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Marchegiana
Jan 31, 2006

. . . Bitch.

Just make sure you read the entire code, not just what's on the backyard chickens website (they should have the link to the code there for you). Their website lists where I live (Henrico County, VA) as allowing chickens. The section of code they quoted does seem to indicate that chickens are allowed, but only if they "observe the distance requirements of Section 24-10", which states that a coop has to be 400 feet from the property line. That means you'd have to own over 4 acres to have chickens.

The local grassroots pro-chicken group put together a nifty slideshow to promote chickens, which also shows how ridiculous our current law is. Those of you who are interested can see it here: http://www.slideshare.net/CampusBookstore/chickunz-v6

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notsoape
Jul 19, 2009

WWDD?


Have any of you who keep chickens ever considered keeping rabbits for meat? (I have both )

King Skinny Pimp
Oct 24, 2004

by T. Finn


notsoape posted:

Have any of you who keep chickens ever considered keeping rabbits for meat? (I have both )

I am going to be keeping both next year! Moving onto some land where we can keep animals later this summer, then going to spend the fall/winter getting things ready for planting and building a hutch and a coop, and full on farmer mode in the spring.

This thread has me all excited for next year. Fresh eggs are the best ever.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



notsoape posted:

Have any of you who keep chickens ever considered keeping rabbits for meat? (I have both )

Yes. I have too much going on right now to set up meat rabbits. The next house we get is going to have more land so I'll probably do it then.

Zombie Zero
Apr 15, 2011

booooooobsss... err, braaaainnnnsssss!!!

You chicken keepers could potentially be sitting on a gold mine
http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...40&pagenumber=1

Beliskner
Aug 25, 2006

I get superSWOLE on superSHAKES.


You guys talking about keeping roosters...I always assumed that if you had a rooster you kept it apart from the hens most of the time? And only let him in with them when it was time to make some more chickens.

Do you just eat the fertilized chicken eggs like regular ones? One time I cracked a store-bought egg and a freakin 1/4 inch fetus fell out with blood vessels all running through the yolk and gently caress that sneaky ninja rooster.

I guess if the egg is super fresh or refrigerated immediately you can't even tell the difference, or what?

LankyIndjun
Jul 11, 2002
There is nothing in this world more hapless, irresponsible, and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we'd be into that rotten stuff soon enough.

notsoape posted:

Have any of you who keep chickens ever considered keeping rabbits for meat? (I have both )

I assisted in some rabbit keeping last year - it went really well. They've been harvested, but still remain uneaten...


WrathofKhan posted:

This past spring, we also raised a few birds for meat, but that was an experiment I don't think I'll repeat.

How come? Was it too gruesome, or less economical?

WrathofKhan
Jun 4, 2011


If you have a rooster, he's usually kept in with the whole flock. Chickens are pretty stupid, and if you take a bird away from the flock for awhile, when they come back the flock treats them like a stranger, so the rooster would have to reassert his place in the flock again. Also, only letting the rooster in occasionally wouldn't assure you of infertile eggs, since rooster sperm can live inside a hen for up to two weeks after mating.

The good thing is that eggs have to be kept warm for a couple of days before they start to develop, and if you put them in the fridge the embryo doesn't start developing, and dies after a few days. So even if you have a rooster, you should be ok if the eggs are collected daily. If you are extra paranoid, or aren't sure how old an egg is, you can also candle the egg, which involves holding the egg up to a bright light in a dark room, so you can see through the shell. If its clear, you know that you aren't in for an unpleasant surprise when you crack open the egg. As a side note, this is why a lot of old cook books tell you to crack the eggs in a saucer first, you're supposed to be checking for embryos and spoiled eggs.

Marchegiana: If you haven't already done it, I'll be glad to email the mods with that information. They try really hard to keep it accurate, but it was done by volunteers, and sometimes errors slip through.

