by giving lovely cool water... don't chill them with spraying them with cold water.... if its going to be wet... don't let them out to get wet.. they won't understand to come in and will freeze and chill

_________________
Sandy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:29 pm 
Offline
Hatchling
Hatchling

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:26 am
Posts: 3
Location: Cairns
WOW, thanks Sandy and NellyG,

You have been a great help. My chickens have not been de-beaked and were not temperature controlled as we live in Cairns. They may have been in winter, but from what i saw of the farm, it was mostly tin and wire mesh. There were about 3-4 chooks per cage and i think my chooks were 18 mths when they came to live with us, we have had them for about 4 mths. The man told me 18mths is when they stop laying at their peak.

Farlap had a compacted crop soon after we got her and i thought she might have eaten something she couldn't digest, as they free-ranged the whole 700sq yard for the first mth (now i have them in a 3-4 sqm pen, as they followed me everwhere, even into the house!). I looked on the internet for impacted crop and if you give them a dose of cooking oil it should come good, i did this 2x and massaged it in, and it worked a treat, she started laying soon after this cleared up.

Chookchook and Farlap have now started laying again, yesterday actually, but their eggs are rough and white. They used to look like store bought eggs, is this a lack of something, or just the different food? I also give them kitchen scraps and weeds from the veg garden. They love to peck through the wire into the veg garden and eat the leaves off my beans!!

I have perches for them, but they haven't used them, but chookchook sleeps 1m off the ground and farlap (featherless) sleeps on the ground (although lays where chookchook sleeps). I have soft clean straw on both the shelf and on the ground under the shelf for them.

Lastly, how do i keep them entertained all day? They seem to be feeding well as their crops are massive by about lunchtime, but they seem to be always hungry!! I think they are a little on the skinny side, feeling their breast bone, but i can't fatten them up!! They have been wormed.

chookchook and farlap


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:09 pm 
Offline
Golden Swan
Golden Swan
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:02 pm
Posts: 25849
Location: Albany, Western Australia
Hi f and c,

I can't answer all your questions but I'll do what I can! As far as perches go - my ex batts have never perched. They are still sleeping on the floor. It's just that they've never learned. You could try putting them on a perch each night, but make sure it is close to the ground as they may have osteoporosis (due to their heavy laying history) and break a leg jumping down. Are you saying one of them sleeps a metre off the floor and the nest box is a metre up? If so, I'd lower things for them just to be on the safe side, but up to you.

I don't think the rough eggs is a problem - I think it will pass - mine sometimes lay rough eggs but usually only the odd one.

As far as entertainment goes, chooks don't seem to need too much! Are they in the pen all day? If so you can have some things for them to climb on (eg old tree branches on the ground) and hang some food so it is just within reach so they have to stretch and jump, as it is a bit more of a challenge to eat (like a whole cabbage or a bunch of silverbeet). Also a bit of seed on the ground in the afternoon so they have something to scratch for. And somewhere to dust bath - mine LOVE that.

I hope they have long happy lives

NellyG

_________________
NellyG ............Image............


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:05 am 
Offline
Flock Master
Flock Master

Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 12:32 pm
Posts: 2175
Farlap and chookchook wrote:
There were about 3-4 chooks per cage


Here is your answer regarding their habit for not perching... they have been trained all their lives to stand and sleep on wire

Put in a board that is up off the ground.. and put a border around it so you can keep the straw in it for them to sleep in.. you will find that they will favor it before they will use a perch

This is what I did for mine... they loved it .. when winter time comes the ground becomes quite cold... being up even a small distance from the ground is better than nothing .. they will chill otherwise.. even with you having something on the ground for them to sit on..

Try and teach them to sleep on this board... mine was about 3 to 4 feet long about 2 feet wide.. and filled with pea straw that I had put through the mulcher to make it lovely and soft for them

Quote:
and and i think my chooks were 18 mths when they came to live with us,


Yep.. most places replace layers between 15 to 20 weeks old

Quote:
we have had them for about 4 mths. The man told me 18mths is when they stop laying at their peak.


By the time the battery hens stop laying they have probably done the equivalent of a hen to 3 to 4 years old... they really get their dollars worth out of them.. poor little things

Quote:
their eggs are rough and white. They used to look like store bought eggs, is this a lack of something, or just the different food? I also give them kitchen scraps and weeds from the veg garden. They love to peck through the wire into the veg garden and eat the leaves off my beans!!


You'll find it is stress and the change in food and also change in environment, even though you think they were not in a controlled environment... they would have been to some extent.. and this is a huge leap of faith that they have taken being with you... they are really lovely birds aren't they... so trusting


Quote:
Lastly, how do i keep them entertained all day? They seem to be feeding well as their crops are massive by about lunchtime, but they seem to be always hungry!! I think they are a little on the skinny side, feeling their breast bone, but i can't fatten them up!! They have been wormed.

chookchook and farlap


How big is the area they are in and how many birds are in this area.. if its a nice big area and they can sit in the sun and sun bath in some dusty area... and they have food available and water available 24 hours a day... they will be fine...

_________________
Sandy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:49 am 
Offline
Golden Brush Turkey
Golden Brush Turkey
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 1:07 am
Posts: 22905
Location: toodyay, WA
i hope i am not speaking out of turn here but this is one of the most sensible and comprehensive set of answers that i have read on rehabilitating battery hens...........well done guys :P :lol: :P :lol:

_________________
Anconas, Silkies and Pekins :) Caladenia Cottage
Silkies
Wonderful Silkies


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:20 am 
Offline
Hatchling
Hatchling

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:26 am
Posts: 3
Location: Cairns
Thanks again for your wonderful wealth of information.

