What to do - chickens

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by QBVII, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    We got 15 RIR chickens (12 hens and 3 roosters) the other day.
    Didn't have a place to put them, except the barn, it's about 50 yards from the house.
    There was already hay in there, no nest boxes.
    They have laid 11 eggs in a big tub full of hay.

    We went out there while ago, and one of the hens was lying in one of the stalls, dead. DH said it had "flesh exposed" and appeared to be half-eaten; but he wasn't sure it had been eaten and not just died and was then pecked.............

    I don't know what to do at this point. DH disposed of the dearly departed, but should I just leave the others down there?
    We have a small shed thing here, close to the house, that is attached to the garage (we'd have to clean it out first, though), but the ventilation is not as good - there is only one small window; so I don't think they would get enough air at night if they were shut up in there. We'd have to open the window at night.
    They would be safer from predators in there but I don't know if they'd get enough air!

    We don't even know what happened to the dead chicken, if something attacked it or if it died and was pecked.....so unsure about what to do....advice?

    TIA
     
  2. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    You could put a small box fan in the window of the small shed. I would move them in there ASAP before any more get eaten.
     

  3. dixiedoodle

    dixiedoodle Well-Known Member

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    Shurelt ya could tell if it had been eaten on.Was only feathers gone or the skin? It could be a rat,cat,dog, or could have died of natural cause such as old age.
     
  4. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    I think id just assume that it died and leave them there for now. But i would keep a close eye out for predators or signs of predators just in case.You wouldn't happen to have a baby monitor laying around do ya.They work great for keeping an ear out at night.
     
  5. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    I didn't look at it - the stall was dark - when I saw it, lying there dead, I turned the situation over to DH!
    He glanced at it but didn't look close - that is where we made our mistake - because now we don't know what happened - could have been natural causes and then pecked on - we should have looked closer and tried to figure it out but I just didn't want to look. It has been disposed of.........
     
  6. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    DD said she saw a rat out there the other day in the loft. DH said there weren't feather lying about...we're thinking it probably died of natural causes and was chewed on by a RAT! :eek:
     
  7. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    The other chickens will eat feathers and all.
     
  8. ihedrick

    ihedrick Can't stop thinkin'

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    What if you put up a screen made of chicken wire on the small window? Would that give it enough ventalation? Keeping an eye on things just as they are isn't a bad idea either. Maybe the chicken got too stressed from the move?
     
  9. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    Well, we are going to have to empty out the garage and put them in there.
    The barn is fifty yards off and we don't know what, if anything, goes on at night............when DH gets home (he's leaving Mon.. back Fri.), we are going to empty the garage out the get them in there so they are close enough to take care of......
    I wanted to put them in the garage to start with --- but we just got back from Tucson and it was already loaded with our possessions --- so we have been unpacking, sorting, etc., putting stuff out there.
    We were talking about this very thing before we got the chickens, but we don't have any dumpsters or a pick-up to move all that stuff in --- we will have to basically tote it in a wheelbarrow --- it's going to be an all day long project when we do it. Or it would have already been done....I told DH the other day we are just going to have to grin and bear it :p and do whatever we gotta DO, even if it's "the hard way" because it's gotta get done.
    This will be an example of that because we seriously need to get them in that garage.
     
  10. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why the heck did you get chickens if you didn't have a place prepared for them? Kinda of laxidasical attitude folks. When a homestead animal dies you really NEED to know how and/or why in order to protect the rest of your animals. So it was dark in the barn - pick the body up by the feet, go out into the light and check the body over. Geez louise it's a chicken and you eat them porbably all the time. Homesteaders take care of their animals, dead or alive.
     
  11. Gercarson

    Gercarson Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Voice of experience. Please make sure your hens are placed in a predatory proof (well, as close as possible) place. Your chickens are not safe where they are now. Even if you got them at a bargain price, they are a better investment than you really know. You will keep getting those eggs for quite a while - and if you want, you can hatch out more - all at practically no cost to you. Chicken dinners, eggs for breakfast - etc. Don't let another hen "die" a mysterious death. Maybe get rid of a couple of the roosters - dinner already!
     
  12. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

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    Goatlady is 100% right. You need to know what causes the deaths of your animals. If it's something like coccidia or botulism toxin, all your birds could be dead pretty quick. If it's a predator, all your birds could be dead even quicker.

    Since you didn't examine the carcass of the dead bird, you need to go to the barn more and pay attention to way more stuff. Look for signs of a predator, look for immobile birds, drowsy looking birds, birds with pale combs or that have fluids coming from places they shouldn't. Stuff like that.

    I can understand not having a place to put them immediately but you really need to know the threats to your birds if you want them to live.
     
  13. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    I know! I am SO wanting to get them out of that barn and into the garage, so they will be closer.
    I feel like I can take better care of them that way.