This past fall, I raised six Cornish Cross meat birds. This is the hybrid that has dominated the chicken market since the 1950s. If you're an American, odds are that this is the only type of chicken you've ever eaten. They're kind of interesting, as a monument to what can be done with selective breeding. Basically, they're bred to gain as much weight as possible, as rapidly as possible, so that they reach butchering size at around nine weeks. A 'normal' chicken reaches butchering weight at around 16-18 weeks, which is the age most breeds reach their adult size and finish puberty. They also have more breast meat than a 'normal' chicken. They are also dumb. And lazy. And ugly. Y'know what I said about chickens not smelling? They had to be cleaned up after daily, or they stunk. They would lay in their own poo poo. A lot of people don't mind them, but I thought they were disgusting. That said, once they had joined the choir invisible, they best tasting chicken that I've ever eaten. Being able to walk around (occasionally) and get (some) exercise along with a better and more varied diet seemed to agree with them.
Butchering wasn't really that bad. Emotionally, the only thing that bothered me was, oddly, how easy it was. It seemed like it should have been *harder* somehow, to turn a living thing into meat. Other than obscure moral qualms, it didn't really bug me.
I might consider trying it again eventually, but using a different strain of broilers that are a little bit slower growing and allegedly act more like chickens and less like feathery Huttsese.

I haven't thought about raising meat rabbits, mostly because raising rabbits here is difficult, due to the extreme heat in the summertime. Plus, my back yard is fairly small, and I really don't have the space.

client
Aug 19, 2010



The mexicans who live behind me do this and the chickens are loud and eat their own turds. The little girl had one she called Guyeena or some poo poo but a fox killed it and she was real sad for like a month.

daggerdragon
Jan 22, 2006

My titan engine can kick your titan engine's ass.

WrathofKhan posted:

As a side note, this is why a lot of old cook books tell you to crack the eggs in a saucer first, you're supposed to be checking for embryos and spoiled eggs.

Mom always told me it was to prevent eggshells from getting into your food, and I thought she was full of poo poo because I rarely got eggshell bits in my food.

This, however, is a lot grosser than eggshells in my food and I'll be cracking into a saucer from now on.

kafkasgoldfish
Jan 25, 2006

God is the sweat running down his back...

spog posted:

So, if I were living in a suburban house, I could keep hens in my garden without disturbing the neighbours - even if they are the fussy type?

Generally speaking yes. They will do the occasional egg song (youtube it) which lasts a few minutes and isn't too offensive. If you have a particularly fussy hen (like a few of ours.. were) she may make an awful croaking sound during the day occasionally. Usually it's because they want something or they just really don't like you. It's definitely not as a bad as a barking dog and you can't really hear it if the windows are closed. If it becomes a problem you simple eat/replace her, a solution that usually isn't considered when the family dog has a barking problem.

Ms. Happiness
Aug 26, 2009



Have you ever had to deal with a punk rear end mean rooster? My family had chickens growing up and the drat rooster would attack my siblings and me to try and spur us to death....stupid rooster.


Have you ever though about keeping guinea fowl? My family raised those as well and I thought they were much more badass than chickens.

Metamucil
May 9, 2011


Ms. Happiness posted:

Have you ever though about keeping guinea fowl? My family raised those as well and I thought they were much more badass than chickens.

Don't they fly? I would think that a large part of the appeal of suburban chickens is that they can be contained by a fence. If that didn't matter, I'm pretty sure everyone would be raising something more awesome, like peafowl.

Metamucil fucked around with this message at 22:12 on Jun 11, 2011

Emong
May 31, 2011

perpair to be annihilated


Ms. Happiness posted:

Have you ever though about keeping guinea fowl? My family raised those as well and I thought they were much more badass than chickens.

My grandfather raises those and they're the most annoying things I've ever seen.

He also has chickens, turkeys, quail, ducks, geese and some other small bird that I can't remember the name of. I think he had peacocks and goats at one point too, but he got rid of those before I has born.

Zombie Zero
Apr 15, 2011

booooooobsss... err, braaaainnnnsssss!!!

