Author Topic: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)  (Read 12552 times)

SwampMonster

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Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« on: September 23, 2008, 04:47:44 PM »
I have access to a 30x100 flight pen that will only be used during the winter for pheasants. I was thinking about putting in a few chicks in the spring and eat when they get bigger. Any one have any experience in raising chickens?  can you give me some general info?

Swamp

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Here Chicky, chicky, boom
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2008, 11:06:11 PM »
It's been a few years since we've had any, but here's what I learned when we did.  We had 6, I think, there've been a few beers between then and now.  I ain't no chicken farmer either, so take it for what it's worth. ;)  I went with the trial & error method to learn.

I can't eat a chicken I've raised from a chick.  Yes, I'm a hardcore hillbilly huntin' & killin' machine, but if I cared for it while it was a baby, it's safe from my carnivore side.  Get full grown chickens, or at least pullets.  They take less care to raise up to eatin' size & you don't have to feel guilty when you whack their heads off. ::)  Or listen to the merciless teasing you'll get from your wife when she realizes what a puss you are.  We never ate ours, just collected the eggs, which are the best BTW.

A chicken needs about 3 square feet of living space, figure three square feet of space per chicken in the coop, to determine coop size, obviously more is better.  Free range is the best.
If you're going to allow your chickens to free range during the day, make sure they have an enclosed, safe place to roost at night.  They should be able to roost in an elevated position, i.e. off the ground.  Also, if you're going to allow them to free range, when you first get them they need to stay cooped up for a few weeks.  Opinions for how long vary, but I kept mine cooped for 3 or 4 weeks so they got the idea that the coop was the safe spot to come back to at night, YMMV.

They need fresh water everyday & some kind of supplemental feed if they aren't going to be free ranging, happy chickens.  A couple of hens will share a laying nest & if you want chicks you'll need a rooster.  If you want happy neighbors, you'll want to forget about getting a damn rooster.  They're noisy & they can be mean.  We had a one-eyed rooster that used to like to attack my wife, but only on her right side...you figure it out.   No, I couldn't eat him either.

Chickens are a lot of fun to watch, or I'm just really boring. In general, they're easy to take care of.

**Edited for clarification.**
« Last Edit: September 24, 2008, 02:04:19 AM by DeltaEchoVictor »

SwampMonster

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Re: Here Chicky, chicky, boom
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2008, 06:59:25 AM »
Thanks for the info. I am mainly wanting the eggs and meat so no rooster. However that would be a great way to get my neighbors to shut there dog up at night.

Swamp

Offline sassiesmom

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Re: Here Chicky, chicky, boom
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2008, 08:22:07 PM »
Also, make sure you have a secure enclosure...it's amazing what can get in and out of a chicken pen!

If you do decide that chicks are the way to go, make sure you get them vaccinated or get them medicated feed.  There are a few diseases that could reduce your flock and you don't want to deal with the loss (lost time and $$)

There are some really good Yahoo Groups where you can find a lot of good information, or check out the Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens from your library.  Good info on housing, handling, feeding, and even butchering and storing. 

I'm a city-slicker myself, but we've had chickens for a few years now and am learning a bit about it.  The meat is much better than store bought.  If you purchase meat birds (chicks), you'll notice more fat on them once you butcher than if you purchase more of a heritage breed. We've done both the meat birds and heritage and although the meat is a bit more tender on the meat birds, we really liked the heritage birds for flavour.  Barred Rock chickens are a really nice bird, nice size and dress out fairly large with not as much fat on them.  They're not as meaty on the breast, but still a good eating bird.  They also lay really nice eggs as well.  Buff Orpington are also a nice bird as well as the Wyandottes.  Larger birds, nice large eggs, and good meat. 

Best wishes!  I hope it all goes well for you!
Cathy
BC


SwampMonster

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Re: Here Chicky, chicky, boom
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2008, 08:40:50 PM »
Thanks Cathy,

  I have access to both a quail house and a flight pen. Figure the pen will be the one I use, if 500 Pheasants cant get out 10 or so chicken will stay.

swamp

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Here Chicky, chicky, boom
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2008, 03:58:46 AM »
Barred Rocks are beautiful birds.  We had Rhode Island Reds, Polish Crested & Guineas for a time.  The Rhodie's & the Polish ended up being the only ones that stuck around.  The Guineas, while being great for keeping bugs down are a little rangy.  They had a tendency to roam quite a bit farther than the others, which usually stayed within the yard or just on the edges of it.

