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who has chickens

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Re: who has chickens

Post  bnoles on 9/13/2013, 10:49 am

Beautiful birds and habitat SG! Those should be some very happy ladies. I just got my first eggs yesterday and what a thrill.


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Re: who has chickens

Post  batmap on 9/13/2013, 3:28 pm

Great pictures. Be sure they have something to roost on above-ground. Some can get spooked by loud sounds and will want to be high-up. Try not to skimp on sawdust on the floor and hay in the egg-laying nests. The more like a "chicken home" a nest feels to the hens, the more productive they can be. Otherwise, free-ranged hens will find tall grass to nest in.

During warm weather, good ventilation is important for keeping the hens cool while nesting. Regular cleaning is also needed to replace soiled sawdust/floor covering. Keeping the water outside the coop is important, due to health issues. Feed them outside as well to draw them out of the coop; bugs usually are not an issue, but do not feed them inside the coop.

For rainy/cold weather, a well-insulated nest does wonders for the hens' morale. There is a happy middle-ground between ventilation during summer and insulation during winter; that is what you want. Placement under shade trees helps both those issues all year long, but there is never too much hay. I am not sure why chickens love barns, but I suspect hay everywhere has something to do with it. We always found new nests in the barn upstairs between the new hay-bales if not in the field's uncut grass. Which means, regular mowing of any nearby fields helps free-ranging chickens pick your nests in the coop vs high-grass of the field. Also, snakes loved the barn for the same reason.

Proximity of food and water to the chicken coop should keep most of the chickens roosting in the coop if they have a barn option. Rooster's wake-up calls are awesome. Hinge-top roof above the nests helps with egg collection, due to amid-egg-laying hens have fewer "invasion" issues if they do not see you removing the eggs i.e. the eggs magically disappear.

Snakes may find a way in, so be prepared with shovel or shotgun. Dogs, skunks, foxes, hawks, owls, etc all love eggs and babies so be sure to stay frosty. If they are free-ranged, a small cage for raising chicks can help increase survivability. The coop should keep them secure and as comfortable as possible, but also keep out any predators.

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Re: who has chickens

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/20/2014, 7:49 pm

our 5 chicks are due in April Smile

been researching on what to feed them and wanted to ask what do you all feed your chickens?

pellets?

mesh?

whole grains?

your own mix?........recipe? please

from your garden?.....do you grow something just for your chickens?

free range?

do you sprout grain?

fodder?

fermented grain?

or a combination of ALL of the above  Very Happy 

thanks
rose

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Re: who has chickens

Post  littlejo on 1/20/2014, 8:59 pm

I have had quite a few chicks over the years. Due to the wild animals, I have to keep them penned up to keep them alive. The little chicks will need chick starter, which is a ground up pellet, for the growing vitamins, for several weeks. I keep pellets on hand so if I have no greenery or grass to give them I will have it. Chickens love clover, grass, freshley mowed or pulled. I give them the trimmings from the garden, stalks and leaves from broccoli, any thing except for tomato plants, they don't do tomato plants. I plant chard and kale, easy stuff to grow for them. They love oatmeal or grits(cooked) They also love corn. (stalks, cobs and kernals!) They will eat anything! I also bought a bag of grit to give them, I think this is ground oyster shell. Any worms, baby mice, bugs you can find. I don't have a schedule, I just feed what I have. If the eggs are soft shelled then give more grit/calcium.
If the egg shells are hard to crack, then you have hard water! When my first ones started laying I was carrying a few eggs to the house. I dropped one, about 3 ft. Well, it didn't break. They were so hard shelled, it was hard to break on edge of skillet. We had to get a water softener. I have bought no eggs for about 6 yrs.
Jo

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Re: who has chickens

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/20/2014, 10:11 pm

littlejo we have wild life too....critters....opossums, raccoons, hawks, owls and rats.....there for our chickens wont be able to free range unless we are out with them.....hubby is going to make their run and coop with metal hardwire cloth on the sides, tops and bottoms....


will oyster shell work for calcium and grit? or do we need to provide both? we looked at a big box store yesterday just to see what they had to offer....we found chick feed with medication, chicken scratch, oyster shells and dried meal worms....looked like the regular chicken feed was out.....we didn't see any organic feed there....we don't really have a close by feed store....but there is one about 20mins or so from us....there maybe one closer just have found one yet....but will be looking....I know that a local co-op sales organic chicken feed.....


we want to do organic as much as possible, but sometimes you just cant afford it....that's why growing our own is so important....eating GMO's is the biggest concern and its every where and in every thing.....

how soon do you introduce fresh veggies to your chicks?