WrathofKhan posted:

Butchering wasn't really that bad. Emotionally, the only thing that bothered me was, oddly, how easy it was. It seemed like it should have been *harder* somehow, to turn a living thing into meat.

Im guessing you didnt name them? Ive always heard that once you name something its no longer an animal, it becomes a pet.

father grew up on a farm and has witnessed several chickens running around headless. Sounds like a messy proposition.

Fluffy Bunnies
Jan 9, 2009

We'll roll on with our heads held high.
Our conscience in the gutter,
Our dreams up in the sky.




Zombie Zero posted:

Im guessing you didnt name them? Ive always heard that once you name something its no longer an animal, it becomes a pet.

Eventually I want chickens or quail (I'd love it if we were somewhere in the states next and the landlords didn't care). I'm considering rabbits or smaller livestock once we're somewhere permanently. I totally intend to name all of them. When I've had to feed live things to my snakes I've named them and didn't have a problem. I can't imagine I'd have much of a problem slaughtering anything I named for my own purposes instead of my snakes'.

How hard is it to get the drat feathers off? I've watched a few butchering videos, but most of the ones I see just strip the skin off with the feathers whole and quarter the animal out. Are plucking or the boiling method really my only options if I want a whole carcass with skin on?

Chido
Dec 7, 2003

Butterflies fluttering on my face!



I have a question. I got chicks 2 months ago, and the 3 pullets get along well. I adopted one of Velvet Sparrow's cockerels (Roostroyer the light brahma), and while my two bigger pullets already showed him who the boss is (it's them), the smaller pullet, rusty, besides being sick with a yeast infection, she always runs away from him, wven before showing illness signs. He tends to peck her more unless I intervene and humiliate him as VS showed me (pet him and lower his head as I pet him in front of the pullets, chase him around when he gets too rough, etc), but he seems to bully Rusty. She doesn't stand up to him or try to chest bump, she inmediately yields, yet he seems to have the need to peck her. Why is that? The other two pullets don't bother Rusty at all.

Also, as a side question, have you ever treated a chicken with a mouth/crop yeast infection (thrush)? I started using Meditatin along with gentian violet to treat it, it's been four days now and today Rusty had much less problems eating, but how long should I keep using the medistatin? Until the yeast on her tongue is gone completely?

Fluffy Bunnies posted:

How hard is it to get the drat feathers off? I've watched a few butchering videos, but most of the ones I see just strip the skin off with the feathers whole and quarter the animal out. Are plucking or the boiling method really my only options if I want a whole carcass with skin on?

You can try waxing them

Chido fucked around with this message at 03:17 on Jun 12, 2011

ZoneManagement
Sep 25, 2005
Forgive me father for I have sinned

How do they react around cats? I'd guess the majority of cats would be too small to go after a full grown chicken, but my cats enjoy just about every small prey that enter my yard. And aren't birds of prey an issue?

Chido
Dec 7, 2003

Butterflies fluttering on my face!



I don't think they will be an issue once they are fully grown. I let my chickens roam free in the yard when everybody is home, and except for the smallest pullet, they are much bigger than pigeons. Then again we keep an eye on them and our cockerel Roostroyer is a regular light brahma, and while he's about the same age of our pullets (10 weeks or so), he's already much taller and imposing. If your chickens are still young and on the smaller side, don't let them out unsupervised, unless you have a chicken run.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



My cats are terrified yet interested in our chickens. They're indoor cats and even if they got out I don't think they'd go after the chickens. Our one dog that stay out in the yard 99% of the time loving HATES cats so I doubt any would come in our yard.

The chickens don't mind the cats at all the few times they've gotten out. They freak out when we take our ferrets outside though.

WrathofKhan
Jun 4, 2011


Wow, a ton of awesome questions while I was working!

