Got Chickens?

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  OldMt Woman 9 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #425

    CoffeeFirst
    Participant

    Chickens are a great “starter” animal. They don’t require a tremendous amount of space and they are easy to care for. We jokingly call them a “gateway animal” since most folks start with chickens and before you know it, you have pigs, goats and rabbits.

    The benefits to keeping chickens are two fold. Eggs and meat.

    If you’re interested in raising chickens for eggs or meat, I’d be happy to provide some help to get you started.

  • #434

    Daisy
    Keymaster

    I do miss having chickens. One thing also is how much fun they are to watch. I used to call going out to the coop “Chicken Therapy.”

    • #661

      CoffeeFirst
      Participant

      They are a hoot! We call it “watching chicken TV.”
      I know….we are easily entertained.

  • #506

    annaraven
    Participant

    Love my girls. We’re down to two though. Between age, illness, and predators… And of course, the girls are moulting now so no eggs until February. I actually bought eggs the other day. It felt really weird.

    I agree that chickens are really easy. Like, keeping a cat easy. Dogs are more work honestly.

  • #507

    annaraven
    Participant

    Oh, and I have had hens go broody and put fertile eggs under them. Kept the hens, but the cockerels went to freezer camp at first crow.

    • #664

      CoffeeFirst
      Participant

      They sure are easy! I’ve got a couple girls just starting their molt so egg production is right at the edge of dropping off. He rest will follow shortly, I suspect. One of my Cochins…..her feathers are literally falling off in my hands when I pick her up. She’s going to have a rough molt.

  • #515

    Rebel Lady
    Participant

    I would LOVE to learn more!!! I currently have rabbits and want to expand to have chickens next. I have a ridiculously strict HOA so I am having to go all 007 with my endeavors; but, where there is a will there is a way! 🙂 I have a plan to landscape around the chickens and none will be the wiser. But advice about EVERYTHING related to keeping chickens is much appreciated since I am in the planning stages now.

    • #520

      annaraven
      Participant

      Okay Rebel Lady, first thing you have to learn is there’s really no “incognito” way to have chickens – even hens. Hens are mostly quiet, until they’ve laid an egg. Or are they’re ready to lay an egg. Or thinking about maybe laying an egg. Or seeing one of their sisters laying. What I’m saying is – the egg song is NOT quiet. And hens love “advertising” their egg laying. Even without a rooster, your neighbors WILL know you have chickens.

    • #666

      CoffeeFirst
      Participant

      This is true. Hens will announce to the world that they’ve laid an egg and we should all stop and take notice. A big barometric pressure drop will also get the girls cackling.

    • #2272

      good idea
      Participant

      Yep, I have 2 chickens a friend brought over when he had to move last June. He hatched them himself and they are the only ones left out of 20! Glad I can care for them now and keep them safe. He also brought them in a big sturdy cage that was used to ship auto parts. Its 3’X5’X6′ tall with a very sturdy latch. That has kept them safe at night. I built a run around it out of 4′ high hardware cloth with clear plastic over it to keep out rain. They seem happy and I love them!

      I am worried about winter and can insulate around the cage. They automatically to go into the cage and up to the roosts every night an hour before dark. Very easy to care for. I spent loads of time researching everything chicken to find out what they eat, etc. They lay eggs in a cat carrier with the door removed, and grass or leaves in it, it works well and was free.
      Any ideas on keeping them warm enough in a big metal cage in NE? I put straw, leaves, and grass on the bottom (solid metal) and carpet and cardboard on top under the plastic. I know they have down and feathers to keep warm, and I will keep them dry and draft free, but still worry. The cage is on wheels and 8″ off the ground.

      CoffeeFirst, I went to your website. Do you sell actual baby chicks or the eggs to hatch our own? It looks like you can’t buy just one or 2?

    • #2290

      CoffeeFirst
      Participant

      Afternoon!
      Well….chickens are quite cold hearty as long as they are out of the wind, rain and snow. Chickens have a comb on their heads. Larger combs are more susceptible to cold related issues than smaller combs as a general rule. Are your birds large or small combed?

      The website isn’t mine but it’s of a company I use for many of my bird purchases.

