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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. Tom Pencil

    Tom Pencil Member

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    I must have got a dumb batch of turkeys. My turkeys are all in the freezer and my chickens are still crowing and laying eggs.

    I use 2" x 4" wire mesh and cover the sides of my chickens run and top to prevent wild critters from getting in. I would get some bantam Japanese or bantam cochins. Nice calm birds and lay eggs smaller than those in the store but you can raise a few extra hens in the same space as the standard size chickens.

    I do not recommend the Silver Spangled Hamburgs or the Egyptians. Both breeds are flighty and very noisey. Hens lay eggs consistantly though.

    If you do get roosters only need 1-2 for every 10-12 hens. My ratio is 50/50 cause I made the mistake of telling my kids that when I was a kid the only roosters that were butchered were the ones that had names. Next thing I know all the roosters have names.

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The trick is to give the roosters the correct names - i.e. Fried, Pot Pie, Roast, Stew (a real tough bird that one...) and so forth... The GF has an aunt that does that, tells us about the personality of whatever former barnyard resident we are eating... :coolgrin:

    Gooserider
  3. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    If you go with a more traditional shed with a plywood floor, an inch of concrete atop that plywood will help cleaning up the <<mess>> several times a year.

    Red sex-links (not internet sex links) are egg factories. They'll produce eggs at the expense of thier health. Often missing feathers, they aren't the prettiest birds in the coop.

    We've done the chicks via USPS before.
    One time you don't mind the post people opening the box to look as long as they are careful.
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Gee... For some reason I never have a problem with the PO people opening the box to look at my honeybees :lol: I don't know how the PO is about doing chicks, but there is a certain amusement in the way they react to people mailing honey bees. Unfortunately though, they have gotten much worse about the amount of care that they take with them, and they are much more restrictive about how far one can ship them.

    Gooserider
  5. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    For those of you who have laying hens, have you tried selling eggs? Some folks in my neck of the woods sell eggs via the "honor system" by placing a cooler filled with eggs, a sign, and a box to leave payment in at the side of the road. I've never bothered to stop and try to ask them how they make out with it or how much they sell them for, but I'm curious. I'm not looking to get rich of course, but I figure putting them out for sale is better than letting them go to waste. By the time we're able to move somewhere we can have chickens (right now we're in a subdivision on a 75x150 lot with neighbors on all sides) it will be more than just the two of us, but hopefully no more than five of us ;) Anyway, we just want to make sure that we have enough eggs, but not so many that we're overrun.
  6. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Eggs don't need much refrigeration when they're still fresh-a cold pack or two in a cooler can easily take care of them.
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    We give the eggs away to greatful friends and neighbors. Even relatives. I've never had anybody turn away real eggs. The risks involved with selling them far outweigh the profit potential. Eggs are pretty cheap at the store. We end up getting treats from the neighbors every so often and I believe it is because we treat them to our egg overage.
  8. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    BF, you should check your local zoning. You might be able to have them on a lot that size.

    I've been l;ooking at coops and such. I'd love to get my hands on a used childs wooden swing set, preferably with a turrret of some sort attached.

    Convert it into an A Frame coop. Sheath the turret, add ventilation, nesting boxes, perches, etc, and enclose the bottom for feed storage, etc. Then screen in the rest for a run, with a door at the other end.

    We'll see how close I can come to my plan, :)
  9. Stephen in SoKY

    Stephen in SoKY Feeling the Heat

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    I had a little dormitory refrigerator out on the front porch, money inside the frig in a coffee cup for several years. I think the entire several years I sold that way I only was shorted on one dozen. Alas about 2 years ago I became lawsuit leary & did away with the frig. I now sell just as many eggs, but they're only sold to people I know & feel more comfortable selling to. I sell about 20 doz/month at $2.50/doz. Doesn't actually make me any money, but it pays the feed bill for the layers & the breeding stock for the chicks I sell. Proceeds from chick sales are profit each year & by not paying for feed I actually pick up some pocket money with something I enjoy doing anyway.
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    FWIW, the friend that I work with doesn't do eggs, but does sell firewood and home grown tomatoes on the honor system - and says that he hasn't been shorted in years.

    The tomatoes he puts out on a table by the road w/ a produce scale a stack of bags, and a locked mailbox w/ a slot in the top, and they go amazingly fast - he will put out and get rid of 60-100 lbs in a couple of hours - with cars stopping every 2-3 minutes...

    The firewood is less obvious, as his "stand" is a couple sets of shelves divided up into 2 bushel "cribs" down in his driveway where they aren't visible from the road, but he still sells several every week during the summer, and considerably more in the winter - I spend a lot of time filling those shelves....

    What I have heard that many people do with small surpluses of eggs is to just sell to friends and co-workers. Many times an employer will be cool about a small scale "lunchroom sales" operation where you let your co-workers know that they are available and take orders or equivalent... I would tend to say that unless you have a large and predictable surplus, it probably isn't worth the headaches of trying to do a "stand" for the public.

    Gooserider
  11. Poult

    Poult Member

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    That's nice work! Beats the crap out of my GQF Sportsmen for looks.