    Thanks for all the advice! :baby04:
     
  14. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sometimes you have to rearrange your priorities-a huge part of homesteading, being flexible and stopping what you're doing and working on whatever presents itself as a PRIORITY. Maybe unpacking/sorting should wait until you provide adequate housing for these animals. If you have them in a stall, seems like some boards and a piece af fence might do the trick. I hate to sound b*chy, but I agree with goatlady. Please, please don't get animals and let them get killed, and say "Oh well".
     
  15. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    You seriously need to check yourself.

    I'm not "letting" them get killed; I am here getting useful info as to how to take care of them. :rolleyes:
     
  16. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry if I hit a nerve. This is what you posted ~

    "We got 15 RIR chickens (12 hens and 3 roosters) the other day. Didn't have a place to put them, except the barn, it's about 50 yards from the house."

    A bird was found dead. You have no idea if it was killed by a predator. It sounded as though you were going to leave them until ??, ; I'm sorry if I made you angry, really I am, but we all can learn from this. No one should bring animals home until we have provided safe shelter for them. They deserve that.
     
  17. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    Here's the deal:
    You just cannot wait until your DH gets back on Friday to clean out the garage..between now and Friday, you may not have any chickens left at all, and obviously you want the chickens to be safe, you just don't know how to do that..

    so measure that shed window..go get "hardware cloth" and a staple gun. Staple that hardware cloth to the shed window so that ANYTHING with tiny claws couldn't so much as stick one little finger in between a space and lift up an edge of it. Drop everything else and clean out the shed.Stick a 2X4 or a ladder across something like upturned boxes if that's all you have so they'll have a place off the floor to sleep at night..chickens are happiest when they are able to snuggle up next to one another all in a row, up off the ground..think "tree limb". Get the chicken waterer and feed container in there, as well as make SURE that there aren't any holes in the floor or the walls..if there are, get some nails and boards and get them boarded up. Spread straw or leaves on the floor for the droppings (LOTS of droppings, especially under their "roost".) Put your chickens in there and they'll have fresh air since the window is open and secured with hardware cloth. Make sure also that the door latches tightly. A racoon can use it's hands almost like a human being and can easily flip open a hook and eye latch.

    Your chickens will need a lot of clean fresh water this time of year.What's "a lot"? For that # & breed of chickens, they'll need to have constant access to a minimum 2 gallon hanging bucket of water which is changed DAILY and the container scrubbed out weekly..more often if they soil it. (you live in KY..high heat and high humidity = thirsty chickens and be cautious of mold.

    Large breed chickens such as Rhode Island Reds have a reputation for an occasional "drop dead off the perch"..when you get the opportunity after you're settled in, it would be a good thing to read all that you can about not only chickens in general, but also, "your" chickens. Eventually, I'm sure you & your chickens will be just fine.
    Edited to add:
    The only caution I have to add, is if that shed is one of those small 8X10 metal things, never mind..it will be like an oven. Wood is just fine.
    If it IS a metal shed..rig up something in that barn stall using chicken wire and 2X4's. top, sides and don't forget the floor.
     
  18. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    You didn't "make me angry", I'm just not going to let you turn this thread into a personal attack...
    I did have places to put them; I didn't have the garage and barn ready to the point that I wanted them to be in...
    If I waited to do things until everything was PERFECT, I hate to tell you this but nothing would EVER get done.
    So untwist your knickers!
     
  19. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    Actually..the situation as presented on a homesteading forum would be similar to someone in "ordinary life" saying that they had recently moved, yet had also gotten a bunch of small dogs..they were planning on keeping the dogs in the back yard but hadn't gotten a fence up yet, so the dogs were currently running around in the front of the house, and the street was a busy one..

    They had found one of the dogs dead on the sidewalk..it was unclear if a car had hit the dog, or it had just kind of keeled over and died from the excitement of the move and been munched on by passing "nightlife"..They did have a small enclosure for the dogs as a temporary thing, but it needed to be cleaned and had only a small window. Their plan was to wait another 5 days until they could get everything out of the backyard and build a fence..meanwhile, what did people think..did a car hit the dog, or did it just keel over?

    It would be natural for everyone to say "HEY" get those dogs away from the street..don't wait another day! They're NOT safe where they are..and some responses would surely be VERY "pointed".

    For homesteaders, dogs, goats, cows, chickens, rabbits..whatever..FIRST responsibility of the homesteader is to 100% secure the livestock/poultry..because they cannot defend themselves, and must rely upon us to care for them, AND they are our means of providing for our families. Someone posted about "priorities"...well, there ya go...securing those chickens 50% or 75% means nothing to a predator.
     
  20. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Hindsight 20/20 Response: Don't get animals until you're prepared to house them.

    For Now Response: see "Bostonlesley"

    FWIW, yesterday I should have been with my friend, whose husband died in Afghanistan on Thursday. Instead, I was sitting in my good skirt in chicken poop in the chicken tractor in 90+ heat for half an hour water-misting a broiler suffering from heat stroke; I made it down to see her a bit later than I hoped. My broiler's up and about (can't find him in the crowd) and life goes on. Such is the homesteading experience--I buy animals, I take responsibility for them. Your first step in being responsible was to post here for advice. Your second step should be to follow it. Good luck.