Chickens... Help!?!

itiswhatitis2December 7, 2009

Ok heres the whole kit and kaboodle.

We got some chickens from a friend in the spring. They were about 6 months old (i guess) We ended up with 2 hens(Dominique x) and 3 (2Dominique x and 1 who knows what)roosters. Weve had eggs all year and we let one of the hens keep some to hatch. Well one finally hatched and one of the roosters killed it. So we let her start working on another clutch again only one hatched. The first baby that hatched was all fluffy and pretty this one was not. He was a little bald and scraggly looking. So he wouldnt have the same fate as the last one, on advice from a friend we brought the little guy inside under a heat lamp and keep him fed and watered. Now I dont know what to do with it. Everyone I ask (granted I dont know anyone I would consider an expert on the subject) tells me something different. I hate it that he is all alone but I dont know when its safe to put him in with the adults. He is about 2 months old. The past days events have made me even more skeptical.

We received 5 rhode island red hens and a rooster for free. My husband went an got them and we put them in the pen last night. This morning one of my roosters was trying to kill one of the hens. We took the two dominique rooosters out and then the existing hens went after her. So we took out the 2 worse looking hens and put the two roosters back in. So now we have four roosters in the same pen. Is this asking for trouble? I dont know how that works for chickens? Will the existing flock eventually except the new chickens? What can I do to help the severely pecked hen heal? How can I tell how old they are? The guy we got them from says they are all about a year old. Im skeptical because Three hens seem to have larger more scaly feet(not like scaly mites just thicker feet) and the other 2 seem to have more dainty refined feet. Also the dainty refined footed ones seem to be healthier. I would venture to say the guy who had the chickens wasnt taking care of them at all. Hubby says there wasnt even any water in there pen and they couldn't get in the sunlight. The rooster has very thick feet also and a nubby looking comb.

I looked up RIR chickens and they do look like that is what they are but I didnt see any nubby looking combs on any roosters. What would have caused that?

My next point is that we are raising the rooosters for meat so when is the best age to process them.(for lack of a better word). And what would you do with the new not so heathy looking RIR rooster?

Wow I hope you all can follow that:) Thanks so much for trying anyhow:)

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prmsdlndfrm

Chose your best rooster, and butcher the rest right now. With 7 hens any more than 1 rooster is just adding undue stress. Let the chickens fight, they will settle down, its like election time and this is the way they vote whos in charge. As for age dont worry about it till spring and everyone is laying, or should. Then watch for the color on thier legs and combs, those who are laying thier combs and legs will start looking bleached, then check thier vents, they should be loose and bleach colored. If everyone is laying ok, if not chicken and dumplings. Your chick being a loner I would not be so quick to put him back until hes at least half grown. For your new flock put gatorade in thier water, and either plain yogurt or whole milk mixed in thier feed for a couple weeks, the scaly swollen feet is a sign of dehydration.
josh

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 8:34PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Whatitis, Josh gave some good advice. Get rid of the excess roosters. Infact, you really don't need any roosters unless you just like them. As far as introducing the new chick to the rest of the flock, I have a small cage that I keep them seperated from the others right in the coop. They can see each other and get used to one another before actually putting them together. They will establish a new pecking order when you put them together,so just make sure that the little one is large enough to take the abuse. They'll figure it out. Luke

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 6:25AM
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