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backyard chickens

Post in 'The Green Room' started by BucksCoBernie, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    I just picked up 2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Black Australorps pullets yesterday.

    from left to right: Dorothy, Blanch, Sophia and Rose (just kidding)

    who else has backyard chickens? any tips/ideas?

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  2. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    The golden girls? WOW.
    Nice chickens. We've still got a couple of Americana's (I think that's what's left). They lay sort of a green/blue egg.
    Our blacks liked to roost in the pine trees next to the garden at night when they were still around.
    If you have coyote, fox, or coon around, get them (the chickens) inside a secure enclosure, or they'll be a night time snack for those guys.
    We had a coon come and kill some of ours last year, until I solved the problem.
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I've thought of trying to keep them, but I need to wait until I get the wood piles down and into nice clean stacks.

    Matt
  4. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    It was a last minute purchase so I havent built a house for them yet. They are protected by the dog pen fencing and I put a roof over it to keep the hawks and anything else out. They've taken up residence in a dog house. I lined it with some straw and put a board over the entrance at night to keep them safe. I might just modify the dog house and turn it into a house for them. Ill add a front door and a nesting box. Its plastic so its easy to keep clean. I should start getting eggs in about 9 weeks.
  5. dvellone

    dvellone Feeling the Heat

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    www.backyardchickens.com has some good info as well as forums addressing many chicken-keeping question and concerns.

    If you don't have an outdoor dog you might want to modify the doghouse so you can close them in at night to protect them from predators.
  6. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Thinking about this as you just dont know whats in your food today unless you grow it or raise it yourself. Its not about saving money its about puting all sorts of harmful chemicals in your body. I do know the eggs i get from the amish farmers taste better and have a deep orange yolk compared to the factory eggs from wal-mart.
  7. PAJerry

    PAJerry Member

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    We've had them for 2 years now and can't imagine being without them. Not a lot of work and the eggs are way better than store bought. Get them some good commercial feed but they also like any kind of weeds, table scraps, etc. Backyardchickens.com is the best info site.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Same here. I've had 6 hens for about 3 years now. They do their job. Always plenty of eggs. We have the buf orps and RHode Island Reds.

    We were at the feed store yesterday looking at their chick selection. I am about to buy 8-10 more, but this batch will grow for 8 weeks and then go into the freezer. You think eggs are bad, the meat section of your supermarket is filled to the brim with all sorts of antibiotics and hormones. We want to try out the meat chicken thing and see if we like the whole process.

    Chickens are cheap to buy, hens are quiet, cheap to feed, don't take much room, and are very good at converting feed into food.
  9. Tom Pencil

    Tom Pencil Member

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    Been raising chickens for over 30 years. Not an expert on them but just love to watch them. Currently have about 35 assorted and in a couple days getting about 30 more chicks for my kids 4H projects.

    Currently have...
    Black Tailed White Japanese, Black Japanese, Golden Penciled and Silver Spangled Hamburg, White Polish, Red Laced Cornish, Egyptians and Red, Black, Buff, White and Birchen Cochins. Majority of what we have are the bantams. They eat less feed so I can have more of them in the same space as compared to the standard sizes.
  10. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Minister of Fire

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    Just bought our first 6 chicks today. Three Rhode Island Reds and three Americana's. They're down stairs now in the old Guinea pig cage. Found someone on Craigs list who was giving away some 4x4x6 crates, which will make a cheap coop.
    Between the wood, the garden and the chickens I'm really getting into this sustainable Green living stuff
  11. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Pretty much how we started. Old dog houses next to a fenced garden. We opened the fencing to allow them access to the garden, and man, they turn the compost pile into finished compost pretty quick.
    We've got some friends who strung wire kind of haphazardly over the top of their chicken pen to keep out the hawks out.
  12. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    What kind of meat chickens are you going to get? We tried jumbo cornish last year. What a suprise! They would habitually eat until their stomachs would swell and they'd "pass-out" and sleep for 20-30 minutes. Then they would wake up and start all over again. We bought egg layers at the same time. You just won't believe how fast they grow on a daily basis. One word of advise...don't grow them a full 8 weeks. We raised ours in confinement and figured the meat would be tender. I butchered them at 8 weeks old and they were beginning to get a little stringy. Next time I am going to start butchering 1 bird every 2 days after they reach 5 weeks old to see when is the optimal growth time. The other thing is, that MOST grocery store chicken is sold in packages containing up to 15% salt and flavouring agents (they also often bathe them in papaya enzyme- a meat tenderizer). One last thing. Scalding, plucking and cleaning even 12 chickens was a lot more work than I expected. Good luck!

    In the future, when I try this again I also plan to raise the chickens from eggs in incubators. That way I can hatch out small #'s of birds each week (2-3) in order to have fresh chicken every week.
  13. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Not to mention hormones, antibiotics, total confinement away from sunlight and the chlorine baths they give the end product in order to sanitize the meat and make it safer for the public.

    Sorry, just had to comment on that!

