Jump to content
cluck and henry

Very new and inexperienced, lots of questions to ask

Recommended Posts

We have had our hens since Thursday and have some qestions that we hoped some of you might be able to answer.

We have a friend who owns a pine shop, he always has lots of spare saw dust, can this be used to cover the floor in the run??

The hens seem to eat most of the day long rather than in the morning. They never eat all that is in the feeder but I thought that they were supposed to fill up in the morning.

Does anyone know if feeding hemp seeds to the hens is ok. I know that they are full of goodness but not sure if these could be poisonus to them.

If I leave the hen house open at night so that the ladies can get out as early as they please rather then waiting for us, if I leave the food out over night will this cause mice to be a problem??

Can anyone recommend what type of green hens like the best to be hung up in the run. Also what do other people use as treats in the afternoon. I have fed them linseeds, they love these, grapes and raisins.

I know there is lots here but all help will be gratefully recieved.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im not sure about the sawdust :? I probably wouldnt go for that if it were me. :?


We dont let our girls out to free range for at least 1-2 hours after being let out of the eglu, this way it ensures they eat their pellets before the big wide world of the garden is available to them to feast on. :D


They have treats late afternoon, our girls love broccoli, sweetcorn, sunflower and seasame seeds, porridge oats mixed in bio natural yoghurt (nice in the hot summer weather :roll: ), grapes, chopped cucumber (another good summer one as cucumber has a lot of water in it) chopped cherry tomatoes, left over cooked brown rice, left over mashed potato, lettuce, spinach, Some peoples chooks adore cabbage and sprouts too - but my 2 arent fussed with those. :D


We leave our grub and glug out, some people take theirs in. up to you!

We shut our eglu door at night as our girls are noisy early risers and we dont want to upset the neighbours!

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't use sawdust but you can use wood shavings like they use in rabbit hutches. Sawdust will be too dusty for the hens, I'm afraid.


My girls love broccoli, kale, cabbage, lettuce, spinach and cauliflower but it took AGES for them to decide that they liked them!! Suddenly they were flavour of the month after turning their beaks up at them for months!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My girls love all sorts of things. Dried mealworms are a favourite as well as blackcurrants, toast, cooked pasta and raw peas. They weren't keen on broccoli when they first arrived but we could try it again. Their absolute special is worms. Found this out when I was gardening today. The girls followed me around and sucked them up when they appeared - just like spaghetti!


We use a mixture of wood shavings and chopped straw in the house and nest boxes.







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there, welcome to the happy world of chicken keeping! I think pretty much everything edible is the chickens favourite treat. Fed my kids their tea out in the garden today and they were mobbed by chickens. Smallest boy was chased, dropped his banana and they ate it! :shock: Had to steal the skin back. :shock: Ours will follow you to the ends of the earth for mealworms, couldn't dig the garden as I had seven greedy beaks getting in the way of the fork chasing the worms as soon as they were dug up! Grapes, tops off of strawberries, cucumber, corn on cob, white cabbage, everything except layers pellets really!


But we love them! :lol:


Mrs Bertie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

don't think mine have refused anything except butternut squash :? they like the outside leaves of cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, they go mad for peas or sweetcorn, cucumber, courgette - cooked potato peelings, leftover pasta ... they're not fussy! I wish they would eat slugs, though. :(


Don't know about hemp, but I don't see why it would be poisonous to them - they eat most seeds.


I leave pellets in the run all night, I'm not aware of a mouse problem but then I do have a cat - the only mice I see are the ones neatly deposited on the mat for me to find in the morning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's not so much mice as rats that like the pellets :?

and what's more.....many pellets contain an antidote to rat poison making it very hard to get rid of them once they've got you down as their favourite takeaway.


I agree that sawdust may be too dusty.


My chooks will happily graze all day, but first thing in the morning they dive into their pellets with great gusto.

Hence the suggestion to keep them in for a few hours.....a bit like making kids eat their dinner before going to the sweetshop :wink:


Treats are fun....but if you find the one they go really mad for, always make a particular noise each time you give it to them.

You'll soon find that just by making that noise you can get them all stampeding towards you at high speed.

Apart from being really funny....this can be very useful if you need to go out or if you spot a hazard (like a fox) lurking when they're free ranging.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually let my hens free range in the afternoon, after I think they have all laid. That way I know the have eaten enough pellets. I treat them with raisins when they are roaming about.


When we shut them in the run for the night (we leave the eglu door open at present) we have a second grub which has oyster grit, bokashi, tinned sweetcorn, defrosted sprouts and grapes in which we use to tempt them in. They love lieing in wait for it and rarely fight over food now.


Yesterday Peri "broke into" the kitchen and stole a grape from the treat grub, where it was waiting for the end of play-time. I'll have to find a new hiding place now :roll: .

Link to comment
Share on other sites


My girls will sell their souls for sweetcorn and blueberries. They all make a particuar noise when they have them. Since the weather has picked up they seem to have got back into grape lust. I tried them with cranberries once and they liked them, raisins went down ok but I got the impression they would much rather have something else. Chick peas were met with initial excitement which quickly became thinly disguised annoyance when they realised it wasn't actually sweetcorn.


I find that if kitchen s"Ooops, word censored!"s are soft they will eat them, but as I'm sure you've gathered from the other posts timing is crucial: I left a big dog bowl full of cooked veg (cauli, broccoli, carrotts, french beans) in their run the other day and I know for a fact that they ate that rather then their pellets. I had three very windy chooks that day! If you grow your own carrotts or buy them with the tops still on they like that if it's hung in their run, and they like lettuce hung in the run. It's true that both pellet and water consumption increases once they start to lay. We also give them sunflower seeds which they love, so I can't imagine hemp would be too much different for that.


I can't recommend Hemcore enough to you. We use this in the run, as we have them in a fixed spot and then have straw in the nest box. Hemcore is fantastic at keeping smells at bay and is much cleaner.


Enjoy your chooks!


Edge Wife x


P.S mashed potato also seems to be a chook delicacy! Greedy little blighters really aren't they?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all very much. All the information was of great help and you gave me more besides. It was great.

At present the ladies are not allowed out of their run.

I read that they should be kept in the run for about a week before they are let out as that way they would know where to go when it came to bed time.

I have to say though, not sure if this is a usual thing. As much as we would love to have tham raoming the garden we are very nervous of it.

We have a very substantial six foot high fence all around the garden but we do have some small walls, fairly close to the fence. the walls are about three feet high. we also have some fruit trees that are fairly close the fence too.

we have this terrible fear that the ladies will get up high enough to jump over into the neighbours gardens. we know for sure that this would be a disaster if they did this. They both have dogs that we a re sure would kill the hens :evil: . Even if they did not kill them the neighbours might! They are very proud of their perfect gardens and I could imagine that our hens gobbling up their precious flowers would not be something that they would take kindly to.

Could anyone ease our minds that letting them out would not be the terrible saga that we have built up in our minds. Our ladies are Isa Browns.

Thank you all once again for the help so far. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think most chickens are happier bumbling about at or near ground level. They do like to perch and might jump onto something 3 - 4' high, but very rarely do you get a chicken that will attempt anything higher, especially if their wings are clipped. Some breeds are known to be more flighty and therefore more likely to attampt an escape, but Isa Browns are not known for this - definitely ground dwellers! :lol:

I think you just have to try them one day when you are around to keep an eye on them. You'll soon be able to tell if you have a flighty one! Good luck! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...