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How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

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How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  walshevak on 11/21/2011, 4:58 pm

As a complement to SFGing, my son and I are looking at raising chickens and/or rabbits. Zoning allows for it on a small scale on the 1/2 acre property. Meat, eggs, and composting are the goals, but we have no idea what the pitfalls of our ideas may entail. Seven people are usually at the dinner table. Anybody got any words of wisdom?

Kay

Edit: We are in zone 8a and it can get over 100* during the summer, but we've got a wooded grotto that can be utilized/

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  boffer on 11/21/2011, 6:26 pm

Saving money, going organic, and teaching children responsibility are reasons to get chickens.
If organic is important, you will obviously save quite a bit more money than over non-organic. If organic is not important, I don't think you save enough money on eggs or meat to make it worthwhile.

I thought chicken tractors were a great idea, so I made a nice one. But, I wouldn't do a chicken tractor again; I would have a permanent coop and outdoor run, because:
1. Chickens have been pooping on my backyard for two years and I haven't noticed any indication of their fertilization, so I broke down this fall and fertilized the lawn myself.
2. Chickens dig bigger holes in my lawn than my dogs do.
3. When I move the tractor, the dogs try to eat the poop in the grass from where they were moved from. I understand this to be typical behavior for dogs; it's nearly impossible to poopy scoop all the poop out of the grass.

We got 6 barred rocks because of their temperament; the disadvantage is we can't tell them apart. There's just two of us, and we give eggs away once or twice a month when they start to accumulate.

Lots of information to be had here: http://www.backyardchickens.com/
Caution: some of the forum members are as chicken dance as the birds!

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/21/2011, 7:05 pm

Lol boffer. Love your last comment about the crazy!

Actually pretty much agree with everything you said haha!
Tractors are nice that you can move them easily if need be. I did one, and like boffer wouldn't do another. I just don't have any reason to. If I gotta move any coop, I move it with the tractor. Not everyone or most have that luxury.
If organic is important, yes you will save a lot of money.
At first none of us thought the eggs tasted any different or better. Now all of us agree if we go out or have eggs some place else, our eggs or fresh eggs taste much, much better! Fresh, farm raised chicken is a tad different as far as texture and a little bit on taste. As bad as it my sound to some, I love eating our own chicken. Its another thing you will get accustomed to and store bought will not be good to you anymore.
Chickens are really simple, for the most part. Feed em, water em, and give em shelter. If you have critters in your area, you may have to get creative on protecting your birds. I can say, we use radios in our barn that seems to work extremely well at keeping things out. Our chickens prefered country music, but my daughter has switched to hip hop/dance ( I guess, I don't know what its called) so they are getting cultured.
We eat a lot of eggs. Family of 5. Chickens lay an egg about every other day, give or take. I have some that lay almost everyday. Any way, figure if you have 6 chickens you will theoretically get 4-5 eggs a day. We got a lot of birds. 18 are our so called layers. We keep a small silkie rooster with our layers to make him feel important and the girls feel protected. He is to small to mate them though...
We keep a lot more chickens that are just for breeding. We sell those chicks and eggs, or I should say my kids do to support their 4-h projects. Depending on how motivated they and the chickens are at any one time, they can make a fair amount of change to cover the costs which is kind of the point of their projects.
I could go on and on about chickens. I love having them. They are pretty entertaining and just nice to have around.
We got all kinds of fowl around here...
But yeah, check out that site boffer posted. Its a great resource.

I posted this a while back, look for my post and pics about half way down the page.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3897p30-how-many-of-you-have-chickens

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  southern gardener on 11/21/2011, 7:21 pm

we have a few hens too. I don't know if we save any money over store bought, but the eggs are soooo good! the white leghorns definitely are our best layers. We usually get an egg a day from them, then the rhode island reds, the other hens are moochers! LOL It's so good for the kids to see where eggs "really" come from. Have fun with whatever your decide!