Offline Stein

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Newbie chicken advice
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 03:22:22 PM »
I am seriously hashing out the idea of keeping 2-3 hens for eggs.  We wouldn't consider meat birds, at least until we get some experience under our belt.  I am checking into city regulations now and should know soon what is allowed, but I assume that 2-3 hens would be ok.

The general idea would be to build a simple henhouse and have a caged run sticking off the front.  Total footprint would be maybe 4' x 20'?  Just guessing right now.

Anyway, my two concerns would be noise/smell from our neighbors perspective and the amount of ongoing work.  I figure the smell would be minimal to nothing if we kept it clean, but are hens noisy at all?  I don't need silence, but I do have respect for both our neighbors.

What about daily work required?  I don't know jack about chickens but assume daily feeding and egg collection would be required.  What about cleaning the henhouse and run?  Can they go 5 days with just feeding?  I often take Mon-Fri trips and would prefer my wife not have to mess with cleaning.

Any other tips for a total newbie?

Edit:  Just noticed this is similar to the other chicken thread, feel free to consolidate if necessary.

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2008, 03:33:11 PM »
Last week, I did try and look up info for my city about chickens.  Only thing I could find was a site that had a rundown of various cities.  Round Rock was listed and it said 5 if they could be kept >15 feet from a neighbors structure, 10 if they could be kept >25 feet.  I was considering doing  a 5 chicken setup for eggs and the occasional meat chicken.  It's lower on priorities, but it's a neat thing to plan.  =-]

Offline Stein

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2008, 06:51:30 PM »
Once I get a few more chickens, I may need one of these.  Anybody here have one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRwNJxk8LrQ

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Newbie chicken advice
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2008, 09:49:39 PM »
I am seriously hashing out the idea of keeping 2-3 hens for eggs.  We wouldn't consider meat birds, at least until we get some experience under our belt.  I am checking into city regulations now and should know soon what is allowed, but I assume that 2-3 hens would be ok.

The general idea would be to build a simple henhouse and have a caged run sticking off the front.  Total footprint would be maybe 4' x 20'?  Just guessing right now.

Anyway, my two concerns would be noise/smell from our neighbors perspective and the amount of ongoing work.  I figure the smell would be minimal to nothing if we kept it clean, but are hens noisy at all?  I don't need silence, but I do have respect for both our neighbors.

What about daily work required?  I don't know jack about chickens but assume daily feeding and egg collection would be required.  What about cleaning the henhouse and run?  Can they go 5 days with just feeding?  I often take Mon-Fri trips and would prefer my wife not have to mess with cleaning.

Any other tips for a total newbie?

Edit:  Just noticed this is similar to the other chicken thread, feel free to consolidate if necessary.

Daily feeding and watering.  If you plan on being gone for a couple of days throw extra scratch down or get a chicken feeder to fill while you're gone, maybe an extra source of water as well. 

Clean the coop at least once a week, a bonus is chicken manure makes excellent fertilizer.  Don't use it though until it's sat around a while & is no longer "hot".  It needs to age a bit like all compost materials.  If you're growing plants or veggies you'll have no problems using it up.  Like anything else, if you clean regularly the smell won't be intrusive.

If you're only going to have a couple of hens the daily work is going to be minimal.  Hens squawk a bit, but no where near what a rooster will.  Without a rooster being around you'll probably have less squabbles between the hens, which makes for less noise.  At least that's what I noticed with mine. 
« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 01:13:15 AM by DeltaEchoVictor »

Offline Stein

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2008, 10:06:28 PM »
Cool, thanks.  That is about what I figured.  I just need to hear back from the city regarding the laws and talk a certain someone into it.

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2008, 01:16:02 AM »
Last week, I did try and look up info for my city about chickens.  Only thing I could find was a site that had a rundown of various cities.  Round Rock was listed and it said 5 if they could be kept >15 feet from a neighbors structure, 10 if they could be kept >25 feet.  I was considering doing  a 5 chicken setup for eggs and the occasional meat chicken.  It's lower on priorities, but it's a neat thing to plan.  =-]

Wow, I can't believe Round Rock even still allows chickens.  It's a huge frickin' city now, I could see it when I lived there.  There were only 15,000 people or so then.