    • #659

      Wolverine
      Participant

      Had chickens and loved them. As I travel a lot and not being able to be home everyday, I fought a losing battle with the raccoons. They managed to open gates and rip of roofing to get to the little darlings. Thinking of trying rabbits until I can stop traveling. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks

    • #667

      CoffeeFirst
      Participant

      I have raised rabbits and they just didn’t work out well for me. Most everyone I know raises rabbits and do pretty well. Me? I’m apparently more of a chicken, duck and pig whisperer. Apparently I don’t speak rabbit 😜

      Many years ago, we had fox getting into the hen house. The losses were huge so I was determined to rebuild the coop. It’s very sturdy 10’ x 20’ Metal tubing enclosure. The first 30” from the ground up is corrugated siding. After that, it’s heavy gauge 1/2” x 1/2 metal mesh to the roof. The roof is heavy plastic roofing material screwed into the metal tubing with roofing screws with self sealing gaskets. Lastly, I poured a concrete perimeter to prevent predators digging underneath. The coop has been nicknamed, “Fort Chicken, the last chicken outpost.” It’s all but bear proof.

      I can’t emphasize enough The need for a strong coop.

      Our girls were free ranging up until a few days ago. We have a bobcat that has discovered our girls. We’ve lost 4 hens and 2 ducks. And one hen struggling. So, the girls are on lockdown inside Fort Chicken.

    • #665

      CoffeeFirst
      Participant

      Well, I say go all 007!
      For starters, you’ll want to figure out how many girls you want to have to provide you with enough eggs for you and your family. And a breed too. We predominantly raise these birds here as they are great layers and easy on the quantity of feed. https://www.freedomrangerhatchery.com/details.asp?List=1&Product=7

      It’s a common misconception that you’ll get one egg per chicken per day. In Spring with young layers, that’s mostly realistic but they will taper their production as you get into the heat of summer and Fall. Production will decrease to nearly nothing in winter if you live in an area that has short winter days.

      Once you get an idea on the quantity of birds, let’s talk about a coop 😉

    • #676

      Rebecca Klabuhn
      Participant

      I have found Speckled Sussex to be one of the quieter breeds. They also lay all winter up north. They lay medium to large brown eggs and are very calm birds. Unfortunately a weasel got in my chicken house one night and slaughtered the entire flock.

  • #529

    Poly
    Participant

    Great “incognito” birds are quail. Very doable in garages or basements.

    • #532

      annaraven
      Participant

      Ooh and quail lay the cutest little eggs!

  • #668

    CoffeeFirst
    Participant

    Hey y’all….my apologies to you early posters. I didn’t get an email notification until just a few moments ago.

  • #679

    CoffeeFirst
    Participant

    Good to know about their winter laying and quite demeanor.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • #1169

    patientmomma
    Participant

    We have about 30 chickens; 12 are ornamental silkies which we sell the chicks in spring and summer. They have a separate coop and yard to themselves. The remainder are various breeds and barnyard mix that on average supply around 6-8 eggs a day. We started with about 8 hens and one roo given to us by a neighbor. We built an elevated wood coop and fenced it on about 1/4 acre so they could free range safely. Or so we thought.

    The first year we had hawks and owls, foxes, raccoons and coyotes coming around so we added 2 hot wires to the fencing, one 12 inches above ground and one as a top wire. The top wire fried a couple of owls and hawks within the first 2 weeks. The bottom wire shocked the daylights out of a couple of coons, which never came back.

    Over the years we have fenced 3 acres around the house, which includes both chicken yards and added 6 large dogs who roam the compound so we don’t have any more trouble with predators.

    Besides, chickens and ducks are funny! If we get in a bad mood, we drag up a chair near the big chicken yard and in minutes we are laughing.

    • #1181

      CoffeeFirst
      Participant

      Good for you! Hard to beat fresh eggs 🙂

      We haven’t had predator problems in a long time but… A bobcat showed up on scene a few weeks ago and has killed for chickens and two ducks. We haven’t had predator problems in a long time but… A bobcat showed up on scene a few weeks ago and has killed for chickens and two ducks. The girls aren’t free ranging until I put up some hot wire.

      Chickens and ducks are funny. Our pigs are even funnier!

  • #1738

    Josefina Arenas
    Participant

    CoffeeFirst…yes, we started with the gateway animal, chickens. We moved on to a couple of steer, but when our grass fields turned up in weeds the next year, we moved to Nubian goats. Nubians are dairy goats and they love to “talk”. They are very affectionate and will follow you like a dog would. We’re getting a kick out of our goats, and will return to a steer next year as the fields have reseeded.