I knew chickens love corn....we are going to grow sweet corn and painted mountain flour corn for us and to feed the chickens.....but I didn't know they would eat stalk and all of the corn....wow....


we also have a good worm farm going for castings and treats for the chickens

we don't worry to much about not having enough greens during spring and summer.....we are hoping to have a fall and over winter veggies for them...here is what we have planned for us and them  Very Happy 

stored pumpkins and squash along with dried herbs




swiss chard,, kale, kohlrabi, spinach, mache, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, beets, cilantro, parsley, collard greens, celery, lettuce, peas, fennel, parsnips, cabbage, bok choi, cauliflower and broccoli

anything in the list above that chickens don't normally like to eat? anything we left out?

we will also give them as much feed as they want too  Very Happy 

hugs
rose

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Re: who has chickens

Post  southern gardener on 1/20/2014, 11:20 pm

I hear ya on the critters. Something got all of our chickens AGAIN. 6th time. We've put out trail cameras, traps on and on, and still can't catch the varmit. We are going to have to reinforce our pens even tighter. I hate having all this property, and having to "pen in" our hens, but we will have to if we want chickens Sad

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Re: who has chickens

Post  littlejo on 1/20/2014, 11:44 pm

southern gardener, sorry about your chickens. If a lot of your chickens were gotten in 1 day, it was probably dogs. A regular wild animal will only kill what it needs to eat. A fox might get in the chicken yard of 20 chickens and only kill 1 or 2. Also, they will be eaten.
A pack of dogs, if they get in with 20 chickens, will kill all they can get to and won't eat them. Our first ones were killed by dogs. The only ones that lived got in the nests that were about 5 ft above ground. We just used chicken wire for our pen. We had to ditch about 2 ft and put the wire in the ground. We covered the top with chicken wire propped up in the center with those cheap metal fence posts. The hardest part was weaving wire to join the top and sides.
Jo

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Re: who has chickens

Post  Turan on 1/21/2014, 12:34 am

@FamilyGardening wrote:our 5 chicks are due in April Smile

been researching on what to feed them and wanted to ask what do you all feed your chickens?

We feed a non medicated chick or duck starter at first. As soon as they are up and running and pecking well we start dangling dandelion leaves from the top of the cage. Along with those greens make available a fine grit.

We have often relied upon the commercial lay pellets with added oyster shell. But we have also had reasonable success feeding only whole wheat and oyster shell plus all the free range. If you are feeding straight wheat it is useful to throw a bit of meat to them once a week. Chickens are not herbivores/vegetarians. Right now we feed a locally sourced grain mix (no corn) with camilina meal for protein and Fertrell Nutri-Balancer. They also get some sheep fat, kelp meal, anything they can find in yard and field. In the winter they crave green stuff like we all do. Sprouting grains would probably be a good idea but I am too lazy. They like a bit of nice hay to sort through.

We have 2 dogs so I guess that is why our chickens do ok running free. We do put them in at night though. Last week the coyotes killed a deer just outside our gate but bothered nothing in the yard.

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Re: who has chickens

Post  southern gardener on 1/21/2014, 2:18 am

@littlejo wrote:southern gardener, sorry about your chickens. If a lot of your chickens were gotten in 1 day, it was probably dogs. A regular wild animal will only kill what it needs to eat. A fox might get in the chicken yard of 20 chickens and only kill 1 or 2. Also, they will be eaten.
A pack of dogs, if they get in  with 20 chickens, will kill all they can get to and won't eat them. Our first ones were killed by dogs. The only ones that lived got in the nests that were about 5 ft above ground. We just used chicken wire for our pen. We had to ditch about 2 ft and put the wire in the ground. We covered the top with chicken wire propped up in the center with those cheap metal fence posts. The hardest part was weaving wire to join the top and sides.
Jo

Thank you for the condolences. Our property has 3,  6' tall fences around it. We think it was either coyotes or raccoons. One was fully eaten, the others were decapitated and buried. We don't have loose dogs in our area (other than coyotes, which are wild). NORMALLY a coyote would eat more than one chicken, that's why we are thinking raccoon. Our friend just had all of hers wiped out by raccoons, and the "kill scene" was just like ours Sad So maddening. They were laying so nicely and were really doing a great job on our compost pile, like in the Back to Eden film, which is what were attempting to do with the hens Sad we have a huge naval orange tree in the pen with the chickens, so it's just about impossible to cover the pen. The tree puts off AWESOME oranges too, so we really want to keep the tree. Looks like we're going to try and make a "run" for the girls. HATE having a big old property and having to coop up the girls, but we gotta keep them safe!!