Chookchook and Farlap have an aviary about 3x2m (approx) and i have used the frame to rest the shelf on, it is about 1m (could be lower) from the ground, but they like that so they can sit on it an look into the garden. I have a ramp they use and they never try to jump from it to the ground. I didn't clip their wings, so they have use of their wings to float down if they need to. When they free ranged the garden they used to jump from the rock wall wich was about 1m high and flap their wings to soften their fall. They have a pen (approx 4x5m, i might have quoted too small in the last post) attached to the aviary which used to be grass, but they ate and dug it up in about 2 days, so now its got plenty of dust bathing sunny spots and a few trees for shade. They were dustbathing the other day in the sun, it was lovely. I will find an old log for them to stand up on, that is a great idea.

Another thing, each time one chicken goes into the pen to lay, the other 'bok, boks' herself crazy until the other returns to the pen, separation anxiety i think. Is this normal, or will getting one more chook to keep them entertained solve this? They were not housed together at the farm.

One quick question off the topic. My cousin has a hen duck that he says i can have, a drake x pekin. The duck free ranges on 1 acre, but is with chooks also. Will the chooks and duck be happy, or could there be problems?

chookchook and farlap


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: entertainment
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:46 pm 
Offline
Dapper Duck
Dapper Duck

Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:51 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Hi Farlap & Chookchook,

What lucky girls you two are to have your new "mum" to care for you.

For entertainment you could try hanging a cabbage in a mesh bag (the type that oranges are packed in) and they can pick at this.
Do they still have access to grass? If not, you could put clumps of grass/dirt in with them to eat & play with. Don't pick grass for them though unless you pick it short (1 or 2 inches only) or you will have compacted crop again.

I too have several chooks that also "bok bok" when they get seperated from the others - I think this is normal. It looks like Farlap & chookchook have a strong bond already. Adding another chook (or even two :D)wouldn't hurt as long as you do it soon as they won't be too territiorial yet.

I also have ducks with my chooks. My chooks are dominant over my ducks, chasing them away from food, but they all seem to get along well together and just do there own thing. Maybe your cousins duck could be just the addition you need to stop the seperation anxiety.

Keep an eye on there feet for Bumblefoot. Mine got it a couple of weeks after I got her from jumping down off the perch. She also had a bare bum for about 2 years - I didn't think the feathers were ever going to grow back, but this year they did and now she has a lovely pair of fuzzy brown knickers on. :D

All the best with your new family - they are such great fun.

Selena


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:35 pm 
Offline
Flock Master
Flock Master

Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 12:32 pm
Posts: 2175
Farlap and chookchook wrote:
Thanks again for your wonderful wealth of information.


Our pleasure

Quote:
Chookchook and Farlap have an aviary about 3x2m (approx) and i have used the frame to rest the shelf on, it is about 1m (could be lower) from the ground, but they like that so they can sit on it an look into the garden. I have a ramp they use and they never try to jump from it to the ground.


Keep an eye on any rocks that they may land on.. it will injur their legs and feet and may cause a sprain

Quote:
I didn't clip their wings, so they have use of their wings to float down if they need to. When they free ranged the garden they used to jump from the rock wall wich was about 1m high and flap their wings to soften their fall.


No need to clip their wings... they don't tend to be flighty and will really enjoy flapping those wings for exercise that they were denied in those cages... I know mine just loved running around the back yard flapping their wings and acting like little kids ...

It was such a delight to watch them

Quote:
They have a pen (approx 4x5m, i might have quoted too small in the last post) attached to the aviary which used to be grass, but they ate and dug it up in about 2 days, so now its got plenty of dust bathing sunny spots and a few trees for shade. They were dustbathing the other day in the sun, it was lovely. I will find an old log for them to stand up on, that is a great idea.
Quote:

that's why she got impacted crop.. eating too much grass
Don't give them grass... their digestive systems don't cope too well with it .. and its better to keep them away from it .. they won't miss it .. give them other things that they love... even layer mash or pellets mixed with some hot milk once a week.... and put some grated carrot and apple in with it ... see if they like it ... but only once a week..

Quote:
Another thing, each time one chicken goes into the pen to lay, the other 'bok, boks' herself crazy until the other returns to the pen, separation anxiety i think. Is this normal, or will getting one more chook to keep them entertained solve this? They were not housed together at the farm.


Don't get another bird... stress will hit them again... and also a new bird may bring in something that they haven't had and they may end up sick and you would kick yourself if one died just because you decided to give them another play mate

The clucking is normal... its one girl saying to the other girl

Hey girl... you go girl... yeah.. yeah.. yeah.... lay em baby...
They are just soooo happy

Quote:
One quick question off the topic. My cousin has a hen duck that he says i can have, a drake x pekin. The duck free ranges on 1 acre, but is with chooks also. Will the chooks and duck be happy, or could there be problems?

chookchook and farlap


Don't put a duck in with them... they have very wet droppings and these girls won't fight back.. and ducks tend to be a bit pushy... but that's my choice.. the end decision has to be up to you

_________________
Sandy


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
©2004-2014 Backyardpoultry.com. Content rights reserved
freestone