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How many of you have chickens?

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Post  Aub on 8/25/2010, 11:05 pm

I noticed that a few of you have chickens. I have always wanted some but haven't got them yet. I would love to know about your chickens and their arrangements. Are you in town or in the country? How many do you have and how many did you start with?
I'm so intrigued by the whole thing! But my sister said I CANNOT get any chickens (she's deathly afraid of birds) Sad
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Post  boffer on 8/26/2010, 12:50 am

We got 6 chicks this past spring. They all lived, and there were no boys, so we have 6 hens that are just starting to lay.

I made a chicken tractor that works well, but its size is best suited for 4 hens. So I added on a playground on wheels-as much for my entertainment as anything. I get the biggest kick watching them run. My gosh do they poop a lot. I'm still waiting for the poop to break down and green up the grass.

I'm on 5 fenced acres, but there's no way my wife will let them free range because of potential predators. We even wasted used several trellis nets across the top of the playground so a hawk won't swoop down and grab one. who?me?

They love the leaves from broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprout plants, as well as beet greens. They're not into lettuce, spinach, or carrot tops. They used to eat the slugs we threw in, but not anymore, much to our disappointment.

We've only ever owned domesticated pets, so it's been a fun learning experience for us.

When I took this pic, I could hear the other two in the coop, earning their keep.
How many of you have chickens? 100_2612

Plymouth Barred Rocks, 4-5 brown eggs per week per hen. Pleasant temperament.
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Post  Nicola on 8/26/2010, 2:07 am

(I'd like to know that as well.) "I do, I do!"
This past April, we got 3 chicks, Red, Rocky, and Kallie. They were born in late March, so they're just about 5 months old, not quite laying yet. Then last month, we got 2 more, (still un-named; any ideas?) about a year and a half old, with the hope that they, being experienced layers, could provide us with eggs while we wait for the "chickies" to mature. Yeah, right! First the move (apparently chickens don't care for change), then a total of 3 eggs from 2 hens over a few days-- then those heat waves, right into a sudden abundance of feathers - all over the coop, the yard, and the gardens -->Chickens don't lay when they're molting. Mad We have one each chickie and older hen of Rhode Island Red [classic reddish-brown], and Plymouth (Barred) Rocks [a cool scalloped black & white], plus a DeKalb Amberlink, [she's creamy white with brown "muddy splashes"].
Some of the family thinks it's cool, except for one or two who were traumatized by birds as kids. Our son and daughters just figure we're nuts (just another example of how "The 'rents" are out to embarass 'em, I guess. First the gardening, and now Chickens?!) I can only imagine what the other kids must think, as we live across from a large urban high school. My city is --I just looked this up-- 13.4 square miles, population about 70,000. I rented this apartment because it sits on over a half acre of land, much of the backyard being woods. They have a coop and a fenced run, but they do free-range in the yard much of the time.
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Post  Bec on 8/26/2010, 7:46 am

I, too, would love to have chickens. I was talking with DH about it this summer and he asked what I would do if a chicken got sick. I don't want to spent money on vets so I'll have to figure out the answer to that question before I decide anything - and who would take care of them whenever we're gone. In the meantime, I'll enjoy your posts and pictures - very much - and maybe some day. I think I need to live BESIDE a farm - where they do all the work and they're willing to share the benefits. I'd be glad to help them though - I just wouldn't have the responsibility. Very Happy
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Post  Jay Bird on 8/26/2010, 11:24 am

Check out ,, citychickens.com it is a great site jam packed with usefull info

When chickens get sick they die ! Hatch some more!

I have 32 laying hens various breeds
40 bantam hens
75 giunea's, I am giving away if anyone wants to come get them!

Have hatched out 40 or 50 chicks and either sold them or used them as replacements

Hawks are my worst enemy lost around 10 birds in 2 years
Lost 5 or more that just died for no apparent reason, sometimes they just do that!
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Post  Bec on 8/26/2010, 11:31 am

Great info, Jay Bird! And thanks for the encouragement. Hawks - hmmm. I'd have to definitely have the chickens in coops because we have 2 hawks that hang around here.
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Post  mcharles13 on 8/26/2010, 11:55 am

I have 10 chickens. 5 new hampshires and 5 barred rock.

I keep them in a 64sq foot tractor w/ wheels. I moved them every 2-3 days so they have fresh greens to eat. You can find a TON of info on www.backyardchickens.com They are very easy to take care of and keep healthy. Mine are only 16 wks old so i should start seeing egg production w/in the next 3 weeks.

The tractor is an A-frame type. This way they can peck around on the bottom and go up the ladder for shelter and egg laying. Very efficient use of space.

Here are some pics

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How many of you have chickens? 45589_429627717491_609237491_4855358_6064502_n
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Post  boffer on 8/26/2010, 12:07 pm

@Bec wrote:... he asked what I would do if a chicken got sick. I don't want to spent money on vets .....
I understand what you're deliberating about; we did the same thing. (This should give JayBird a chuckle..) We delayed getting chickens for two years as we procrastinated about end of life issues!

Chickens are livestock. They have a functional purpose to exist. They're not domesticated. Their antics and behavior can be cute and fun, but there's just not the emotional connection with them that we humans create other with animals.

All that being said, there's no way we could eat one of our girls! sfg smile
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Post  mcharles13 on 8/26/2010, 12:14 pm

Some have been successful with "domesticating" chickens. Depending on the breed you get, they can be very pleasant to have around. My daughters babied 2 since chicks. They knew us well and would come when called. They were most happy sitting in our laps. A co-worker of mine had a house chicken. The chicken ran around the house like any other family member. Only problem is you can't house break a chicken. The co-worker quickly grew tired of cleaning up ammonia smelling poop and put her outside. Others that are a little more crazy will actually buy diapers for their house chickens.