Offline archer

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2008, 11:22:16 AM »
After talking about the prices of food with my wife (thanks Jack for the great podcast), she mentioned that it might be a good time to get some chickens. Anyone have any experience with Bantams?

jeremya

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2008, 11:56:04 AM »
Last week, I did try and look up info for my city about chickens.  Only thing I could find was a site that had a rundown of various cities.  Round Rock was listed and it said 5 if they could be kept >15 feet from a neighbors structure, 10 if they could be kept >25 feet.  I was considering doing  a 5 chicken setup for eggs and the occasional meat chicken.  It's lower on priorities, but it's a neat thing to plan.  =-]

Wow, I can't believe Round Rock even still allows chickens.  It's a huge frickin' city now, I could see it when I lived there.  There were only 15,000 people or so then.

I live on the Cedar Park/Austin border and people have horses in their back yard. :)

-- Jeremy

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 12:20:39 PM »
Last week, I did try and look up info for my city about chickens.  Only thing I could find was a site that had a rundown of various cities.  Round Rock was listed and it said 5 if they could be kept >15 feet from a neighbors structure, 10 if they could be kept >25 feet.  I was considering doing  a 5 chicken setup for eggs and the occasional meat chicken.  It's lower on priorities, but it's a neat thing to plan.  =-]

Wow, I can't believe Round Rock even still allows chickens.  It's a huge frickin' city now, I could see it when I lived there.  There were only 15,000 people or so then.

I live on the Cedar Park/Austin border and people have horses in their back yard. :)

-- Jeremy

**Derail Alert**
I didn't get to Cedar Park the last time I was down there, but I remember it as a few houses & shops with a highway running down the middle of it all.  It was a quiet sleepy little place, even being on the edge of Austin.  But it is Texas after all, so not everything surprises me. ;D
**Back to your regularly scheduled thread**

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2008, 12:26:11 PM »
LOL, found the page I got my info on...  let's see how off I was...

http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/chickenlaws.html

Got the distances wrong... 
Quote
Round Rock, TX.  Up to 5 fowl if your chicken pen is 25 ft. away from neighbor's residences.  If the pen is 50 ft. away, you can have 10 fowl.


Offline archer

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2008, 02:06:09 PM »
That's the place I've seen (and lost). Just could not remember how I found it. Cool. I can have some.

Bighorn

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Re: Newbie chicken advice
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2008, 05:53:12 AM »

The general idea would be to build a simple henhouse and have a caged run sticking off the front.  Total footprint would be maybe 4' x 20'?  Just guessing right now.


Have you thought about a chicken tractor? A portable coop might be better if you have a large yard.

Tony

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Offline Stein

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2008, 06:58:04 PM »
Well, I called the city to find out about the regulations.  They told me to fill out an online request.  I did that two weeks ago with no reply.

We live in a town of 14,000, so there can't be that many requests come in.

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2008, 09:44:01 PM »
Well, I called the city to find out about the regulations.  They told me to fill out an online request.  I did that two weeks ago with no reply.

We live in a town of 14,000, so there can't be that many requests come in.

Honestly, they probably don't even know the answer.  Somebody's probably going to have to research it, whenever they finally get around to it that is.

Offline CTF250

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2008, 07:19:10 AM »
Heres a link for info on raising chickens

http://www.backyardchickens.com/

Offline flagtag

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Re: Here Chicky, chicky, boom
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2008, 02:36:57 PM »
It's been a few years since we've had any, but here's what I learned when we did.  We had 6, I think, there've been a few beers between then and now.  I ain't no chicken farmer either, so take it for what it's worth. ;)  I went with the trial & error method to learn.

I can't eat a chicken I've raised from a chick.  Yes, I'm a hardcore hillbilly huntin' & killin' machine, but if I cared for it while it was a baby, it's safe from my carnivore side.  Get full grown chickens, or at least pullets.  They take less care to raise up to eatin' size & you don't have to feel guilty when you whack their heads off. ::)  Or listen to the merciless teasing you'll get from your wife when she realizes what a puss you are.  We never ate ours, just collected the eggs, which are the best BTW.

A chicken needs about 3 square feet of living space, figure three square feet of space per chicken in the coop, to determine coop size, obviously more is better.  Free range is the best.
If you're going to allow your chickens to free range during the day, make sure they have an enclosed, safe place to roost at night.  They should be able to roost in an elevated position, i.e. off the ground.  Also, if you're going to allow them to free range, when you first get them they need to stay cooped up for a few weeks.  Opinions for how long vary, but I kept mine cooped for 3 or 4 weeks so they got the idea that the coop was the safe spot to come back to at night, YMMV.