    Poult
  12. Stephen in SoKY

    Stephen in SoKY Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks! I used all GQF parts except the tray turners. My trays are sized to accomodate the tabletop turners, this allows me to set the turner out & hand roll goose/peafowl size eggs when I want to. 7/8 tongue & grooved cherry really holds temp/humidity well. I used the GQF preset electronic thermostat so swings in barometric pressure don't affect it at all. The tabletop is the works out of a fan forced eletronic preset thermostat styrofoam unit placed in the cabinet I built. I had the cherry in my shop and thought why not build my own!
  13. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    timfromohio I really like that shed you built and am curious to hear how your chickens winter over. This thread has rekindled my interest in raising our own eggs...I think we stopped years ago cause the price of eggs cratered so that it didn't pay to raise your own. Hope you keep us posted.
  14. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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  15. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Great post Highbeam. It's not like the old days, think liability, lawsuits and lawyers. Better to give them to friends and relatives or buy insurance and protect yourself.
    Ed
  16. raven

    raven New Member

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    northern ohio
    chickens.......iv had to build 3 separate coops and pens
    the wife just loves her chickens,they are cool
    i had never been around chickens before and just could not help but notice how the roosters had a natural interest in each other :)
    for to long i just had to walk into the big red roosters coop ,and not thinkin i left the door open. well at the time the big blue rooster and his flock were out of there coop. %-P . now chickens are cool but roosters are just flat out entertaining let me tell ya.dont get me wrong in about 2 or 3 min i was grabbin the big red one and settin him back in his pen. :roll:
    yep the wife loves those chickens....i on the other hand admire the get up and go in those big roosters.
    i managed to talk her into letting 8 of those roosters stay on around here. things are fine as long as i keep the 2 boss roosters apart. :smirk:
    oh and timfromohio,chickens and tomatos just dont mix.
  17. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    As a couple side comments from my experience a few years back from when I was living at a cousin's and dealing with their yard birds...

    1. Chickens CAN fly - not far, not high, but well enough to get over a fence and into the garden...

    2. Trimming BOTH wings doesn't really help. They can still get even lift, and while they have to work harder, they can still get over the fence...

    3. Trimming just ONE wing works really well - this causes them to do loops on takeoff, as they are getting full lift from one wing, and not from the other, which really upsets their flight computers...

    4. Yardbirds like to roost in trees at night to sleep.

    5. Shaking a small tree full of sleeping yardbirds causes them to fall out of the tree onto the person standing under it. This also causes the birds to be highly annoyed and make lots of indignant noises...

    Gooserider
  18. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    If you have a garden going too, consider building two chicken pens side by side with the coup centered outside them and a hatch into each. Use one as a garden plot and the other as the chicken run, and alternate from year to year - great free fertilizer.
  19. m0jumb0

    m0jumb0 New Member

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    you can HAVE my roosters... I have 2 big black ones that are MEAN. Next year we're getting all pullets so we don't have to deal with them. My little boy has what we call a "chicken scream" LOL we know when a rooster is after him

    and I'll second the chickens and tomatoes thing... they'll peck a hole in each of your ripe tomatoes if you let them in your garden. next year chicken wire is going around the garden :)

    I will also agree that you should have at least 2 pens to rotate them between if you're not going to just let them run loose. They'll turn a small pen to dirt in a few weeks scratching for bugs and worms.
  20. SnapCracklePop

    SnapCracklePop Feeling the Heat

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    Eileen et al,

    Found this thread when I searched for "chicken."

    Who's doing the chicken thang this year (2012)? I have a small backyard dog boarding kennel, too small to do all that much business. I'm seriously -- VERY seriously -- thinking of converting it to a chicken coop. I'd order some chicks (probably Leghorns and/or ??) for March delivery...

    You can see what I'm dealing with (for the coop ) at my kennel website: colemanscrittercamp.com

    The building is 12 by 24, with half of it closed in. Room for about 25 birds. There are four outdoor runs, two 8 by 12 and two 6 by 12 feet. None has a roof, but that's something I can figure out later.

    My biggest project will be redoing the inside. The floor is a floating vinyl tile that I laid (it has expanded/contracted and would not be easy to clean). Someone suggested an inch of concrete on the floor. Would that work? Would it need to be reinforced somehow? With hardware cloth? I have three floor drains that I could make good use of. Thinking out loud... maybe I could just pour concrete over the vinyl floor? Would that be better than removing the vinyl and pouring it on the plywood subfloor? Can it be one piece or does it need to be scored?

    The wire partitions that I now have in the kennel can be configured into a moveable pen to allow the birds to forage in the yard or the garden. Nothing will go to waste...

    I have enough scrap lumber to build nest boxes, roosts, feed troughs.

    For sure I'll enjoy the eggs and the taste of the meat. I need to get my head around the slaughtering process, though...

    I recall my mother's vivid descriptions of HER grandmother walking briskly through her flock of backyard chickens, reaching down and grabbing a bird by the head, twirling it around and leaving it flopping around dead on the ground. She'd do three or four of these for a big meal. I need to find another way, sorry...

    I've rambled. Any comments/suggestions?

    FWIW, I do an excellent immitation of a hen laying an egg...

    Nancy
  21. fran35

    fran35 Member

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    I know the downside to having a rooster, but won't having a rooster help deter predators such as racoons, foxes and hawks?
  22. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Somewhat, but our neighbors twice lost all their chickens, roosters and all. The roosters are still just birds, and can do just so much to protect their harems.
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    We have a neighbor that keeps a small flock of "mini-chickens" - they are of the strong opinion that having ONE rooster helps keep the girls happy, and makes them behave better, and stay quieter overall. They say that if the flock doesn't have a rooster, then the hens start getting into rivalries over which one is going to play the rooster role, and you get a lot more fighting between the birds, noise, etc... OTOH, having two or more roosters leads to battles between the guys. Just one rooster, and everyone stays happy...

    ex-Gooserider
  24. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    The role that is played by a rooster is one of warning of danger (usually but some roosters don't), keeping the hens somewhat in line, and pointing out to the hens the various treats he has found for them.

    Other than that they can be a royal pain in the ears and other parts of your anatomy if you get a cranky one.

    It is very rare that a rooster actually wins any fights with predators, a large rooster might scare a small predator away on occasion.
  25. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Smokey darn tough at this game....But there very easy to raise. Started with 17 still got 17.

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