Last edited by southern gardener on 1/21/2014, 2:46 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: who has chickens

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/21/2014, 2:31 am

oh SG my heart is heavy for you tonight....Im so sorry to hear about you and your neighbors chickens.....it must be so frustrating to have a big area for your hens to free range and then to lose them all like that....  Sad  Sad 

we are on a city lot that's about 1/4 th of an acre....the back has a six foot fence as well...but that doesn't stop the opossums and raccoons....wants its dark out they are over the fence  Mad the rats come out at dusk....before its dark....in the summer time when its light out until about 10pm or so...they are out walking the fence at 7pm  Shocked 
its crazy!

again so sorry!

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rose

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Re: who has chickens

Post  southern gardener on 1/21/2014, 2:44 am

thank you Rose. Yes, it's very disheartening for sure. We bought that cute little hen house to put IN the coop to keep them safe at night. The bodies were all over the outside of the henhouse, so not sure if they killed them early in the am when they were already out for the day, or if they went in and got them, but it seems like there would have been feathers all over the henhouse, which there weren't. Just wish we could keep all the girls safe! Back to the drawing board, and new chicks next month........

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Re: who has chickens

Post  Turan on 1/21/2014, 12:06 pm

O, SG, so sorry. That is such an awful scene to wake up to.
Racoons are the hardest predator I have dealt with. They are so smart and have such dexterity with their hands and climb and can squeeze through amazingly small places. I have heard that a hot wire around the top and bottom of the run fence including the coop is a good deterrent. Also latches that are not easy to manipulate.
Our chickens are only free range during the day. Since we got adamant about that we have not lost chickens to predators. Also our old dog took a vendetta against racoons and killed several. That leaves skunks and foxes and neighbor dogs and they stay away during the day.

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Re: who has chickens

Post  southern gardener on 1/21/2014, 12:40 pm

@Turan wrote:O, SG, so sorry.  That is such an awful scene to wake up to.
Racoons are the hardest predator I have dealt with.  They are so smart and have such dexterity with their hands and climb and can squeeze through amazingly small places.  I have heard that a hot wire around the top and bottom of the run fence including the coop is a good deterrent.  Also latches that are not easy to manipulate.  
Our chickens are only free range during the day.  Since we got adamant about that we have not lost chickens to predators.   Also our old dog took a vendetta against racoons and killed several.  That leaves skunks and foxes and neighbor dogs and they stay away during the day.

Yes, we are finding they are hard to keep out. our chicken coop itself is big about 25x25?? with a 6' fence around it with a big naval orange tree in it. We put in a hen house for them to stay in at night, but we don't always remember to close it up at night. We are just going to have to come up with a better plan for sure. We are building a chicken "run" to attach to their house, and access to our compost piles. Such a shame to have to shelter the chickens when we have such a large property, but gotta do whacha gotta do!! I wish our dog would take a Vendetta! she's so old, she just lets everything do what they want! The younger one stays in at night, don't want to coyotes to get him too!! thanks Turan!!

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Re: who has chickens

Post  boffer on 1/21/2014, 12:53 pm

@southern gardener wrote:...We put in a hen house for them to stay in at night, but we don't always remember to close it up at night. We are just going to have to come up with a better plan for sure...

Have you considered automatic pop door openers?  I was going to go that route, but  I haven't had any predator problems.

http://www.chickendoors.com/products.htm

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Re: who has chickens

Post  southern gardener on 1/21/2014, 1:23 pm

@boffer wrote:
@southern gardener wrote:...We put in a hen house for them to stay in at night, but we don't always remember to close it up at night. We are just going to have to come up with a better plan for sure...

Have you considered automatic pop door openers?  I was going to go that route, but  I haven't had any predator problems.

http://www.chickendoors.com/products.htm

that's pretty slick!!! i don't know if hubby is gonna like the price tag!! we'd have to get the solar unit too, we don't have elec on that part of our yard. TY Boffer, I'm gonna show it to the hubs Smile

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Re: who has chickens

Post  Turan on 1/21/2014, 1:43 pm

SG, what do you mean by coop vs hen house vs run?
To me a coop is a hen house where the hens lay and have a roost. Ours is 8x12 and has room for feed storage and they can loiter in there when it is very cold. It has a small door that goes into the run. The run has a 5' fence that is 20x 30 (I think) and includes several trees and shrubs. The fence has an electric wire at the top which keeps animals from climbing in and horses from leaning over and chickens from flying out. In the late morning we open another small door that lets the chickens out to the rest of our property (except the garden because they love to eat my seedlings and rearrange things). At night we close them in the chicken coop still with access to the run (unless the weather is very bad).

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Re: who has chickens

Post  bnoles on 1/21/2014, 4:08 pm

It would take nothing short of a Grizzly Bear to get my girls.  This thing is covered completely with 1/2 inch hardware cloth, even the floor, so nothing can dig under.