Zone Management: A cat could, possibly, take on a single adult chicken and win. But with chicken, you aren't dealing with a single chicken, you're dealing with the whole flock. Any cat who gets close is going to be charged by a pack of flapping, squawking velociraptor terror. The feral cats who live in my neigborhood give my chickens a very wide berth. I haven't personally seen it happen, but I've heard about a flock of chickens killing and eating a cat.

Birds of prey can be a problem, if you have them in your area. In that case, if the run has a roof of some sort on it, or if the free ranging chickens have a place to run for cover, you should be pretty much ok. You may still lose the occasional chicken, but that happens sometimes.

Chido: I don't have any experience dealing with illness, thankfully my chickens haven't gotten sick. If I had to guess, I'd say that the rooster is picking on her because she's sick. If it gets too bad, you might need to isolate her until she recovers.

Fluffy Bunnies: To quote my grandmother "Why would anyone in their right mind want to dry pluck a chicken?!". I tried skinning, and I tried dry plucking, and my grandma was right. The easiest way is to dip the chicken in not quite boiling water, and the feathers come right off.


Zombie Zero: I didn't name the meat chickens, although we did call them 'the nuggets' collectively, and some of them did get descriptive nicknames, mostly based on their foul personal habits. I didn't let them run around, I used a killing cone, which is neater. Basically its a cone where the chicken goes in upsidedown with only the neck sticking out. Due to anatomy, they can't breathe upside down, so they were already pretty much out of it when they cut their throat cut.

Ms. Happiness: I haven't thought about keeping guinea fowl, mostly because they are noisy, and because I think that they are fugly. I haven't had to deal with a punk rear end rooster, the one I had was a real sweetie. My personal opinion is that there is no reason to keep a mean rooster, given how many roosters their are relative to the number of job openings.

Chido
Dec 7, 2003

Butterflies fluttering on my face!



WrathofKhan posted:


Chido: I don't have any experience dealing with illness, thankfully my chickens haven't gotten sick. If I had to guess, I'd say that the rooster is picking on her because she's sick. If it gets too bad, you might need to isolate her until she recovers.


I already isolate her. I don't want her to suffer when I get her back to my mini flock, so I take her outside only when I or my nieces can be around to be the head of the flock, and we keep Roostroyer in his place. Velvet Sparrow has been awesome in explaining chicken behavior to me, specially since we at home are unplanned chicken owners (long story involving a dumbass neighbor and street roaming chickens). Otherwise Rusty stays in a crate in my room, or on my lap/shoulder.

By the way, just as a warning, chickens can be spoiled. My sick pullet rusty now won' leave my side, and she jumps on my lap/shoulder at any given opportunity, even when we are all outside and the other chickens are behaving well. I've also seen firs hand chicken envy. My whitish mutt pullet, Megatron, never jumps on my lap unless I'm petting another chicken. I sweat the look she gives me almost says: hey what about me? I didn't know chickens were so fun to watch .

kafkasgoldfish
Jan 25, 2006

God is the sweat running down his back...

Fluffy Bunnies posted:

How hard is it to get the drat feathers off? I've watched a few butchering videos, but most of the ones I see just strip the skin off with the feathers whole and quarter the animal out. Are plucking or the boiling method really my only options if I want a whole carcass with skin on?

You could try building one of these:

http://video.google.ca/videoplay?do...684598671806901

Basically a PVC end-cap with a bunch of rubber fingers made from solid rubber bungee cords and stuck on the end of a drill. I haven't tried it but we don't butcher many chickens. The ones we have butchered were hand plucked after scalding.

rangergirl
Jun 2, 2004
A shark on whiskey is mighty risky, but a shark on beer is a beer engineer

ZoneManagement posted:

How do they react around cats? I'd guess the majority of cats would be too small to go after a full grown chicken, but my cats enjoy just about every small prey that enter my yard. And aren't birds of prey an issue?

My chickens are under the assumption that cats and dogs bring them treats because when my husband and I go out to feed the chickens, the dogs and cat usually tag along. I have seen the dogs wandering around the yard with a trail of 8 chickens following them everywhere begging for food.