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/21/2011, 7:27 pm

It's so good for the kids to see where eggs "really" come from.
Yes it is, cause its amazing and somewhat scary at how many actually don't...or their parents for that matter.

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  Lavender Debs on 11/22/2011, 3:46 am

I put one of my adult sons in charge of Easter baskets this year and recieved a plain cardboard box that went peep peep peep. The 4 black fuzz balls have morphed into hens. NO WAY are my eggs less expensive but they are yummy. Living in town I cannot let them roam. Shelter for my girls was crazy expensive. Both the run and the house had to be bomb proof. We want to keep the hens in and the raccoons, rats, cats, dogs and hawks out. Housing also has to look and smell nice in the burbs. It is hard to believe but by the time the house (custom built with a down stairs area for chicks or fresh air for the girls if we have to go away for a couple of nights) and covered run were built the guys had sunk about $2,000 into the project. I am sure it could have been done for less money. But it had to look nice and be safe. We have added clear roof panels over the run because of all the rain we get. Chickens can make their yard turn into a mud pit once they dig out the vegetation.

I use quite a bit of straw, both in the house and in the run. I like to keep them clean and I like to keep their feet as clean as possible. Their muddy foot prints end up on the eggs. Straw is about $8.00 a bail. Ray built a box that holds straw with a door that lets him easily set the bail in the box and another that lets me remove a flake at a time. One of our rain barrels sits on top of the box. I'm not sure what the box cost, it is mostly 2x4s, plywood and hardware. Straw, chicken poo and scraps that were not eaten have to be cleaned and disposed of. I have a compost bin and two small compost tumblers. Even composted, straw makes weeds that get introduced into your garden.

Because they cannot graze I give the girls kitchen scraps and scratch in the AM (regular scratch in my town is about $7.00 for a 25 lb bag, organic scratch is an unbelievable $54.00 for 50 lbs when I can get it. I also keep a small feeder in the hen house full of pellets for layers which is not organic. My place is so small I have not yet figured out how to raise organic feed for my girls. A friend tells me that corn is not the best food for hens but is what the industry sells.

I have a chicken tractor. I got the idea from Patty Marino (I know I messed up the spelling). All of my new SFG's are 4x8. The tractor fits snugly over my SFG's. Right now I have one garden dedicated to the tractor. The MM from my potted tomatoes and vines has been dumped into that garden. The girls till it up. I am never sure if I should count new SFGs as part of the chicken expence. The tractor is hardware, 1x2s and chick wire. Probably less than $50 but I wouldn’t leave them in it over night.

When we lived in the mountains we had rabbits. We are talking about adding them to the toy box next spring. We have used wire hutches that we hung in three sided wooden huts. They need protection from direct sun, wind and rain. In an all wire hutch they also need protection from extreme cold because they cannot burrow to protect themselves from cold. They should get exercise of some sort. They love to dig if given the chance. A harness and leash are nice for them. Because they pee, the poo pile under the hutches can get rank. I personally think that rabbit poo breaks down in the compost pile faster if there are worms in the pile under the hutch. Worms break the pellets down into crumbles that seem to compost better than raw pellets. In addition to rabbit chow and water, rabbits like alfalfa, greens and black berry vines with leaves (good tonic for momma rabbit). You need nesting boxes if you are breading meat bunnies. Rabbits need something to chew to keep their teeth in good condition. This is the reason I like all wire hutches. Wood hutches become chew toys. Wire hutches can be sanitized with a propane torch and a wire brush. If you raise bunnies for meat instead of pets or fir, you need to be ready to butcher and have a way to dispose of the guts (amazing how much a small rabbit has).

Getting started can be expensive. I doubt we will ever recoup our cost. We can only have 4 hens in town. We still have family in the mountains who will take our girls to the country to retire when they start slowing down egg production. You need a plan to replace older hens with productive hens.

I want you to know up front the down side because the upside is great. But too many people give up on their birds because of rats, daily work, expense and piles and piles of poo. They are living souls that deserve the best care we can give them. They give back generously. Just be smart going in.