  • #1754

    HomesteadingMama
    Participant

    We love having chickens. They are easy to keep and easy to process at home. We do want to buy a picker/plucker this spring to speed up the process. Of course, grid down it will be right back to hand plucking. *sigh*

    We do a wide variety of breeds since we’ve only been doing this a few years. We have a lot of fun getting to know the different breeds.

    We keep a laying flock of 20-30 and plan on doing about 200 meat birds for ourselves and family/friends this spring/summer. There is nothing like pastured chicken! I can put it in the crockpot with NOTHING and it is better than anything in a restaurant.

    Predators are sometimes challenging in our area, but my husband tends to over-construct things and that prevents 99% of the problem.

    A cheap way to get started in chickens is to find out if any local schools are hatching eggs as a class project and need someone to take them afterward. We ended up with ten extra laying hens and dozen roosters for the freezer this year that way.

  • #2317

    good idea
    Participant

    CoffeeFirst, One has a large comb and one has a small one. They made it through last winter at my friend’s place with just boards propped on the sides and top of the cage and free ranged during the day. But he also lost 18 of their friends!

  • #2326

    Crow Bar
    Keymaster

    @Jose fina Arenas,
    Do you mob graze your goats?
    If you want to clear pasture of weeds, make a paddock large enough for the number of your goats to eat 80% of everything in the paddock in 2 days. On the third day, move them to the next paddock. Move them in a loop like fashion so by day 45, you can put them back into that very first paddock. Anything that has grown in those past 45 days, they will mow down again. If you can do this twice, better 3 times, as season, the following year you will see drastically reduced amount of weeds and increases in grass.
    I have recovered several acres, cleared small trees and unwanted shrubs using this method over a few years.

  • #2336

    Josefina Arenas
    Participant

    Crow Bar– We have not tired mob grazing. Great tip! What kind of fencing would you use to easily move it every 2 days?

  • #2339

    Crow Bar
    Keymaster

    Well, a lot of people get by on something like this: https://www.premier1supplies.com/p/electrostop-plus-10-42-12-electric-netting?cat_id=53
    With a 1J energizer.

    My goats are . . . special. For the first 2 years they stayed just fine in that fencing.
    Then, for whatever reason, they held a vote and made me the leader of the herd. And jump the fence as soon as I got out of sight and come running to find me.
    So I had to get deer fencing. More expensive and bulky than the 42 inch stuff. But it works.
    I have coyotes around here, and rumors of big cats. So, I use a 2J energizer for that extra voltage.

  • #3677

    namelus
    Participant

    You really want your chickens to forage even in a small hos lot you can make a small chicken tractor 2 feet per bird moved daily with water and supplimental feed including oyster shell. Keep the bugs down lawn trimmed and fertilized.

    I would get dual purpose birds if just one kind, we use dorkings (not suggested as low layer but huge meat bird and my rooster is 15 lb has killed ravens in spring coming after the hens and chicks)

    The barred rocks are good dual purpose you will get3-4 eggs per hen a week other than molt. Medium to large brown eggs yolks are almost a orange color when foraging.

    Using kambucha the scoby as feed and the tea in the water along with diatomaceous earth and I have had no chicken or turkey health issues they get kambucha once a month.

  • #3680

    Crow Bar
    Keymaster

    I did French Freedom Rangers once. They were great!

    But now I buy from my neighbors and they are of a mix breed.

  • #6200

    namelus
    Participant

    Ok anyone got suggestion I just had a huge bald eagle start landing on a massive pine tree on property near my chickens and turkeys, I don’t want to kill it but don’t want to loose any live stock. Local conservation officer zero help

  • #6205

    OldMt Woman
    Participant

    Uh oh….that’s a problem.  Those eagles are HUGE!  ….what kind of housing/grazing situation do you have?  Is it possible to string up netting overhead?  In a small area, any cordage that leaves holes smaller than that big bird.  Fishing line?  That eagle will zero in it’s focus and see it …hopefully not want to tangle…???

    When we used to have African Grey geese, the adults would circle around the little ones if an overhead predator flew by.  They’d all stick their heads into the center of the circle, like spokes on a wagon wheel.  Covering/protecting the babies.  Very interesting to observe.  But the predator was not an eagle!  😮

    Good luck and….they’re a protected species, I think.

    OldMtWoman

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