We have hawks around once in awhile but they've never really been a problem, we have a much worse time with foxes and weasels. We had a weasel get into our brooder last year (we still can't figure out how) and wipe out a dozen chicks in one night.

ZoneManagement
Sep 25, 2005
Forgive me father for I have sinned

Guess I should have wondered how cats react around chickens.

Dik Hz
Feb 22, 2004

Fun with Science

Alterian posted:

They freak out when we take our ferrets outside though.
Weasels will kill off an entire coop full of chickens. I had that happen once; a mink (I think) got into the coop through a mouse hole and killed every single chicken. He couldn't even drag any off through the small hole.

I've never lost a chicken to a fox. Around here the foxes are nocturnal and spooked by buildings, so they don't get a chance at the chickens.

One evening I was late in locking up the chickens, and a possum had come down and was munching on my favorite bantam rooster. That fucker. We've also occasionally lost free-range bantams to red-tailed and sharp-shinned hawks, and full sized chickens to great horned owls. The owls are the only bird of prey big enough around here (Minnesota) to take down a full grown chicken.

I raised chickens for 4-H for several years growing up, and am twice the county junior champion chicken showman. So, if anyone has questions about how to show off your cock appropriately (Anthony Wiener itt?), feel free to ask.

Baronjutter
Dec 31, 2007

"Tiny Trains"


There's a big chicken coop right against the street with a bench set up for people to stop and watch them. The chickens are well trained and the moment you lean forward to rip up some grass for them they freak out and get excited, smart little birds. Lots of people stop by and hang out with the chickens. There were about 15 at first, 2 years later there's only 5...

My question is that these chickens generally always look awful. Their butts are often totally bare, tails missing, and large patches of skin showing on the front of their necks too. Do they have some disease or are pulling each others feathers out? How much health care do chickens need?

Karma Monkey
Sep 6, 2005

I MAKE BAD POSTING DECISIONS

Dik Hz posted:

I raised chickens for 4-H for several years growing up, and am twice the county junior champion chicken showman. So, if anyone has questions about how to show off your cock appropriately (Anthony Wiener itt?), feel free to ask.

I'm not showing any chickens and haven't been in 4H for decades, but I'd like to hear about showing chickens, just out of curiosity. I know a fair bit about various livestock, dogs, and cats, but nothing about showing chickens. What do you do to groom them for the shows? Are there any tricks of the trade that showmen do to help their roosters get the blue ribbon? Mostly I think it would be cool for someone to be able to brag, "My cock won first place!"

Dik Hz
Feb 22, 2004

Fun with Science

GrauFrau posted:

I'm not showing any chickens and haven't been in 4H for decades, but I'd like to hear about showing chickens, just out of curiosity. I know a fair bit about various livestock, dogs, and cats, but nothing about showing chickens. What do you do to groom them for the shows? Are there any tricks of the trade that showmen do to help their roosters get the blue ribbon? Mostly I think it would be cool for someone to be able to brag, "My cock won first place!"
Well, in chicken shows, there's a couple different categories. The 4-H show is broken down into 3 separate categories: meat production, egg production, and breeding pen. Meat production is a pair of cockerels, egg production is a pair of hens (usually pullets), and breeding pen is a cock and two hens. On top of that, there is junior showman contest where people show off their chicken. The showman are judged on their knowledge and handling abilities instead of the birds.

There's a row of cages on a table in the middle of the show-ring, and the birds are preloaded into the cages. The judge then walks down the line and stops at each cage. The showman retrieves birds from the cage as requested and shows off the birds' features and traits to the judge.

To a groom a bird, you pretty much just have to give it a bath. Then right before the show, you make sure its feathers are all straight and clean off its feet and comb. I learned the hard way that you have to very careful to dry off your chickens thoroughly after the bath. I had one get sick in the cage at the chicken barn at the county fair. The assholes at 4-H wouldn't let me swap her out for a healthy bird, and I refused to show a sick chicken, so I got a white ribbon on that one.

