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Old 12-19-2008, 01:06 AM   #16
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Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a 'flock'?


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Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
Anyone have anything nice to say about backyard chickens, since Tscarborough doesn't seem to.

They taste good with the right BBQ sauce.

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Old 12-21-2008, 12:07 PM   #17
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Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a 'flock'?


Hey Leah,
I bought 5 Rhode Island Red two day old chicks in early April, 2 months later it turned out that 3 of them were actually cockerels so I dispatched them. Too late in the year to get more chicks so I just ran with the two, they started laying in September at the rate of about 2 a day, so I get a dozen a week like clockwork. Fresh free range eggs are much more nutritious than store bought battery caged chicken eggs, lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in vitamins too.

I feed them layer pellets that have everything needed, I also give oyster shells now and then but they don't really need it with the diet they eat, the eggs are also thicker shelled than store bought and took a little getting used to when cracking them. The feed costs equal to about a dollar for a dozen eggs, I also bought a fifty pound sack of cracked corn for $8 and scatter a half a cup in their run daily, they love to scratch and love corn.

I built a small tractor and will use it this spring but in the mean time they are very happy in a 50 square foot fenced in covered run which they reduced to dirt in a month. The coop is only 4x6x6' high and has never smelled or got nasty yet - I use the deep litter method and keep no food or water in the coop since they only go in it for sleep and leave at first light - I will clean it this spring for the first time. I built a droppings tray under their roost lined with vinyl flooring then covered in wood shavings, it is 4 feet long by 1 foot wide and can easily be swept into a box for daily disposal.

They are like pets in the way they come running to you when you go outside, much like a dog it is mostly because they see you as a food source but unlike my pit bull gives me breakfast every morning. If I leave the back door open they will come into the house and lay next to me at the computer. My RiR's don't like to be handled much but won't argue a lot if picked up, one of them eats out of my hand and pecks bits of food off my dogs muzzle too.
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:46 PM   #18
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Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a 'flock'?


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But it would be the ultimate retaliation for the neighbors yapping dogs...
This can be a problem! We had the same idea and finally refused because the dogs in the neigbourhood!
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Old 12-27-2008, 10:18 PM   #19
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Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a 'flock'?


We had chickens on our 'farm' when I was growing up. We got 52 free chicks because we bought a couple bags of feed. Out of the 52, one was a hen. . So much for raising chickens for the eggs to feed 6 kids.

As for the bats, they're a little creepy, but they will NOT bother you (had one fly a couple inches from my ear one time, but only to get the mosquito that was about to bite me ). We have an unused chimney beside our house. There is maybe one to two inches of space between the house and the chimney and we have counted about 10 to 12 bats that live up there. In the evening when I'm out in the backyard working, I see them out flying around. It's interesting to watch them. We don't usually have a problem with mosquitoes either. I'm thinking of building a couple bat houses to attract more of them . I wonder if it's possible to breed chickens and bats. They'll fly around at night eating bugs and in the morning drop an egg for breakfast in the yard.

If you do build a chicken coop, use the fertilizer around your plants and shrubs. It's very good for them.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:53 AM   #20
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Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a 'flock'?


Can we get back on the OP's topic?: "Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a "flock"?".
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:05 AM   #21
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Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a 'flock'?


Sorry about that Leah and AtlanticWBConst.
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:58 PM   #22
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You MIGHT wanna try guenia hens for their tick feeding ability. Might just save your life. I used to live in the country and the skeeters would carry you off near to dusk. It was either a colony of bats,,,or a family of owls,,or both,,but you could go outside and NEVER barely get a bite. neighbors all said,,,arent the skeeters terrible,,,me says,,,not at MY house. Owls are death on kittens and mice etc. too. mice carry MORE ticks and cause alot of other diseases. Bats, purple martins and owls,,all good to have around.

Now as chickens go. You have NEVER tasted better chicken than home raised broilers. special meat type. They grow chick to over 4 pounds in 6-8 weeks all total,,,fast do it yourself project. And plucking chickens is NOT yucky. Grew a 1000 of them once on a lark. My mom and I cleaned 80 a day and had time to spare. DONT rtry that many 25 or so is a nice try,,,they eat like horses tho,,,but tasty isnt the right word,,,the juciest food you ever wanna try!!Store bought are like chewing cardboard by comparison.

For laying hens you can build a light weight battery you pick one end up and slide over a bit each day or twice a day and give them new grass to peck,,,and turn green
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:15 AM   #23
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we have goats and chickens. the hens are mostly too old now to lay any more, but both goats and old chickens are loved by the wife and grandkids as pets. but they still eat bugs and mice and make some great fertilizer!

this spring i will get some new laying hens, i think.

52 chicks and only ONE hen???? sheesh......