They need fresh water everyday & some kind of supplemental feed if they aren't going to be free ranging, happy chickens.  A couple of hens will share a laying nest & if you want chicks you'll need a rooster.  If you want happy neighbors, you'll want to forget about getting a damn rooster.  They're noisy & they can be mean.  We had a one-eyed rooster that used to like to attack my wife, but only on her right side...you figure it out.   No, I couldn't eat him either.

Chickens are a lot of fun to watch, or I'm just really boring. In general, they're easy to take care of.

**Edited for clarification.**

Your chicken killing story reminded me of the scene in Jericho where Mamie was talking to the chicken about not running around after she killed it. That was such a funny scene! (She didn't kill it btw - at least not that day)
Don't forget tho that chickens can be mean.  Wear shoes or boots when tending them. (they will grab the skin and twist)

keliz5000

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Re: Newbie chicken advice
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2008, 08:05:25 AM »
I am seriously hashing out the idea of keeping 2-3 hens for eggs.  We wouldn't consider meat birds, at least until we get some experience under our belt.  I am checking into city regulations now and should know soon what is allowed, but I assume that 2-3 hens would be ok.

The general idea would be to build a simple henhouse and have a caged run sticking off the front.  Total footprint would be maybe 4' x 20'?  Just guessing right now.

Anyway, my two concerns would be noise/smell from our neighbors perspective and the amount of ongoing work.  I figure the smell would be minimal to nothing if we kept it clean, but are hens noisy at all?  I don't need silence, but I do have respect for both our neighbors.

What about daily work required?  I don't know jack about chickens but assume daily feeding and egg collection would be required.  What about cleaning the henhouse and run?  Can they go 5 days with just feeding?  I often take Mon-Fri trips and would prefer my wife not have to mess with cleaning.

Any other tips for a total newbie?

Edit:  Just noticed this is similar to the other chicken thread, feel free to consolidate if necessary.

Hi,

I have a hens in a similar setup to what you were thinking, and I was surprised that they really ran down the grass (10ft by 10ft area) and its just all dirt in there run now, so we ended up extending the run, and we let them into the grassy bit during sunny days.  So I would reccomend making a run that can be moved so this doesn't happen.  Because they really are happier in grass not in dirt.  One of mine makes alot of noise when I go outside if she isn't in her grassy part.  Also hens are great for eating waste if you don't compost it, they love the tops of carrots and wastes from the veg patch and stale bread or cereal and leftover pasta etc.  And we have a strawberry patch, and they eat all the berries that the insects start eating, and giving them table scraps can make the eggs taste different/better.  I got a giant egg once from feeding them grapes.

Good luck!
Kelly

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2008, 11:41:58 AM »
Do you give them feed as well?

Offline Mrs. ElyasWolff

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2008, 04:24:41 PM »
I found a really great site for chicken raising including the different breeds for anyone just starting out.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/LC-howto.html

-C

Dan Holiday

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2008, 11:51:13 AM »
I'm also considering keeping some chickens out back just for the eggs.  However, if one of our concerns is bird flu, is it really a good idea to have chickens in the back yard.  Wouldn't that be a risk?

Offline Kilgor

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2009, 09:17:42 AM »
Get a copy of Carla Emory's "Encyclopedia of Country Living" http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Country-Living-Carla-Emery/dp/1570615535/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235837675&sr=8-1

It has everything you need to know about raising chickens (written in easy to follow language) and in addition a lot of extremely useful information about other topics.

You will thank me later.  ;D

Offline Cornhusker

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2009, 02:00:24 PM »
We usually butcher 25-50 chickens in a year and always have some egg layers around.
They mostly free range but we do throw out some layer crumbles for them.
I can't tell you how much better the meat and eggs are from home grown birds, you just have to try it.
I bought some store eggs a while back and could hardly stand to eat the pale runny things.

Offline oktheniknow

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Re: Discussion of Chickens (Merged Topic)
« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2014, 12:26:44 PM »
Thought I would add this article - http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/306625/gravity-feeder-with-pvc-and-a-galvanized-garbage-pail-pics
If I ever get chickens will need a way to feed them when away.