As for tricks, just know your breed and work the chicken ahead of time. Dress smart and pay attention to the judge at all times. Never stand between your cage and the judge. Some breeds are easier to handle than others. But, the judge knows that too. So if you handle a tough breed and make it look easy, you look better to the judge than if you handle an easy breed. One of the years I won junior showman, I had a big beautiful brown leghorn rooster that was cagey as gently caress. Caginess is actually a bred-for trait in leghorns. I was kinda pissed at him, because he ripped the tail feathers off the better-conformation rooster I was planning on showing in my breeding pen a week before the show. But I had worked with him quite a bit and handled him with ease, which I think earned me bonus points with the judge. Come to think of it, that was a pretty good year. My breeding pen got third and my egg production pen won its class when the brown leghorn hen laid an egg in the judging arena.

Oh, and I won a trophy for showing my cock to an arena full of strangers.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Baronjutter posted:

My question is that these chickens generally always look awful. Their butts are often totally bare, tails missing, and large patches of skin showing on the front of their necks too. Do they have some disease or are pulling each others feathers out? How much health care do chickens need?

If they always look awful, they're sick and not well taken care of. If they only get like that once a year, they're molting.

Karma Monkey
Sep 6, 2005

I MAKE BAD POSTING DECISIONS

Dik Hz posted:

Oh, and I won a trophy for showing my cock to an arena full of strangers.

That should pretty much be on your stationery, business cards, bumper sticker, and t-shirt.

You said handling tough breeds with ease could get you more with the judges. What are some of the breeds and their differences? I assume it's mostly about their temperaments and willingness be handled, crowd tolerance, etc.? How is the egg production category tested and judged?

How well do chickens tolerate water baths and towel drying? I thought they preferred dust baths. Do you use a special shampoo? Do you shine up their combs with Vaseline or anything like that? (Forgive me if that comes across as a bizarre question. I've seen people do some goofy stuff to livestock to make them look snazzy for the judges.)

Why did you show chickens? I mean, as opposed to some other animal or a non-animal category like pickles or strawberry bread? (I won blue ribbons for both of those. ) When did you quit showing? Did you outgrow it or move to the big city? Ever do any show judging?

WrathofKhan
Jun 4, 2011


Baronjutter: Chickens generally don't need a lot of healthcare, as long as they aren't overcrowded and are getting an adequate diet. Like Alterian said, if it only happens once a year or so, its molting, which is totally normal. If it really is all the time, that its feather picking, which usually means that they are overcrowded and/or bored and/or aren't getting enough protein in their diet.

EVIL Gibson
Mar 23, 2001

Internet of Things is just someone else's computer that people can't help attaching cameras and door locks to!


Switchblade Switcharoo

When I was in high school we had some chickens. One rooster, and four hens. They were all the new hampshire reds.

Couple short stories


1) There was a window A/C unit right outside our dinner room. The chickens knew they sometimes got scraps thrown out the window if they let us know they were looking for some food. It would be dinner and *FLOWSH* *CRASH* a chicken is know looking at you through the window on top of the A/C. Guests knew we had chickens, but it would always startle them when a surprise guest dropped in.

2) We lived on 4 acres. 1 was house quality and the other 3 was heavy brush. So they went into the fields to get their bugs and stuff (even knowing I would be eating said bugs proteins in my eggs I was okay with this) but if you called for them and, really I don't think there is anything more funny than watching a chicken bursting out of the a bush legging it hardcore across a field in that funny run.

3) You would find garter snakes all over. I thought now that all the chickens were outside, all grown up, they would all freak out over the snake.

I found a snake and let it loose waiting for them to freak out.

I got the exact opposite because I was the one freaked out.

The rooster alerted all the hens to stay back, he got this poo poo. Rooster mounted the snake on the head and started pecking the hell out of it's skull and upper body. It was writhing all around, twisting around his legs and spurs until it stopped moving.

