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Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

Last post Fri, May 20 2011 10:29 AM by grame. 31 replies.
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  • Mon, Jun 25 2007 9:43 PM

    Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     I have been trying to research chickens, well I have been researching chickens.  Anyway there are so many different type, kinds, flavors and brands...my head is spinning.  So I am asking for suggestions and offer our criteria.  We know we want at least 6 laying hens.  They will be yard birds, about 3/4 of an acre to wander in.  We are looking more for eggs than meat.  We will provide good feed, water and housing.  We would like large eggs.  When do we order the chicks(what time of year).  How long before they start producing eggs.  How many eggs can we expect from 6 hens.  It is extremely hot here in the summer do we offer cooling accomodations for them to lay.  We have many hawks in the area should we provide a covered area for them to feed and wander.  Colored eggs are more coveted, are these types of laying hens harder to raise.

    More to come I am sure and thanks in advance for your help.  : ) 

  • Mon, Jun 25 2007 11:54 PM In reply to

    • I'm Pam
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    • Joined on Sun, Jun 24 2007
    • Posts 2

    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     I live in Mich and we have chickens. we hardly ever butcher them just have them for eggs. Our chickens have 20 acres to run in but spend most of their time in front of the deck. waiting for bread. Their favorite food is watermellon rind. but we do feed them cracked corn. I can't tell you what kind they are we have some red ones and several beautiful black hens. We have 4 cochens that lay the blue eggs. The other ones all lay brown. I think that is because of what they eat and not the breed. Check out any local flea markets. That is where we got our cochens. Our hens each lay an egg a day, but slow down when it is real hot and in the winter when cold. DH says its not so much the cold that stops them from laying but the shorter amount of sunlight. You will need some kind of coop with nests for them to lay in and to roost at night otherwise you'll find eggs in strange places. If you want to raise babies you only need 1 rooster for ever 7 or so hens. None of our hens even act like they want to sit on a nest of eggs so we bought a small incubator and hatched chickens for the first time this spring. I know I don't have any technical info for you  but they are fun to watch so good luck and have fun with them!  I don't know if it will work but I will try and post a picture of one of the hens cooling off on the AC. Well sorry I guess I don't know how to post a pic.

    Pam 

  • Tue, Jun 26 2007 12:12 AM In reply to

    • Pat
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    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
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    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     Brianschef, it's best to order chicks in early spring so they can mature enough to start laying before fall, when production falls off naturally. If you wait much longer, you'll be feeding chickens for months with very little, if any, return. How soon they start to lay depends on the breed. A good chicken catalog (Murray McMurray Hatcheries is one) will tell you a lot about different breeds, also about egg size and whether the breed is used mostly for eggs or meat. Hens lay, on average, an egg every other day. Some lay more, some lay less. Hens kept in commercial egg farms lay every day, or almost every day, but they're fed high protein, specially formulated feed. If you let yours loose in 3/4 acre, they'll be happy, get lots of natural protein and other nutrients and lay pretty well.

    Keep your chickens as comfortable as possible. I have a friend who puts a fan in his hen house when it gets hot. To keep them safe from hawks, you'll have to keep them enclosed in a chicken yard (as opposed to letting them run free.) The yard should be topped with chicken wire, or made narrow with barriers at intervals so a hawk can't swoop in and out of it.

    Araucanas lay colored eggs and they're just as easy to raise as any other chicken, so if that's what you want, go for it.

    There are others here who have chickens, most of my advice is from memory, so maybe they'll help out.  

     

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  • Tue, Jun 26 2007 12:25 AM In reply to

    • helen
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    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
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    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     I'm glad you asked this, I've been researching chickens too! I have young children, so we'll probably choose a smaller variety - bantams - so that the kids won't be frightened of them. Large chickens can be very strong, apparently. I like Wyandottes the best so far, though the Silkies are cute and cuddly looking.

     We will be buying a 'chook tractor' to house ours in, to protect them from our dog, cats and snakes. Its a sort of mesh pen with a small coop at one end, that you can easily move aruond the garden. That stops them from digging up the veggies too!

     
    The don't seem as low-maintenance as I'd hoped, but the kids are old enough to help out now.

     
    Helen
     

  • Tue, Jun 26 2007 7:11 AM In reply to

    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     Thanks everyone!  I love the chook tractor idea and we can build one ourselves, sent the "idea plans" to hubby at work this morning.  : )  Pat I forgot you knew so much about chickens, and the blue eggs sound perfect, we are also looking at brown eggs.  I already have an outlet for selling them but probably wont get started till next spring.  We want to get thru one summer here first to see what we might need according to the weather, so far it is extremely hot.  I like the idea of providing a fan for cooling, we do that also for our dogs and cats in the car(battery operated).  We are also considering the fact that we have dogs and want the chickens to free range as much as possible, with the chook tractor that looks very feasible.  : )

    IIf we do stay here for the full 5 years maybe I can raise a couple for meat.  If we dont go overseas they chickens will move with us across country.  : ) 

    Oh yes and thanks for the cataloug recommendation, never thought about a hatchery via the post, thought we woudl have to order from the local 4H groups.  This will give us a better variety.  

  • Tue, Jun 26 2007 10:43 AM In reply to

    • Pat
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    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     Pam, to add a picture, look at the top of the text box when you're answering a post. There should be "Compose," then "Options." Click on "Options" and the the "file attachment." You can upload images from there.

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  • Tue, Jun 26 2007 10:47 AM In reply to

    • Pat
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    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     Hatcheries are great sources of information as well as chicks. The one I gave you is the one I used most of the time and always had good luck with their chicks. I used to read their catalogs over and over. If nothing else, write and ask for a catalog right now. That way, you'll have plenty of time to decide what you want to do.

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  • Tue, Jun 26 2007 12:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     Cataloug ordered, chook tractor idea in place, and we are going to try to somewhat fence an area off to keep the dogs from dropping their waste in the area.  Should we let it grown and turn to seed or should we still treat it as lawn? 

  • Tue, Jun 26 2007 1:21 PM In reply to

    • Pat
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    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

    Brianschef:

     Cataloug ordered, chook tractor idea in place, and we are going to try to somewhat fence an area off to keep the dogs from dropping their waste in the area.  Should we let it grown and turn to seed or should we still treat it as lawn? 

     

    It might depend on the type of grass, but if it doesn't grow too high, I'd let it go to seed. It probably won't matter that much in the long run whichever way you do it, though.

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  • Tue, Jun 26 2007 2:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Chickens, chickens, who has chickens?

     As my neice would say....kuhl!  ; )

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