    About the chickens, we raised a flock of 16 chickens we purchased in May of 2008. By fall of 2009 we had almost 40 birds. Egg laying hens, roosters, guinea hens, ducks and three goats! We were in way over our heads. So I sold all the livestock last fall. I miss the eggs, around here we were paying ~$12/bag of feed for the hens. The eggs are not cheap to produce by any means. By the time you add the cost of the birds plus feed to raise them from chicks you're in by more than you'd spend on eggs. One thing is for sure though, the eggs are excellent. As a hobby and to produce good quality eggs for your family it's worth the work and money in my eyes. But, in my experience it costs more to produce the eggs than you'd pay for in stores. That being said. I'd say your best bet is to get a book on raising egg layers that can be purchased in most of the feed stores. The books I bought were very helpful. Chickens are fun but can be a lot of work. I have a coop to finish in the back yard and some fence to enclose an area for a new flock I'll purchase this year. This time I'll stick to 6-10 chickens just to get some eggs for my family and neighbors who will help take care of the birds when we go away some weekends. Have fun with your hens, I miss mine!

    Worrying about predators is a must if you want to keep those chickens. We lost quite a few to racoons, foxes, coyotes, hawks and fisher cats. Chickens can't see at night so are easy pray for the nocturnal hunters. The hawks also love them. I'd recommend fencing all around and some even recommend burrying some chiken wire around the base to keep anything from digging their way in!
  14. raven

    raven New Member

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    Backyard chickens are cool. There really easy to care for . LOL listen to me ....they are the wife,s birds and she cares for em . Her 4 hens has turned into 4 coops and 4 runs, and fridge for nothing but eggs. She lets a different flock out each day.
    The 4 coops and 4 runs are my bad ...... i enjoy the hens being around but i really like Roosters. Lmao ,like the song says ya gotta keep em separated.They are her hens but the Roosters are mine.We elected to get a batch of silkies to do the hatching they are really broody and actually really tuff little birds. They run free every day and seem to stay away from the other birds.The silkie rooster can be out with the other roosters,the only time there is trouble is when one of the big roosters is after one of his hens. The silkie has no problem setting any of the other roosters strait.I could go on and on but the bottom line is good feed, shelter and a little care and let em run free if you can. and enjoy em they are cool.
  15. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I'm in the middle of building a "chicken ark". We are planning 4 to 6 laying hens this season for eggs.
  16. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    =====================
    VC
    It ALways cost more to get a better product, the chemical loaded chicken and eggs from the grocery store are not worth the few dollars less in exchange for your health.
  17. WES999

    WES999 Minister of Fire

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    One question:
    Do the chickens have large talons? ;-)
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Since it's my first run at this I'm getting the standard purpose bred cornish cross which might be marketed as "jumbo". The idea is for rapid growth. Turns out that these things need very little floor space (compared to layers) of 1 SF per bird and the little hair like pin feathers have been bred out of them for easy plucking. I plan to hand pluck the first batch. These goofy birds don't even want to walk around or roost, they just want to eat and grow.

    The articles I have read tell me to feed 24/7 for the first 2-3 weeks and then have feed available for 12 on and 12 off until they're at full weight. The trick is making sure that they don't eat each other after I pull the feed away for the night. I am told to expect a 2:1 conversion of feed to meat so each bird will take on 20 lbs or less of broiler (20%+ protein) feed.

    All I have to lose is 6-7 weeks of my spare time and 20 cents a pound for the prebagged feed from the feed store. The birds cost about 2.50 apiece. I'll scald in a borrowed turkey fryer and use a traffic cone for a "kill" cone.

    I'll take your advice and weigh them on occasion after 6 weeks to make sure I don't go over the target broiler weight.

    Anybody have any mail order hatcheries that they would recommend? Taking delivery in western WA might be a concern but it seems all mail order chicks are day old and overnight mailed.
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Large talons, maybe. The standard meat chicken batch is straight run males and females but the cornishX isn't interested in fighting with me. They just want to eat.

    Tina, come get some ham!
  20. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    I have 7 hens and a couple roosters (anyone want one?) Easy to take care of, the kids love them.
  21. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    Do they have what?
    I don't understand a word you just said.

    hahahaha
  22. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    I agree with you 100%!! And i quote my own reply: "As a hobby and to produce good quality eggs for your family it's worth the work and money in my eyes."
    I just didn't know how much I was going to spend to feed all the poultry I had. I was spending about 50/month and they were laying way more than I needed. But it was a good learning experience and I'll do it again this year.
  23. Ncountry

    Ncountry Member

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    We have had chickens for a year now. We started out with 3 laying hens and then got 5 chicks , they grew into 3 hens and 2 roosters.These are my 6 year old daughters birds. Gives her some chores(cleaning out coop and collecting eggs) and money from selling eggs to family. As the roosters developed I told her they could get mean and if they did we would have to eat them. She did not really like that idea , they were her pets . Then the days came that the roosters matured and started trying to bully her around . We had chicken for dinner twice last week.
  24. mainemac

    mainemac Member

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    That is too funny.

    Guess they did not learn their lesson but your daughter did.

    My neighbor had some egg producers that were fun to watch, I agree the eggs tasted great.

    He had a coop but they were let out daily and they just wandered into the woods and one by one the fox or coyote got em.

    TOM
  25. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I would love to have just 3-4 chickens but its not in the cards. Too many predetors for even our small dog to be left outside. We live in a development that abutts over 5000 acres of reserve in Southern NH. The last neighbor to try chickens made it 4 weeks before something tossed the yard and got them all. The oldest cat in the neighborhood is about 2 years old. Coons, coyotes, foxes, fisher cats, bears, hawks and more hawks. My wife was walking the dog out back and an immature bald eagle went for our Carrin Terrier on the leash. She said she heard wings "whoosh whoosh" before she saw it. The dog just about had a heart attack.

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