Debs....and I didn't even mention what happens to your vacations.

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How about ducks?

Post  quiltbea on 11/22/2011, 8:34 pm

I was contemplating getting chickens or ducks and finally settled for ducks. Alas, my son who owns this property, wouldn't hear of it. I read lots and got on a duck forum and was so convinced that was the way to go for healthy eggs since there are productive breeds of egg layers. They also keep down the slug population. The housing situation isn't as tough as with hens. They just need about 3 sq feet of space for each duck and some fencing to keep out wild critters. They are more adaptable to the cold and long winters of Maine where I reside. Too bad my son has other ideas.

Do any of you out there enjoy raising egg-laying ducks?

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/22/2011, 8:55 pm

QB, we have some ducks. I wasn't too crazy about the idea of getting them at first, but now I have to admit, I love having them. They are pretty incredible creatures if you ask me. Extremely hardy. Super easy to care for and just tons of personality. I have 2 more pairs of Call Ducks coming from http://holderreadfarm.com/index.htm
at the end of the month/first of Dec. Ducks are a great! You need to let your son know "momma aint happy"!
I can't eat duck eggs for some reason. I don't know why. They are just incredibly rich and make me feel sick Embarassed but they are great for baking!

Here are Frankie and Daisy:
"would ya look at the size of that pond"

"and we get stuck with this"



"you have got to be kidding me"

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  quiltbea on 11/22/2011, 9:14 pm

nRooster, Are yours Roens, the ones that look like Wild Mallards but don't fly? I love their color patterns.

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/22/2011, 9:42 pm

They are Grey Call ducks. They are really pretty. Of course the males have all the outstanding colors, but after a while you really come to appreciate the females and their color patterns and qualities too. To me the females don't get the recognition they deserve.
In a nutshell they are miniature Mallards.
They just got done molting, so right now they look magnificent.
Calls originated way back when hunters used them as decoys. They where small enough to put in their coat pockets. They where placed in the water and "called" in the big boys!

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  walshevak on 11/22/2011, 10:17 pm

My daughter raises chickens for eggs and also has some turkeys and ducks. She has an incredible duck story. Momma mallard had 8 ducklings and my daughter and her husband decided that was just too many with all the others. So, they gave momma and ducklings to a friend with a small lake with an island in the middle that would help protect from preditors. They dropped off momma and family late one afternoon in and set her up with nesting box, food - the whole thing. The next morning the friend called. All the ducks were gone. No signs of them anywhere. 4 or 5 days later my daughter found the duck family in the their yard. That momma duck and her to young to fly ducklings has WALKED 3/4 of a mile back home. Son in law refused to give them up again.

I've heard of homing pigeons, but homing ducks???

Kay

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  janezee on 11/22/2011, 11:56 pm

@quiltbea wrote:I was contemplating getting chickens or ducks and finally settled for ducks. Alas, my son who owns this property, wouldn't hear of it..... Too bad my son has other ideas.

Do any of you out there enjoy raising egg-laying ducks?
I'm with you, Bea. I looked at ducks after I read so much about chickens. So much less work, money and noise, and they eat slugs!!!! What's not to love?
Landlord issues have slowed me down, too. But it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to get a "Go ahead." Shocked Very Happy

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  llama momma on 11/23/2011, 9:34 am

Very much enjoying the info on chickens and ducks, pros and cons. Especially interesting that duck eggs can be too rich for some and chicken tractors perhaps not the best choice afterall... I only want 6 chickens, found the most gorgeous little eye-pleasing Victorian house style coop with a permanent run. The biggest thing stopping me is getting over the emotional concept of eventually eating what will certainly become pets... so the question is, if I kept them beyond their egg production years, how long can chickens live? Initially planning 3 leghorns and three rhode island reds.

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  Lavender Debs on 11/23/2011, 10:10 am

@llama momma wrote:snip.....chicken tractors perhaps not the best choice afterall... if I kept them beyond their egg production years, how long can chickens live? ...


