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Who's Got Chickens? I'm Thinking Laying Hens

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Like 4-6 hens. I want eggs, I don't want to eat Chicken Little.

    Yet.


    Long Island climate, colder on Winter, HHH (hazy, hot & humid) in the summer.


    Predators are 'Coons, 'Possum, and a very rare red fox. Local cats, dogs,etc.


    One Smooth Haired Fox Terrier, one Dalmation, and 3 outside cats. Usually controlled, cats are inside/outside. One acre of property, I figure it's big enough.


    Willing to build coop, etc.


    Thoughts, websites, what ever :)


    Colored eggs would be kinda :coolsmile:

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  2. xrayman

    xrayman Member

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    Loc:
    central Iowa
    backyardchickens.com is a good website.
    Rhode Island reds and barred rocks is what i have they lay brown eggs. Ameraucana and Araucanas will lay easter egg colored eggs mostly green and blue.
    4 chicken won't give you many eggs i'd get atleast 8 because they don't lay everyday. they don't take up much space 8 hens would fit in a 5x5 building with a 5x5 pen real easy
  3. cjsplitter

    cjsplitter New Member

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    Loc:
    breckenridge, MI
    I raise barred rocks and white rocks. Every year I switch from one to the other. Due to you got to know how old they are. First year you will get one egg a day for the most part. The next year after the molt you will get one egg every other day out of the old ones. Then butcher old and you will have soup chickens.
  4. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Hi dtdeh,
    My wife has a bunch of chickens in a variety of styles and colors. I'll have to ask her what they all are, but we get at least an egg a day from 2 of the oldest. I think they take turns. Brown eggs, and very tasty. :coolsmile:
    I have an omelette or a couple fried (in olive oil) 2-3 times a month. Wife doesn't eat many eggs. More eggs than we can use, and the young ones haven't even started laying yet.
  5. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    OK, wife just woke up a little bit ago. We have black astralops that are giving us the brown eggs. We had four, and were getting about 2-3 eggs a day. Wife traded 2 of those for a couple silkys (silkies?). Those are good sitters, but the eggs are smaller.
    Maryjanesfarm.com has a couple threads right now asking the same questions. Those folks are as rabid about hobby farm kind of stuff as we are about our firewood. That's a good thing.
    We had a problem with a predator taking eggs AND chickens. It was a raccoon. One of the chickens may have been taken by a hawk or owl, but not sure.
    Wife says now may not be a real good time get your chickens, but if you have some way to keep them out of the cold while still young, they'll be good.
    The silkies do not winter over, and our black astralops (sp?) took about 4-6 months before they started laying.
    Lots more info to be had.
    Oh yeah, they LOVE to peck through the compost pile searching for bugs. That really helps break down the piles quicker.

    Good luck on your new adventure,
    Dave
  6. JeffRey30747

    JeffRey30747 Member

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    Loc:
    NW GA USA
    If you have snakes, owls or hawks in your area, you can add them to your list of possible predators.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Not to be a wet blanket, but before making to many plans, it might be worth checking w/ your local authorities to make sure there aren't restrictions on raising chickens or other barnyard type critters... Some places do, some don't, some restrict how many, etc... Note that chickens are NOT something you can raise in "stealth mode" - I have a neighbor several houses away that has 4-5 of the "mini-chickens" - when I'm working outside I can hear them easily on occasion - Not a problem in the least, but I know they are there.

    Otherwise, the prior posts match up with what I've always heard in terms of good references and such.

    Gooserider
  8. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the input, all of you .

    Intersting web sites, I'll do more reading this weekend.

    I figured it would be spring before I could get everything together before they could come home.

    We have garter snakes & owls, that's about it.

    Town code says I can have up to 6 "ladies" hanging around, already checked, but thanks for that line of thought (I also learned from my research so far that outdoor wood boilers are banned in this township...so much for that idea !). I'm reading now on coop restrictions (if any), etc.

    I've been helping take care of the chickens where the maress are now. Kinda like it :)
  9. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Good point Gooserider, some may need to do that.
    We're either arrogant, or sure enough, or both, to think that since there really is no "town" here (blinking light at the main crossroads), that we can do what we like as long as we're not messing with the neighbors. Nearest one is almost a football field away. She doesn't mind at all and has told us that. Maybe because we have enough land and own the land directly across the road as well, we feel somewhat secluded. We're a mile north of "town".
    We have a goat and a sheep too. Noisy little buggers when they're hungry.
    The roosters can be really noisy, and for those who think they only crow in the morning,.............not! Maybe we just got the stupid ones. These things crow at various times of the day when you least expect it.
    My brother thinks they need a lead injection.
    Dave
  10. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    I have had chickens for at least 5-6 years. I let them free range all day and close them back in at night. I have most of the same predators as you and many more foxes. The predators seem to be worse in the spring when they are also raising young. The kids love collecting the eggs. When the flock starts to get small we just take a dozen or so eggs and put them in the incubator. They seem to be much more vulnerable when they are young, I do have 3 roosters right now, they can be noisy sometimes but it really does not bother me and my neighbors are pretty spread out. I have seen the roosters go after a hawk and chase it. They have no problems sparring with my boxer although they know he is harmless. They can be very destructive to flower beds and gardens in the spring.
    All in all I like having chickens.
  11. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Around here you can't raise chickens but you can have "pets". My buddy has six pet layers and the board of health is cool with it.
  12. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Well, life just got interesting.

    The SO told me I could not have chickens.

    He doesn't live here, this is not his house.

    I have to have a tree taken down near the back of the house, that'll clear they way for a nice area for a coop & a run with a mesh cover. We have hawks, too.