I know it is probably not practical for a large scale, but for a small urban setting, it is perfect!


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Re: who has chickens

Post  southern gardener on 1/21/2014, 5:08 pm

sorry for the confusion guys!! here's a pic of our set up. Welp, maybe not? I can't do a pic for some reason, when I click on the "host an image" button, nothing happens.
Anyway we have a 25x25 chicken pen with a big orange tree in it. It's surrounded by 6' chain link. in the pen, is a small 4x4 "hen house" with roosts, nests etc. It has two small doors. Whatever kills our girls climbs over the fence or climbs under, not sure which. We are going to move the small henhouse outside of the 25x25 pen and cut an opening into the bigger area, and put a covered run for them to be during the day. Sorry for the confusion. I wish I could post a pic Sad



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Re: who has chickens

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/21/2014, 5:39 pm

@bnoles wrote:It would take nothing short of a Grizzly Bear to get my girls.  This thing is covered completely with 1/2 inch hardware cloth, even the floor, so nothing can dig under.

I know it is probably not practical for a large scale, but for a small urban setting, it is perfect!



thank you for the picture....this is very similar to what we want to do....we are going to go a tad bit bigger by adding on 2 4x6 run on each side of a 4x4 raised house....

hubby wanted me to ask you for the dimensions of your coop and house and how many chickens can roost in yours?....also what size pipe did you use for what looks like a feeder?.....we too want to do the same thing  Very Happy 

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rose

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Re: who has chickens

Post  bnoles on 1/21/2014, 6:42 pm

@FamilyGardening wrote:
@bnoles wrote:It would take nothing short of a Grizzly Bear to get my girls.  This thing is covered completely with 1/2 inch hardware cloth, even the floor, so nothing can dig under.

I know it is probably not practical for a large scale, but for a small urban setting, it is perfect!



thank you for the picture....this is very similar to what we want to do....we are going to go a tad bit bigger by adding on 2 4x6 run on each side of a 4x4 raised house....

hubby wanted me to ask you for the dimensions of your coop and house and how many chickens can roost in yours?....also what size pipe did you use for what looks like a feeder?.....we too want to do the same thing  Very Happy 

hugs
rose

Hi Rose, mine is only an 8'X4' foot print and stands 6' tall. The coop is 4'X4' and is 3' tall standing 3' off the ground. The feeder pipe is 4" PVC and works really really well. Since this picture, I moved the feeder to the outside of the run so I did not have to go inside to fill it and get my shoes all messy. I have 3 hens and they have more than enough room. According to calculations, I can house up to 4 safely and comfortably. If you need any more info just give me a shout.

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Re: who has chickens

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/21/2014, 11:26 pm

Bob thank you so much!

if you have a picture of the inside of the 4x4 house we would love to see that too  Very Happy 
how much grain fits into the feeder pipe?

thanks again
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rose

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Re: who has chickens

Post  bnoles on 1/22/2014, 6:35 am

@FamilyGardening wrote:Bob thank you so much!

if you have a picture of the inside of the 4x4 house we would love to see that too  Very Happy 
how much grain fits into the feeder pipe?

thanks again
hugs
rose

My feeder tube holds enough mash to feed 3 birds for about 7-10 days depending on how much I feed them from kitchen scraps.  I don't have a picture of the inside coop, but will try to get you one when the weather warms up a bit.


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Re: who has chickens

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/23/2014, 7:44 pm

thanks Bob.....what pretty girls you have there.....what kind are they?

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Re: who has chickens

Post  bnoles on 1/24/2014, 8:24 am

@FamilyGardening wrote:thanks Bob.....what pretty girls you have there.....what kind are they?

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rose

Thank you Rose, they are Buff Orpingtons. That picture is about 6 months old and they have full cones now. Very good birds and lots of eggs.

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Re: who has chickens

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/24/2014, 1:13 pm

HI Bob  Very Happy (pictures are from Meyers Hatchery)

a Buff Orpington is the chicken I picked out




my husband picked a Buff Brahma



our 13 year old daughter pick a Barnevelder




our 7 year old picked a Barred Rock



and we all decided together to get a Black Australorp



we cant wait! it was hard to only pick out 5, but that's all we are allowed here in the city limits....we are thankful they change the law here and we are allowed to even have 5 of them  sunny 

how many eggs per week do your ladies give you? and are they about the size of a large store bought egg? or bigger?

did you get them as day old chicks?

I noticed the woodchips in the coop......do you like using the woodchips? we are wanting to us them as well.....are the woodchips just in the run part of the coop or do you also use them inside of their house? and are you using the deep layer concept? as we have been reading about and are also thinking of trying this method

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rose

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