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Old 01-01-2009, 09:02 AM   #24
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I used to have chickens,but I also had 50 acres and all was zoned agricultural. I since have moved from the "Farm" and am now in a area that is rural residential with about 3 acres. My neighbor brought chickens to her property.She has 1.75 acres and built a pen and kept them for almost 6 months. Then I found out she has been taken to court for a nuisance violation. She lost and the chickens had to be removed! I hope this will not be the case in your endeavor. FYI: I would make sure that this sort of action will be avoided.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:07 AM   #25
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Dangermouse and others-- The REASON you got 52 chicks and only ONE hen was they were sexed before you bought them. they USED to sex off the males and sell the hen chicks for more. Everybody knows you dont need many males to females,,,especially if your raising eggs and laying hens. Only need males IF your selling hatching eggs!! the males were sold off for 'broilers' or eaters. (that ONE hen in there was a mistake!!) Wjen I was a kid a saw them sexing chicks,,,I never have done it but the guys doing it were good and FAST!!!(so a few mistakes were unavoidable)

broilers have come along way in growing REAL fast. You have to take the food away at night or they grow so fast their feet cant hold them up and they go down. VERY important to feed chicken of any type a good extra vitamins,,specially broilers. I think it was vitamin K they found needed suplemented to prevent anerisms and sudden death!!
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:16 AM   #26
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Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a 'flock'?


I have a flock of 9 hens and 1 guinne. They have only been laying since Nov 2008. I get about 4-5 eggs a day, more than enough for a family of two. I am also supplying two familes with eggs. I decided not to get a rooster because we have fox in Louisiana and they seem to call the fox. I have had many chicks go missing because of fox and racoons getting them off the roost. I feed laying pellets, kitchen scraps and alitte chops. I just love the little thrill of finding an egg in the nest. If you can get chicks that lay the blue/green/pink eggs I suggest you do. Everyone seems to be love colored eggs and they taste the same. Good luck.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:42 PM   #27
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I "had" a flock of new chicks. Bought 25 plus one free from McMurray. Got 18 roosters and 8 hens. Built a house after they were old enough not to need the heat lamp (6 weeks). Lost two within the first week and could not figure out why since they were not running around outside the house. Wife decided to free range them. Neighborhood dogs had a field day and I lost 10 more. After two months I had only 2 hens left. Found that the roosters were a bit overzealous in their "lovemaking". 3 or 4 at a time would attack the hens. Started keeping them is a fenced area connected to their house but still lost all but one rooster. He now stays with my 4 goats. If I get more chickens, it will be only hens and about a month old when I purchase them. Neighbor had 8 Guimea hens. Loudest damn critters I ever saw.
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:52 PM   #28
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Backyard Chickens - Anyone have a 'flock'?


I purchased my hens from www.mypetchicken.com they guarantee sex and sell orders as low as 3! Before I invested my time and energy in this project I researched my local town ordnance to make sure that my ladies would be legit. However, there are many 'underground' backyard chickens all over the country.

Our town does not limit the number or sex of chickens (some do), however, they are not allowed to run free and I cannot sell either eggs of chickens without a permit.

Many towns and municipalities allow chickens and many more are added everyday as more people see value in raising their own food. You can even keep chickens in Manhattan!

As it has gotten cold I get lots of questions from my neighbors about "the ladies". They have a fully enclosed roost box that is unheated - when it is really cold or windy (less than 20F) I close the door. I give them extra treats when it is cold so they have more calories to keep warm. When the weather is really cold they lay smaller eggs.
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Last edited by Leah Frances; 01-06-2009 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:38 PM   #29
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Leah:

Regarding keeping your chickens warmer:

Phone up any of your local appliance parts stores, and ask if they still sell or can order "mullion heaters".

Before the era of energy conservation, mullion heaters were used in refrigerator cabinets to prevent condensation from forming on various parts of the cabinet, like the mullion between the fridge and freezer sections.

A mullion heater is basically just an electrically resistive wire sandwiched between two pieces of metal foil. Where I live, you can buy them long and narrow (like 24 inches by 2 inches) or in a square format (9 inches by 9 inches). They come in various wattages; typically 15 to 45 watts. And, one side of the mullion heater has a pressure sensitive adhesive on it; you just pull off the protective paper and stick it on.

I'm thinking these would make ideal roosting pads for your chickens in winter. The mullion heater only uses 15 to 45 watts (anything more than that would cook the bird alive), and you can control power to the mullion heater with a normal dimmer switch made for a light bulbs, thereby controlling the temperature of the pad.

I believe a person could make much the same thing by using a surface element from a stove in place of the mullion heater, and just running 120 VAC through it on a dimmer switch.
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:21 AM   #30
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any heater in a strip,,,on the floor is going to get crapped on and quickly ruined. best is a heat lamp from above them heating sawdust or other ground cover. HEAT regulation is MOST Important in first 6 weeks of life,,,they MUST start out very hot and gradually cooled off in their controlled environment. A good heat lamp system with a thermostat,like your home furnace,,,or you will have froze or roasted dead chick,,,way before you want hem to be!!! never had to have heat in a layer house of adult hens but there were enough of them to keep it warm from body heat. When they are certain heat or cold stressed,I forget which,they can go into a molt,,,,not pretty,,,and no more eggs.(they lose all their feathers but tail feathers,,strange and crappy looking!!)

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