    Feel free to pray for the SO.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I am wishing him a speedy recovery.
  14. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    He's almost recuperated. Damn him :)

    Came over this AM, I see him pull into the driveway, and no knock on the door. I look out the window, and he's got the trunk of the car popped, and he's carrying firewood (3" - 6" rounds, dry, too !!!) to my wood pile that he's taking out of the car. Said he was on his way over, and in his neighborhood, this was in front of someone's house, so he figured it was fair game at 8 AM.


    [​IMG]
  15. Poult

    Poult Member

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    Best advice I can give is make sure your predator proof coop is all ready when you get your birds. It will save a lot of heart ache later on if it's a nice predator proof coop. Over building is not a problem when you have to deal with dogs and coons. Remember that chicken wire is to keep chickens in, not keep predators out. Dogs and coons can get through it if they really want to. Coons also reach through larger holes and grab a chicken and pull them close and then eat a leg off. Nasty critters. The good news is once the coop is built and secure, you should be in good shape for a long time. Chickens are fun but of course TURKEYS are much cuter and smarter. :)

    Poult
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I have 5 hens that We have had for over two years now. They are great pets. Hens only make very little noise. We let them out during the day to run around and they put themselves to bed at night, after they are in I latch the coop shut. We have one acre and the egg prodcution is 1 per day per hen at best and about half of that at worst like in the winter, molting, or other extreme weather. Even heat will slow down production. I have a wife and two kids eating eggs and the 5 hens make more than we can eat. When you think of it, 5 eggs a day is a lot of eggs.

    They are cheap to keep too.

    The really important thing is that they are cheap to buy and if you decide you don't like it then just kind of go out there and kill them all. You will be out like 10$. I think you will like them, I've never met anyone that tries it and didn't like it.

    We have three rhode island reds and 2 buff orpingtons. All large brown eggs that are much much different and better than store eggs.

    Converting the birds into meat is way too much work. You need to kill them, bleed them, get all the feathers off, get all the guts out, and clean up while trying to beat the price of a storebought chicken at less than 99 cents per pound. Eggs are where it's at.

    Do the turkeys lay eggs too?
  17. Poult

    Poult Member

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    Some turkeys lay pretty well, with domestic birds probably laying from 60-90 a year. Good eating eggs, too. Taste like chicken eggs, but they are half again as big, sometimes double the size of a large chicken egg.
  18. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    A great bumpersticker that I saw:

    "Wherever chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens!"

    http://www.chickenvideo.com/buybumpersticker.html

    My ex-wife used to raise laying hens (it was great having the fresh eggs). It was amazing how they managed to attract various things that wanted to eat them that you'd have not noticed were around (mink, weasels, fisher...)- that got around, over, or under any number of fences, or through small openings in the chickens' shed.

    Some friends of mine raise turkeys- and the 'pen' that they put them in at night is not only enclosed with wire mesh on the sides, but the whole 'outdoor' portion of the enclosure is slat-floored and raised off of the ground. That seems as if it'd be an excellent way to do it- not only does it protect the birds, but it keeps their space clean, and allows easy raking out of the accumlated fertilizer beneath.
  19. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    It is hard to believe, but true, that you can mail order your chicks. They come in a box.... seriously.
  21. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Good thread - chickens are on the list for next year. I sent off for the McMurray catalogue and it's neat to look at the breeds. Plan on building a portable "a-frame" style coop. I found some place over in England that sold these things and took some pics from the webpage. I constructed the frame from 2x4's and am using salvaged pallet wood for the sides and floor. The idea is that the birds roost in top portion and then can roam around in the enclosed region underneath. You move around the yard so that they are not tearing up one area too much. We plan on letting them free-range in the garden a lot, but will use this a-frame thing at night and at times I don't want them in the garden. I've read they'll clean the bugs out of the garden, but will also peck at young tomatoes, etc.

    Attached Files:

  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Rather than build a larger coop for the hens I put up a chicken wire surround for the garden. You won't want the chickens in your garden as they will dig it up and kill everything. One peck on a pumpkin and that pumpkin will be ruined. All of the low hanging apples on my apple trees are pecked to heck too.
  23. Stephen in SoKY

    Stephen in SoKY Feeling the Heat

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    If you don't want to hatch your own replacement chicks, be sure to look at sex link pullets. Black Stars, Red Stars, Cinnamon Queens & Golden Comets are a few to check out. They're egg laying machines, you'll get more eggs on less feed than anything other than a Leghorn & leghorns are terribly flighty/not friendly. If you order straight run, remember at least 50% will be roosters. Ordering sexed pullet chicks is much more efficient unless you'll butcher the roos. I sell 300+ chicks each spring so I keep Barred Plymouth Rocks & Rhode Island Reds as breeding stock, but for my egg business I keep Black Sex Link & Golden Comet hens. Here's my solid cherry cabinet incubator I built:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And the solid Cherry incubator/hatcher I built sitting on top of the cabinet bator:

    [​IMG]
  24. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    For quite a few years we'd maintain 6 White Leghorns for our egg needs. And back when we were a family of 6 there was never a shortage of eggs. Some friend recommended that breed cause he thought they were the most hardy to winter over in an unheated shed. The only downside with chickens is that in the winter the feed will attract rodents. There are ways to minimize that...btw stay away from any roosters.
  25. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Poult, I am glad you checked in, I'm sure I'll have a question or two for you :)

    I had already figured out I need pullets, no rooster needed here.

    I'm going to keep an eye on Craigs list for some kind of shed, and take it from there. I've got a roll of fencing left over from some forgotten project.

    Nice incubator !!!!

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