My hens did not have un productive years. At about 3ish they stopped laying every day but the eggs they did lay were larger, often double yoked. You do not have to eat your pet (what a concept!). I am a city girl so my hens have a retirement program at my nephews place. I can only have 4 hens at any time. We are rolling in the eggs (7 month old hens).

I know I was feeling wordy when I wrote, but honestly, my hens LOVE their tractor. We built a permanent run for them but on a sunny day there is nowhere else they would rather be than the tractor. Mine fits snugly over my 4x8 SFG's. Every year one box is dedicated to the tractor. They eat up the slugs, bugs and grubs that have taken residence in a SFG.

There is a pic of my tractor on my web page, the post isn't about the tractor and it was a very dreary day so it looks yucky, but you can get the idea if you are interested. The tractor is in the 3rd and 5th picture. What you cannot see is that under the tarp (wish I chose a different color) there is a perch.

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Debs......Keep learning

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  boffer on 11/23/2011, 12:45 pm

@llama momma wrote: The biggest thing stopping me is getting over the emotional concept of eventually eating what will certainly become pets... so the question is, if I kept them beyond their egg production years, how long can chickens live?

End of life issues slowed us up a couple years in the decision making process. Finally, we punted-the decision was put on the back burner, and we got chicks. There's no way my chickens are ending up on my dinner table. I would end up too dead to accept the divorce papers. I keep bugging my neighbor to get chickens, then he can eat mine, and I can eat his. But that hasn't happened yet.

Depending on breed, it's my understanding they can live 8-10 years. We got our chicks from a very small, independent feed store, and I think we'll be able to give them to the owner when it's time.

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/23/2011, 12:53 pm

Another option for "end of life" is your local raptor center if you have one. They almost always need food and are generally happy to... :?:
its a natural process for a worthy cause. This can also be an option for your birds that pass...

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  plantoid on 11/23/2011, 5:31 pm

@llama momma wrote:Very much enjoying the info on chickens and ducks, pros and cons. Especially interesting that duck eggs can be too rich for some and chicken tractors perhaps not the best choice afterall... I only want 6 chickens, found the most gorgeous little eye-pleasing Victorian house style coop with a permanent run. The biggest thing stopping me is getting over the emotional concept of eventually eating what will certainly become pets... so the question is, if I kept them beyond their egg production years, how long can chickens live? Initially planning 3 leghorns and three rhode island reds.

See if this helps

The horse and mule live 30 years, and know nothing of Wine and Beers . . .

The goat and sheep at 20 die, and never taste of Scotch and Rye;
The cow drinks water by the ton, and at 18 is mostly done.
The dog at 15 cashes in , without the aid of Rum and Gin;
The cat in milk and water soaks, and then in 12 short years he croaks.
The modest, sober, bone-dry hen, lays eggs for nogs, then dies at 10.
All animals are strictly dry; they sinless live and swiftly die. But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men, survive for three score years and ten. But some of us the mighty few, stay pickled till we're 92


Last edited by plantoid on 11/23/2011, 5:32 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : missing letter)

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  janezee on 11/23/2011, 6:53 pm



The horse and mule live 30 years, and know nothing of Wine and Beers . . .

The goat and sheep at 20 die, and never taste of Scotch and Rye;
The cow drinks water by the ton, and at 18 is mostly done.
The dog at 15 cashes in , without the aid of Rum and Gin;
The cat in milk and water soaks, and then in 12 short years he croaks.
The modest, sober, bone-dry hen, lays eggs for nogs, then dies at 10.
All animals are strictly dry; they sinless live and swiftly die. But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men, survive for three score years and ten. But some of us the mighty few, stay pickled till we're 92
[/quote]

Gotta love that for Thanksgiving, when we break out the first egg nog! Mum's 82! Thanks!
j

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Re: How many out there raise rabbits and chickens?

Post  camprn on 11/23/2011, 7:12 pm

Love the poem/wisdom. Thanks!! What a Face

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