I really could not say anything and thinking I would have to get rid of that snake. But then the rooster surprised me again. He grabbed onto the head of the snake and started tossing it down it's throat.

Dik Hz
Feb 22, 2004

Fun with Science

GrauFrau posted:

You said handling tough breeds with ease could get you more with the judges. What are some of the breeds and their differences? I assume it's mostly about their temperaments and willingness be handled, crowd tolerance, etc.? How is the egg production category tested and judged?

Generally, bantam roosters have their reputation for a reason. Leghorns are the birds most often used for cockfights, so they can be pretty cagey. The laying breeds are generally more docile. Same with the meat production breeds. Rhode Island Reds and their related breeds can go either way. Egg production is judged by having healthy, breed-standard, mature pullets of an egg production breed. It can be tough sometimes to get chickens to mature by fair time enough for this competition.

GrauFrau posted:

How well do chickens tolerate water baths and towel drying? I thought they preferred dust baths. Do you use a special shampoo? Do you shine up their combs with Vaseline or anything like that? (Forgive me if that comes across as a bizarre question. I've seen people do some goofy stuff to livestock to make them look snazzy for the judges.)

Chickens love dirt baths and hate regular baths. But the second they get wet, they become docile. The more tame breeds actually like the towel dry step. We used gentle dish soap, as per the recommendation at the time. Vaseline is not allowed because it can hide illnesses. And a naturally red shiny comb is a key indicator of health for most breeds.

GrauFrau posted:

Why did you show chickens? I mean, as opposed to some other animal or a non-animal category like pickles or strawberry bread? (I won blue ribbons for both of those. ) When did you quit showing? Did you outgrow it or move to the big city? Ever do any show judging?
I showed chickens because my parents already raised them. Plus, my parents let me pick out the breeds. I eventually outgrew it. But, when I own a house, its something I'd like to get back into. I also fly fish, and would like to raise some Plymouth rocks. They're great egg-layers, the unneeded roosters make good fryers, and the mature rooster would give me a lifetime supply of grizzly hackles.

I've never show-judged. Show judges have to study a ton; there are too many recognized breeds with their own standards. I think I'd be pretty good at it, though. When I go to the fair, I can easily pick out which bird is going to win best of breed with near-perfect accuracy. Comparing between breeds is much tougher.

Dik Hz fucked around with this message at 13:32 on Jun 14, 2011

Mega Shark
Oct 4, 2004


The wife and I have been wanting to keep chickens for several years and this thread finally spurred me to action. We're looking for something for our kids to help out with and really just want egg layers, though meat isn't out of the question down the road.

Going with the egg laying thing and wanting some variety we're looking at some combination of the following breeds: Jersey Giant, Wyandottes, Buff Orpington and Plymouth Rock.

If it matters, we live in Central Florida so it gets pretty darn muggy and hot, but the area we are building the coop and run is pretty well shaded and gets most of its sunlight from sunrise to 11 AM.

Anyone have any gotchas they notice from breed to coop location or anything inbetween?

Dik Hz
Feb 22, 2004

Fun with Science

ODC posted:

The wife and I have been wanting to keep chickens for several years and this thread finally spurred me to action. We're looking for something for our kids to help out with and really just want egg layers, though meat isn't out of the question down the road.

Going with the egg laying thing and wanting some variety we're looking at some combination of the following breeds: Jersey Giant, Wyandottes, Buff Orpington and Plymouth Rock.

If it matters, we live in Central Florida so it gets pretty darn muggy and hot, but the area we are building the coop and run is pretty well shaded and gets most of its sunlight from sunrise to 11 AM.

Anyone have any gotchas they notice from breed to coop location or anything inbetween?
Silver-laced Wyandottes are the most mellow low-maintenance breed I've ever raised. Beautiful birds and they're very quiet. I think they're the perfect breed for backyard egg production, especially in suburbia.