NEVER will you catch me doing that though. I grew up with them and understand these are functional animals. Even still when i'm working out in the yard i'll let them free range and i never have to worry about them going too far. They follow me around everywhere i go. If they get too far away they fly back to me. They don't seem interested in eating my plants they pretty much just scratch around in the dirt and eat bugs.
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Post  boffer on 8/26/2010, 12:44 pm

@mcharles13 wrote:Others that are a little more crazy will actually buy diapers for their house chickens.

Which is why I would rather talk about chickens here than on a chicken forum. There are some real lulu's on chicken forums. cuckoo
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Post  Retired Member 1 on 8/26/2010, 1:40 pm

I used to have chickens, ducks, and guineas when I lived out of town, but really got tired of feeding the varmints in the area. Even with putting them up each night, some would get taken during the day. Very frustrating.

If I were to get laying poultry here, it would be ducks. Domesticated ducks don't fly and don't scratch up the garden, so no need for a day coop. Some breeds lay as many if not more eggs a year than chickens, and they are also a lot more entertaining than chickens (but not as much as guineas). I really miss my ducks.
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Post  Aub on 8/26/2010, 1:42 pm

Diapers on a chicken!! I just potty trained my twins, I'm done with diapers!
How many chickens does a family need? Do they do better in big groups or would just a few be ok? We have cold winters, what do you do with them in the winter?
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Post  milaneyjane on 8/26/2010, 2:21 pm

Aub---I am with your sister---deathly afraid of birds, LOL! affraid Which means not a chance of a chicken being found at our house.
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Post  Bec on 8/26/2010, 2:33 pm

mcharles13,
Ahhh, what adorable chickens - and what a great coop!
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Post  Josh on 8/26/2010, 6:18 pm

I have some
How many of you have chickens? Chickens

I have one that lays a green egg!

I also have a pair of bantam chickens, sissy boy and sissy girl, this is as big as they get.
How many of you have chickens? Sissyboyandsissygirl2

How many of you have chickens? Sissyboyandsissygirl
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Post  Aub on 8/26/2010, 10:30 pm

I Love It!! Do you all have big coops or the chicken tractors? I think I would like a nice little A-Frame chicken tractor, with a fenced run. I don't think I would have too many issues with animals trying to get them. I just have to convince my husband that it would be ok!

One of the girls at my salon got baby chicks this past spring. Just the other day she lost all but one of them. She has no idea what happened to them. They went missing during the day. Hopefully they just went out for a walk an will be back, but it's unlikely.
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Post  mcharles13 on 8/27/2010, 10:06 am

Since i am not going to exceed 10 chickens, i use a tractor. It is loosely based on this design. www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=27127-a-classy-a-frame-tractor

I originally was going to make that exact one but once i got started i realized i could do whatever. I'm really pleased w/ this design.
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Post  boffer on 8/27/2010, 10:34 am

@Aub wrote: Do you all have big coops or the chicken tractors?
There's no kids to play in the backyard anymore, so we thought we'd use the grass for something else. This is my Porta-Potti with wings! It works great.

How many of you have chickens? 100_2010

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Post  Mom2Four on 8/27/2010, 10:40 am

We have chickens too. They hatched July 5th. It is a family adventure. We found a free coop on Craig's List, dissassembled it, and rebuilt it. $300 dollars later it is done. So much for free!

Here is a picture of the chicks AND the garden. There now, it belongs on this forum, right?
How many of you have chickens? Dsc_0015

And here's the almost-finished coop.

How many of you have chickens? After11
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Post  Retired Member 1 on 8/27/2010, 12:41 pm

Very nice looking coops Boffer and Mom4Four. I love the colours on yours, Boffer.
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Post  Jay Bird on 8/27/2010, 4:35 pm

FYI Green egg layers and blue and pink are generally the breed Americana, the eggs are proven to be lower in cholesteral (SP) and they look kinda like a hawk , my next purchase of chicks unless we hatch our own again will be exclusively the americana.
Why not hatch your own, in short you will get a % of roosters and since my LW wont allow me to butcher I end up with an excess or crowing birds.

Next barnyard animal for the Jay Bird is Pigs , a guy from my town posted on craigs list a bunch of piglets and is willing to trade for Guineas, YAHHHOO
I think I will start with two gilts work a deal for breeding and raise my own bacon ( if LW will allow me to butcher) side note is if done right lots of extra composte ingredients.
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Post  junequilt on 8/27/2010, 4:46 pm

Are you talking about composting pig slurry?
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Post  Aub on 8/27/2010, 5:39 pm

Where do you get your chickens? Do you wait until Farm & Fleet or TSC has them in the spring or do you order them online?
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Post  mcharles13 on 8/27/2010, 8:01 pm

i got mine from http://www.cacklehatchery.com/

I used the "city-town pullet special" That way it ensures you don't get any males as packing peanuts. Packing peanuts is when they send you extra chickens (usually unwanted males) for free to help keep the others "warm".

The chicks are shipped out at 1day old and usually arrive at 2-3 days old.

mike
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Post  sceleste54 on 8/27/2010, 9:49 pm

I try hard not to give in to envy.. I really do.... I would SO love to live out from town and be able to have a few chickens !! The town where I live recently had an incident. A lady and her children had apparently had 4 hens as pets for quite some time. They were so unobtrusive most of her neighbors didn't even know they were there. Then a sewer leak occured and OF COURSE IT HAD TO BE THE CHICKENS !! She petitioned the city to allow "City Chickens" did her homework and presented an excellent case. But in the end the opposition had more sigs on their petition and the chickens had to go.. I was so disappointed !! You guys are so fortunate to have your own.. you know what they eat, know how they are housed and that they are healthy. I contrast that with fear of egg recalls and contamination....
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