Stottie Kyek
Apr 26, 2008

fuckin egg in a bun

I live in the north of England and the winters can get pretty nasty. If I kept chickens in a nice, dry coop, it'd keep the snow off them, but would they manage in the cold? Are some breeds better at coping with cold than others?

edit: I just remembered the British Hen Welfare Trust - they rehome battery hens as pets. They can't guarantee how long they'll live or if they'll lay eggs but they've all had their vaccinations when they were in the battery farm, and lots of ex-battery hens get healthy again and live for a good few years. I thought it might be interesting for chicken fans. It's really heartwarming to see the pictures of the poor scraggy hens being taken in as pets, and then growing their feathers back and their combs turning nice and red again.

Stottie Kyek fucked around with this message at 17:04 on Jun 14, 2011

WrathofKhan
Jun 4, 2011


ODC: As long as the chickens have plenty of shade, water and have a run so that they can be outside, you'll be fine. Remember, chickens are the descendants of jungle fowl, so Florida will be awesome for them. If it gets really super hot, some people like to give them a pan of water to stand it, or just make a puddle in the run, so they can cool their feet. Just so you know, Jersey Giants were bred to be a meat bird, and aren't the greatest egg layers, even though they are cool as all get out. All of the ones the breeds that you've mentioned are pretty mellow, and make great backyard birds. I'm very fond of my Barred Rock and my Silver Laced Wyandotte, although the Barred Rock is the noisier of the two. If you find out you like Wyandottes, they come in a bunch of colors and patterns.

Stottie Kyek: I don't personally have a lot of experience with cold, but from what I've learned talking to chicken owners who do, chickens usually don't have a problem with cold, as long as they are in a dry coop with no drafts. While I was looking for images, I found this UK site that has some good breed information http://poultrykeeper.com
Adopting some battery hens would be a good deed, but I think you should totally get Lemon Cuckoo Orphingtons or Legbars. Just because those are two breeds that a absolutely beautiful that are almost impossible to find in the US .

In other exciting chicken news, my Buckeye, Jean Grey, has decided to go broody. This afternoon I'm going to pick up some fertile eggs to put under her. Marans, Ameraucana and Icelandics! If all goes well, I'll have me some Viking chickens!

Stottie Kyek
Apr 26, 2008

fuckin egg in a bun

Thanks, that link has tons of information and help! Once I have my own decent-sized garden I might be able to do both - get one of the breeds you suggested and have three ex-bat hens to keep them company, as long as they got along and the healthy one didn't try to fight and establish itself as the alpha while the ex-bats were supposed to be getting healthier. Good luck getting Viking chickens!

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Dr Scoofles
Dec 6, 2004



I've had chickens my whole life so I've seen and dealt with most chickeny problems. At the moment space is tight so I've only got 3 Sussex Whites, a very good all round breed and heavy layers to boot. They never miss a lay, bless em. For some reason Sussex Whites are the broodiest chickens I've ever had. Damned broodie!

Stottie Kyek posted:

I live in the north of England and the winters can get pretty nasty. If I kept chickens in a nice, dry coop, it'd keep the snow off them, but would they manage in the cold? Are some breeds better at coping with cold than others?

edit: I just remembered the British Hen Welfare Trust -

Eyup.

My last batch of chickens were ex-bats (I love that name) from the Hen Welfare Trust. I paid 50p per chicken and I got 7 and they were in a really lovely way. Totally bald, unable to stand up - basicly the saddest little motherfuckers I ever saw. It was really heartwarming to see them turn into lovely, happy, feathery girls and despite expectations they were really productive layers. Sadly though they had really lame immune systems and I lost a few to disease. Worth it though.

Don't worry about the cold. All my hens lived happily through the lovely winter we just had. The only problem was their water, I had to defrost their water butt 3-4 times a day. Shut them in at night, make sure they have lots of warm bedding and they'll snuggle up and stay alive no worries.

I should be moving soon and I've got my heart set on a flock of white bantams. There is something I love about bantams, I think it's because they rock. When I was a girl I had a pet bantam called 'Banty'.

I'm starting to think this place needs a barnyard subforum.

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